Like many aspects of legislation in New Zealand, environmental regulations are continually evolving and with climate change issues becoming more prominent in our lives, addressing environmentally issues is more important than ever.
Many small businesses won’t need the support of an Environmental Compliance consultant to meet these legislative requirements, particularly those who don’t have a very large environmental footprint (e.g. hairdressers, glaziers, restaurants, accountants). However, some businesses may feel more comfortable getting specialist help — particularly if they have multiple interactions with the environment, complex operations, or challenges with environmental compliance.
If you’re concerned about environmental compliance, there’s no point in getting an accountant to give you environmental advice. You need specialist knowledge and skills.
There are several reasons why you may require the support of an Environmental Compliance Consultant, such as:
Worldwide, consumers are demanding that businesses are responsible and proactive in terms of environmental management and footprints. To meet customer expectations and build brand trust, businesses can demonstrate their environmental commitment in a range of ways, including accreditation to international standards, by publishing environmental performance reports or by sharing monitoring data with the public. An environmental consultant can support the development and implementation of such frameworks which ultimately support customer connections and product sales.
Under the Resource Management Act, Councils may issue companies and individuals with infringement fines for flouting the requirements of the Act. The use of fines by governing bodies to manage environmental compliance is increasing, along with the size of the fines.
To avoid this unnecessary cost to your business, an environmental consultant can develop frameworks for proactively and internally managing environmental requirements such as databases to track nutrient loadings, and operational guidelines to prevent run-off and unauthorised discharges to water.
With the potential for fines to accumulate in the thousands of dollars for compounding violations, money is best spent engaging the technical experts to prevent or internally identify issues rather than paying pricey fines to regulatory bodies.
Improving the chance of successful reconsenting
Alongside potential environmental effects, one of the main elements a Regional Council will review when considering your application to renew a resource consent is your compliance history with your existing consent. A history of repeat or unresolved non-compliances casts a dim light on your ability to comply with a renewed resource consent, and this may be reflected by the Council issuing a consent with a shorter duration or with more stringent requirements.
If you have a resource consent which is approaching it’s expiry date, you need to act proactively to improve compliance now rather than at the stage of reconsenting. A good place to start is with a compliance audit. Compliance audits can help companies regroup and figure out where they stand in terms of compliance against environmental regulations. Once that is understood, a solid compliance plan can be put into development to lift compliance, prioritizing those efforts that will result in the greatest return on investment. An Environmental Compliance Consultant can complete this gap analysis alongside your team and develop an action plan, to either be completed internally or with your consultants support for the more technical aspects.
WM Environmental is a niche environmental consultancy in that we offer end-to-end environmental compliance support, from resource consenting, through to systems development and implementation and followed-up with training and auditing support. We have a team of specialists, including those with extensive industrial operational and compliance experience.
Feel free to drop us a line to discuss any compliance concerns you have and we’ll leverage our knowledge and capabilities to develop a solution which ensures your meeting the legislative requirements, satisfying customer requirements, minimising potential costs to the business and putting you in the best position for uninterrupted operations.
Posted: 13 April 2020