Environmental Risk Management Solutions Get Executive Attention

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Courtesy of VisionMonitor Software, LLC

Interest in corporate environmental, health and safety (EHS) issues is at an all time high across North America and in Europe. Pressure by shareholders and concerned citizens has increased in response to the significant environmental risks now facing corporations, while companies must also respond to new regulations and standards that increasingly have real “teeth.” And nowhere are these issues more obvious than in the energy industry. More than ever, environmental risk management is becoming a board-level issue.

Today, the asset intensive energy industry is required to monitor and report on emissions, effluents and other pollutants released into the environment as well as ensure that appropriate work and process safety initiatives are defined and followed. A myriad of often confusing regulations are already in place with more likely, requiring a variety of reports to be produced regarding emissions or safety incidents, for example. The situation is made even more complex by the fact that there are multiple agencies and levels of government with an interest in the matter.

While regulatory pressure for monitoring and reporting is already of major importance, the emergence of additional corporate concerns such as insurance, re-insurance, public relations and the premiums now being paid by shareholders and consumers alike for environmentally friendly products, services and initiatives may prove even more overwhelming. More and more, corporations are feeling the need to demonstrate compliance with regulations, even at levels beyond those required by regulations, as a part of good corporate governance.

Additionally, emissions credits trading has now become an accepted part of emissions management in North America. The United States created emissions trading markets in 1995 for sulfur dioxide (SO2) and in 1999 for nitrous oxide (NOX). The United States has also proposed emissions trading into the international climate change process. Emissions trading markets are not true commodity markets as they are “cap and trade,” which means that emissions are ratcheted down over time.

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