Exactly one year ago, nearly 500 corporate EHS professionals tuned into Enhesa’s webinar “Going Beyond Corporate Standards to Ensure Compliance.” Its popularity was not unexpected but few on our team could have predicted the response received.
Over the last 30 years, there has been a marked evolution in the way multinational organizations compile and implement their corporate Environment, Health & Safety standards and programs.
Only a few decades ago, you could give yourself a proverbial “pat on the back” for routinely applying US-centric programs to those countries where legislation left much to be desired. After all, you were going beyond compliance and investing in a proactive program. Furthermore, you would surely be entitled to an award for pioneering audit programs which also verified that your facilities abroad were doing what was required. You played your part in raising the bar, saving lives and making your company sustainable.
The thing is: this alone is no longer enough! More and more companies are realizing this every day.
In the last ten years, EHS legislation in many emerging markets has caught up (and may surpass) corporate EHS standards. Which multinational company would today dare to operate in China without incorporating more than mere aspects of what is arguably a regulatory minefield into their EHS programs and practices?
In the 2013 corporate world, it is important now more than ever, to remember that one size does not fit all and neither does one language, culture or performance.
In today’s age, all it takes is one tweet or twitpic, and your operations come to a grinding halt, temporarily or indefinitely. At the other extreme, in countries that have made little legislative advances in the last 30 years – a pertinent example being Bangladesh – no company should wait until the death of 1200 workers to establish more stringent standards for contractors, fire safety or evacuation and egress. Neighboring legislation, standards and countries with similar historic links may provide a more coherent benchmark.
One of Enhesa’s main objectives in producing complimentary webinars is to make a positive contribution to the EHS industry as a whole. We relish the opportunity to impart some of our knowledge garnered over the last decades as the leading Global EHS Compliance Assurance Firm. In turn, we hope that our webinar attendees share their pain points or successes with us by asking the right questions.
What we learned this time last year was that EHS professionals thrive on sharing their knowledge and experiences with us and their peers. From our point of view, listening to those faced with these challenges is the best way we can grow to develop and refine the services EHS Managers really need. Likewise, there is still a host of multinational companies working towards modernizing their global EHS programs.
This apparent demand steered us in the direction of establishing what was, initially, a corresponding working group. We then took the leap, following months of research and surveying and created the Corporate EHS Standards Forum in September 2012. The defining goal was to help multinational enterprises optimize their standards through facilitating peer interaction and providing the not-so-secret ingredient: Compliance.
You are the new generation of corporate standards draftsmen; a generation that is often saddled with the reputation of predecessors. What is more, as EHS teams are ‘streamlined’ and roles such as ‘Sustainability Manager’ are tacked on to fill gaps, attendance of conferences & seminars, regardless of their value, are becoming luxuries in times of economic strain.
The e-Forum is a meeting of corporate minds in charge of drafting, maintaining or implementing EHS Standards, and facilitated by an online platform to share ideas and receive feedback.
Each member has access to corporate EHS standards provided by the other members as well as a library of standards compiled by Enhesa. The standards will be indexed and classified to facilitate searching for standards that address the issues of concern to your organization. This will allow you to benchmark your standards against those from other companies.
The highlight of the Forum is the opportunity of participating in a quarterly, 1-hour web-conference on a topic voted by members themselves. Informal discussions are also organized each moment on general topics.
During our inaugural session, EHS Business Lead, Robert Bizzaro, led an informative and engaging session on the approach behind Merck’s 2-year revamp of its Global EHS Standards Program; a journey initiated in 2011.