For global manufacturers, avoiding environmental, health and safety (EHS) regulations is not quite as simple as picking up and moving operations to a new location. Environmental regulatory and policy developments are increasing across the globe, says EHS consultancy Enhesa, with every single product regulated in at least one country.
Indeed, the consulting firm identified slightly fewer than 11,000 environmental regulatory and policy developments of interest to business. That's an 18% increase compared with 2009, data show.
Even more, 2010 resulted in three times more regulatory developments than in 2006, the first year for which Enhesa produced a regulatory forecast.
"The regulatory pressure on business with regard to environmental issues is increasing year after year and prompting many companies to revisit how they ensure regulatory compliance, and avoid business disruption and financial liabilities," notes Enhesa Managing Director Thierry Dumortier. "Sustainability issues are increasingly perceived as competitive issues."
Examples of new requirements in 2010 include regulations on nanotechnology in France, with that country requiring manufacturers of products containing nanomaterials to report annually, while several European standardization bodies collaborated to issue harmonized standards for mobile phone chargers (under threat of regulation, according to Enhesa).
Looking ahead, the start of 2011 saw more than 3,460 outstanding regulatory proposals and initiatives likely to result in new obligations in the future, the consulting firm said. The majority of initiatives address product requirements, air emissions/energy efficiency and waste management.