From unique regulations to cultural nuances to lack of local expertise, companies often face a number of environmental, health and safety (EHS) challenges when operating or expanding their businesses into other countries. But the good news is that while these challenges can be difficult to navigate, this challenge can be overcome.
Discover how five global companies overcame difficult EHS challenges with the help of Antea Group and our global partners.
Challenge 1: Lack of technology and local support
A specialty chemicals and materials company was in the process of an international expansion to open several new facilities across six countries. However, they lacked the technology and bandwidth to perform environmental due diligence to reduce environmental liability and streamline the plant permitting process.
Solution: Understanding that each site and country would require individualized attention, local due diligence and compliance experts were deployed to review records, conduct environmental property assessments and develop detailed due diligence reports for each site. The experts also reviewed the proposed industrial and chemical processes, as well as the local and national regulations regarding site use and permitting to establish a framework for obtaining permits and authorizations for each site.
In addition, experts used a web-based information management system to enter all their findings remotely, allowing the client to evaluate in real-time.
Results: The company was able to reduce its internal management workload, streamline the permitting process, reduce risk, and ensure facilities opened on time. In addition, the information management technology is in the running to become the company’s comprehensive global solution for all of their environmental management needs.
Challenge 2: Understanding cultural nuances
A US-based company recently expanded their global retail business into Japan. As part of the company’s EHS program, they created a local injury and illness prevention committee, with women representing over 50% of the committee’s leadership roles.
However the company soon discovered it was considered inappropriate for women to lead a committee that contained men and, as a result, the men on the committee refused to participate in meetings.
Solution: While restructuring the committee was crucial, guarding against future issues was also paramount. From examining country-specific facts such as geography, demographics and spoken languages to military requirements and local regulations, global EHS experts were able to provide the company with a cultural travel guide to inform the committee restructuring, as well as provide a foundation for their entire EHS program.
Results: While the initial mistake bruised egos and caused some distrust of corporate leadership, the new facility is operating smoothly and corporate-employee relations are on the mend.
Challenge 3: Managing and improving EHS performance across global operations
With the goal of improving EHS and social responsibility initiatives across their global organization, a pharmaceutical company communicated its new expectations across all manufacturing sites. But with locations all over the world, determining the level of conformance and the right corrective steps was a major obstacle.
Solution: From North America to Latin America to Europe to Asia, a global team of EHS audit practitioners visited each manufacturing site. After researching and evaluating each location, the team compiled their findings, regulatory references and recommendations into brief reports.
Results: The company was able to identify gaps in regulatory and company standards, as well as address them through the use of corrective action plans.
Challenge 4: Employee engagement
A tech company wanted to evaluate the level of compliance with local and national EHS regulations at multiple data centers across the world, as well as better understand employee attitudes toward health and safety.
Solution: Certified professionals with data center experience conducted on-site reviews of each facility, and then compared their observations against company standards, federal regulations and local environmental requirements. Audit reports were prepared to detail regulatory citations, potential risks and recommendations for corrective action. In addition, experts conducted a culture assessment to better understand employees’ perspectives on health, safety and security issues.
Results: The company used the audit findings to target common risks from a corporate level and provide the needed resources and support to each location. In addition, the cultural assessment gave the company extremely valuable feedback that allowed them to drive immediate improvements across all facilities.
Challenge 5: Ensuring compliance with local and national regulations
As a US-based retail company was expanding its business into Latin America and Asia, they wanted to determine how best to tailor their corporate EHS program to local requirements to ensure a smooth store opening.
Solution: Knowing that a tailored EHS solution was needed, local experts compiled comprehensive reports that highlighted the country’s rules and regulations, EHS best practices, business trends and specific cultural nuances that needed consideration for doing business there.
Through their research, experts identified some potential concerns that could negatively impact operations. Some of those concerns included language, culture of time, corruption, security, the lack of clear and consistent EHS rules and regulations, and permitting.
Results: By identifying and preparing for these country-specific roadblocks, as well the associated risks, the company was able to open on time and mitigate risks such as negative perception of the company’s brand and loss of revenue.
Planning an expansion? Check out our interactive EHS Passport site to get the information you need to guide your next adventure.