Earth Day 2019: Protecting the Planet One Best Practice at a Time

An indicator species is one whose condition tells us about the state of the environment and the ecosystems in which it lives. Lichens, bees, frogs and butterflies are just a few examples. These indicator species can tell us whether not only their existence is in danger because of environmental damage, but perhaps ours as well.

The theme of Earth Day 2019 is protecting our planet’s species. As we take time to reflect today (and hopefully more so in the future) it’s important to understand the small yet incredibly vital elements of a healthy ecosystem. When one part of that ecosystem stops functioning correctly, when an external actor is introduced into this delicate balance of organisms, the effects can be far-reaching.

At Intelex one of our core tenets has been to do business in a way that minimizes potentially damaging impacts on the environment. While we may not have a direct … Read more...

Knowing When to Buy EHS Software

At what point does the cost of purchasing and implementing new software become preferable to the cost of maintaining your existing organizational software? It’s an important question, especially when you consider that as much as two-thirds of the cost of the new software is probably going to come from your EHS budget. Like just about anything else, software has an expected service life. For most well-designed systems, their useful life cycle can be as long as six to eight years; for systems that are less well designed or for applications that evolve very quickly, the useful life of business software can be as short as three years.

To maintain workplace safety you need a tool that will provide software solutions for a wide variety of services like compliance management, risk management, safety management, incident management, audits, document control, training management … the list goes on.

According to a 2017 survey … Read more...

On Environment: WOTUS – 5 Simple Words with a Complex Definition

This post provides three main points to enhance the situational awareness of EHS managers and staff when thinking about the new proposed WOTUS rule.

Waters of the United States (WOTUS). These are the 5 words that have been at the center of a contentious legal battle since the 1980s. These words have been argued over in the United States Supreme Court, they’ve been interpreted broadly and narrowly, and they’ve been analyzed by legal minds around the country (and perhaps the world, too).

The regulatory history is a topic for a legal journal, not for this blog. Similarly, opinion about the interconnectedness of water resources is most appropriate for a debate among passionate friends and coworkers.

I’ll therefore limit this post to three main points that I think will enhance the situational awareness of EHS managers and staff when thinking about how this new proposed rule will affect their roles and, … Read more...

On Environment: 2018’s Most Impactful Environmental Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions

The close of every year elicits reflection on the months past and anticipation of new adventures ahead. As we conclude 2018, we reflect on the environmental regulatory and deregulatory actions that have taken place in the United States and we anticipate new challenges, new adventures, and new opportunities to evolve in the future.

I started thinking about the most impactful environmental regulatory and deregulatory actions from this past year. It was a tough year for environmentalists and regulated industry alike. Environmental groups were busy fighting regulatory rollbacks and regulated industry had to contend with unstable regulatory targets. With this in mind, here are my top three most impactful actions and why I chose them.

NUMBER 1

The Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Proposed Rule (August 21, 2018)

The ACE Rule is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) replacement. After repealing the CPP, reasoning that EPA (under Obama) … Read more...

Who Should Lead the Charge to a Sustainable Future?

Sustainable development is that in which the resources we use to meet today’s business goals do not come at the expense of the ability of future generations to meet their own environmental, social and cultural needs. In other words, the slash-and-burn approach to fuelling business progress and profit will give way to replacing what we use and looking out for the environmental realities that will support our future development as a species.

The evidence for the requirement for sustainable practices is, by now, beyond reproach. Yet many questions remain about how to create sustainable practices that ensure our future environmental stability without damaging our immediate economic growth. Such questions include: should governments legislate these requirements? Should business govern its own sustainable efforts according to its own perspective? Or should the market dictate its allegiance to the idea of sustainability by supporting or opposing businesses that embrace sustainable principles?

While today’s … Read more...

Biomimicry Looks to Natural History for Innovation

Innovation is usually discussed with only the future in mind, but a keynote speaker at the National Association of Environmental Managers (NAEM) Forum in Louisville, Ky. believes the key to meaningful environmental progress lies in our natural past.

Janine Benyus, co-founder of the Biomimicry Institute, presented an audience of 700 professionals from over 300 companies with the concept of Biomimicry: an approach to innovation that seeks to emulate nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies to find sustainable solutions to human challenges. The goal is to create products, processes and policies — new ways of living — that are well-adapted to life on Earth over the long haul.

Benyus – a biologist, author of numerous books, innovation consultant and self-proclaimed “nature nerd” –  said Biomimicry is a way of looking back at 3.8 billion years of good ideas in nature to allow us to leapfrog ahead without having to go through … Read more...

Finding the Best EHS Solution for Your Business: 10 Questions for Buying EHS Compliance Software

Many organizations are discovering that EHS regulations are becoming increasingly complex. Businesses that operate in a global environment must contend with regulations that are unique to every jurisdiction. The regulations for each jurisdiction can be extremely complex, and when those requirements are added to the requirements for all the other jurisdictions in which the business operates, EHS compliance can become overwhelming and almost impossible to manage.

Environmental compliance solutions can be the solution to navigating this overwhelming complexity. They can help organizations keep track of the regulations in different jurisdictions, organize their data, and make fact-based decisions that fulfill their compliance obligations without burning through both human and financial resources.

But once an organization has decided to implement an environmental compliance solution, where should they start? What are some of the questions they should ask? In a new webinar, Intelex Global Compliance Content Lead Jessica Sarnowski identifies 10 questions every Read more...

Oil and Gas Explorer Encana Gains Compliance and Efficiency with EMS

Environmental management effectiveness means achieving the obvious result of regulatory compliance, but for Encana Corp., it is essential to gain a good measure of organizational efficiency, too.

Efficiency is particularly important for a company like Encana, a Calgary-based oil and gas exploration and production company, that has a multitude of regulatory objectives to meet, many interdependent departments that exist across the company, and an operation that spans two countries.

Casey Rubin, manager of the environmental information team, says that, in his job of EMS management, he works with a variety of internal groups, including air compliance, field environmental groups, operations, plus regulatory and production coordinators.

In most large corporations it’s often typical to find many redundant efforts such as the collection of the same types of data and performing the same types tasks or processes, yet not having the necessary coordination to streamline across different operating areas or even in … Read more...

NAEM Report Highlights Challenges and Opportunities of Sustainability Practices of Supply Chain

Environmental sustainability, or the efforts made by everyone everywhere to safeguard the planet as well as responsibly use and replenish the finite resource we have in this world, has achieved the rightful status of being a strong business value and a boon to any company’s brand.

Many organizations now realize how a company operates as an environmentally and socially responsible provider of goods and services is – simply put – a good-for-business practice. Specific regulations in Canada, the United States and around the world guide corporations in terms of what they “must” do to achieve compliance. Business ethics, employees, customers and partners compel companies to go above and beyond these prescriptive rules.

Consumer demand for environmentally responsible products is continuing to push the sustainability agenda in terms of importance, transforming how companies relate to their supply chain partners. It’s not enough for a business to do everything it can to … Read more...

How Crisis Management Planning Could Save Your Business

Crisis management planning is one of the most important ways of protecting your organization and your workers from injury, loss of productivity and disaster. A solid crisis management plan that has executive sponsorship and cross-functional support can mean the different between an incident from which your business recovers and a disaster that costs time, money or lives.

Yet crisis management planning is also one of the most difficult initiatives for which to get executive support. Very often, crisis management is considered too expensive or simply requires too many resources for an event that many executives would consider a statistical improbability. This attitude relies on the idea that a crisis is never likely to happen and that, even if it did happen, everyone would instinctively know how to deal with it.

But what if it does happen? How would the organization deal with a crisis in which people were injured? Or … Read more...