Best Practice Solutions Series Volume 9: Keeping on Top of Regulatory Change – and Managing that Change

by Tjeerd Hendel-Blackford 17 Apr. 2019

Greetings reader! Thanks for joining us for the ninth volume of the 12 Best Practices of Compliance Solutions Series.

In this series we will address twelve of the key challenges you face, one-by-one, with best-practice advice derived from over a quarter of a century of support to global industry!

Volume 1, regarding staffing challenges, can be accessed here.

Volume 2, on the challenge of mergers and acquisitions, can be accessed here.

Volume 3, on getting leadership commitment, can be accessed here.

Volume 4, on ongoing compliance management, can be accessed here.

Volume 5, on rolling out a global program, can be accessed here.

Volume 6, on self-assessing/auditing, can be accessed here.

Volume 7, on applicability, can be accessed here.

Volume 8, on understanding the law, can be accessed here.

In this volume we examine the challenge of keeping on top of and managing regulatory change.

Challenge:

In a recent survey of Enhesa clients, the biggest challenge they faced prior to choosing Enhesa was keeping up with regulatory change.

In an age where the pressure is on, more than ever, to comply, the sheer volume of EHS topic areas can be overwhelming. It can be difficult and time consuming to stay up to date with requirements and comply with the law as it is now—let alone changes to laws that occur frequently. Plant EHS staff don’t have the time to scan the horizon for what they need to do in the future—they have enough to do with site walk-throughs; risk assessments; exposure monitoring and occupational health matters. They just want to be told what they need to do, on any given day.

Of course, this is much easier said than done. If you are a Corporate (EHS) counsel or Global EHS Director for a multinational company, the problem is multiplied by the amount of jurisdictions your company operates in (and also WHICH jurisdictions, as some legislatures are much more active in terms of policy). So, keeping on top of all of this becomes virtually impossible.

This challenge is backed up by numbers. Thousands of regulatory and policy developments take place globally each year. Enhesa analysts wrote Regulatory Forecaster reports on around 3,800 of such developments in 2016. For 2017, the number is nearer to 4,200.

The challenge can also be split into two aspects. First, there is the need to understand what a regulatory change will mean for you and the operations your facility carry out. Second, there is the need to stay ahead of the curve and prepare for change in advance of it occurring.

Best Practice:

Most global multinationals will outsource their tracking of global regulatory change to specialists—like Enhesa. It is crucial that any such service enables awareness of changes to current regulatory obligations, and enables horizon-scanning of up and coming policy and regulatory changes.

First, with regards to changes to regulations in force and your ability to manage compliance against those on an on-going basis, your tool/service should offer the following:

  • Change notifications and guidance should be automated, making you aware of potential action that needs to be undertaken.
  • It should be possible to assess or review the applicability of the law in question, based on the change.
  • Any change should be linked to a more detailed report to provide context and further information.

Second, concerning horizon-scanning of future regulatory developments, best-in-class companies will use a Regulatory Forecasting service.

  • Ideally, such a service would cover all locations where you operate globally. Information should be delivered centrally, electronically in a standardized way that allows access by site level, regional and corporate EHS staff at any time.
  • Ensure that information and reports are tailored to key individuals within your organization. The right information must to the right people in the right way. A capability that allows assignment of reports to one or more people for further investigation/follow-up is important. A best practice is to clearly categorize according to specific EHS topic areas.
  • It is incredibly useful to receive reports on developments both in English and local language.
  • Make sure that any service contracted covers proposals and policy developments as well, not just adopted laws. This information can help to inform business or product strategy and enable forward-planning on compliance.
  • Best-in-class companies will have regular stakeholder meetings to review developments and determine actions based on the information provided through the aforementioned service.
  • On top of internal stakeholder meetings, many Enhesa clients utilize the Regulatory Forecaster Review conference call service to ensure facility personnel get key regulatory updates explained to them on a regular basis by the regulatory analysts covering them.

Client Comments:

Matoo Ohara of Omron: “One of the reasons we chose Enhesa is that Enhesa updates its regulatory information very frequently by tracking regulatory changes continuously.”

Jeff Reddick of JCI: “With regards to the Regulatory Forecaster, the monthly email alerts are received at different levels of the organization - plant, regional and corporate EHS review the reports that are relevant to them. For example, at corporate level we would look for major trends and issues that could impact the business more widely – whereas site personnel will look more at the specific regulatory changes that may impact them. So there is a “layered view” of change.”

Mark Proulx of Adient: “With regard to keeping track of regulatory changes, all levels of our EHS function have access to the Enhesa Regulatory Forecaster reports – which let us know when there are policies or proposals on the horizon that might impact us, or when new laws have entered into force.

The individual sites receive these reports for their specific jurisdiction, and they have a responsibility to stay aware of them – while the Regional managers support them by sitting with the EHS site personnel monthly or quarterly to review what has changed or what is changing.”