Using environmental data for business value


Courtesy of

It’s the beginning of the calendar year, a time when many environmental professionals begin to gather their 2011 environmental data to generate reports that your regulatory agencies require. How much fuel did your stationary combustion sources burn in the past year? How many times was a certain condition exceeded in the past quarter? Were there any accidental releases this year? If so, were they addressed promptly? Data used to determine your facility’s compliance status vis-à-vis all applicable environmental requirements has the end game: “Did we have any violations to result in NOVs (Notices of Violation) or fines this year?” Environmental compliance was seen by management as a back office operation to minimize costs, and not as an integral part of conducting business. Data had limited uses, but never studied to optimize practices or to understand its effects on company business prospects. No fines? You’re fine.

But forward-thinking businesses are now thinking differently about environmental metrics. Customer and shareholder preferences, regulatory pressures and process optimization require detailed environmental and sustainability data. New environmental software exist to make the gathering and analytical processes easier and smoother. Environmental metrics must be taken more seriously now to give direction to where your firm is heading. ISO 14001 and its companion guidelines and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) have been major drivers in this movement.

Every company or facility has individual needs and systems and cannot be pigeon-holed into a single approach. However, there are some universal values to ponder. One is the critical need for planning. One must spend significant upfront time to determine what data needs to be collected and what is the value of such measurements – not just to EHS, but to other departments and stakeholders (customers, government, etc.), too. For example, you may collect fuel usage data to compute emissions, but that data is also useful to your Production and Business departments. You don’t want to waste your time and resources collecting useless data. In this effort it is critical to involve the right people from other departments, such as IT, Finance, Production, etc., so everyone is on board with the data, how it’s collected, and its potential meaning. Make sure that your data adds value to achieving everyone’s ultimate goals. Make sure collection and treatment methods are consistent with those used by other departments or company facilities, as well as with global standards, so your data and results are not questioned.

You and your company will benefit in 2012 if you can devote some time to assess and optimize your environmental or sustainability data planning and gathering system. This is a good time to begin meeting with IT and other department reps to overhaul your environmental data management system, to modernize it, and add business value.

CCES has the technical experts to assist you in assessing your environmental or sustainability data and to recommend ways to bring more value to the data available. Our experts are familiar with a number of different software to manage your data reliably and save you time and money.

Customer comments

No comments were found for Using environmental data for business value. Be the first to comment!