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Environmental Compliance 

The landscape of environment compliance is ever-changing, with a myriad of requirements from Air Emissions to Wastewater, covering Federal to State, Provincial and Municipal levels. It can be challenging for environmental professionals to keep track of these changes. Nimonik was created to aid environmental professionals in identifying, tracking, and understanding environmental regulations.

Today, over 700 companies use Nimonik to help maintain legal registers, receive updates on changing laws and generate environmental audit protocols. Learn how we can assist you in navigating the evolving environmental compliance landscape.

Compliance with Environmental Regulations

ISO 14001 was the first major environmental management system (EMS) and is still going strong with hundreds of thousands of certified companies around the world. Various industries have adopted similar standards like Green Marine in the marine industry and R2 in the logistics and electronics recycling sectors. These are built upon the foundation of ISO 14001, emphasizing the importance of identifying and complying with applicable regulations and thereby promoting robust compliance with environmental regulations.

ISO 14001 has a clear requirement to identify and comply with applicable regulations, standards and other obligations. Article 6.1.3 of ISO 14001, clearly states, 

“The organization shall:

a) determine and have access to the compliance obligations related to its environmental aspects;

b) determine how these compliance obligations apply to the organization;

c) take these compliance obligations into account when establishing, implementing, maintaining and continually improving its environmental management system.

The organization shall maintain documented information of its compliance obligations.


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    ISO 14001 Environmental and Regulatory Compliance

    Environmental and Regulatory Compliance: ISO 14001 and Beyond

    Navigating environmental and regulatory compliance is no easy task. The average jurisdiction imposes over 1,000 environmental obligations, while industrial sites often grapple with as many as 2,000 obligations. Given the perpetual evolution of regulations and the inherent limitations of available resources, staying on top of these obligations poses a formidable challenge. 

    To effectively manage these obligations across medium and large organizations, investment in robust regulatory monitoring tools equipped with workflow functionality and action planning is essential. In this endeavor, Nimonik stands as a steadfast partner, assisting organizations in achieving compliance with the rigorous ISO 14001 requirements for obligations management.


    How Nimonik Supports Environmental Regulatory Compliance

    Nimonik’s Comprehensive Compliance platform offers robust solutions for managing environmental regulatory compliance requirements:

    1. Access all Environmental Laws: Access to all environmental regulations, laws, standards and related information along with tools to manage all your obligations in one location.
    1. Tools for Managing Obligations: The Nimonik platform provides efficient tools for meeting requirements within various green certification processes and for centralizing and managing all your environmental obligations in one convenient location, streamlining the compliance process and enhancing your compliance to environmental regulations.
    1. Notifications of Regulatory Changes: Stay ahead of evolving environmental regulations with our platform’s timely notifications that alert you when regulations and standards change, allowing you to adapt proactively.
    1. Risk-Based Assessments and Audits: Identify gaps and areas for improvement through risk-based assessments and audits, empowering you to take corrective actions for enhanced compliance.
    1. Convert Obligations into Audits: Nimonik facilitates the transformation of your obligations into internal environmental compliance audits, simplifying the compliance journey and ensuring that you meet regulatory standards.
    1. Real-Time Compliance Reports: Generate real-time compliance reports with the best tools for environmental audit that help you identify issues, gaps, and action items. This real-time insight enables you to continually enhance your compliance efforts.

    Some sample Environmental regulations

    Sample Environmental Compliance Checklists


    Environmental Compliance Scope of Coverage

    General Environmental Management

    This topic includes Duty of Care; Monitoring; Reports (preparing and submitting reports not related to releases, emergencies, disasters); Inspections and Enforcement (general penalties and fines); Liability, Insurance (including general claims for damages); and Site Moves and Closure.

    Permits, Approvals, and Assessments

    This topic includes Environmental Impact Assessment (including environmental assessments, environmental impact reviews); Building Permit (Including non-environmental building permit that has environment-related clause(s) in it); Operating Permit or License to Operate; and Integrated Permit.

    Plans

    This topic includes Pollution Prevention Plans.

    Releases, Emergencies, Disasters

    Includes environmental emergency plans that address both prevention and response. Spills. Includes elements of contingency plans, if contingency plans are about what to do to respond to a spill.

    This topic includes Prevention; Reporting; and Remediation (including mitigating the impacts of a release).

    Management of Land and Soil

    Mitigating the impacts of excavation. Erosion control.

    This topic includes Land Contamination and Contaminated Sites.

    Energy Conservation, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Development

    Includes fuel and energy consumption standards; sustainable procurement; incentives to promote good environmental and sustainable development practices. Renewable Energy includes actions related to creation, transmission, and use of renewable energy.

    General Air Emissions and Ambient Air Quality

    This topic includes Ambient Air Quality Standards (effects of emissions on ambient air standards; prohibitions on degrading ambient air standards); Air Emission Standards; Air Emissions Permit; and Monitoring and Reporting.

    Specific Air Pollutants

    This topic includes PM (includes smoke, opacity); Odor; NOx and SOx; Solvents and VOCs (includes solvent degreasing processes, benzene (vaporization), formaldehyde (vaporization); Asbestos; Noise; Light and Other Visual Pollution (includes billboards (outdoor advertising), issues related to beautification); and Other Specific Air Pollutants (includes lead, carbon monoxide).

    Radiation

    This topic includes Ionizing Radiation; and Non-Ionizing Radiation.

    Greenhouse Gases

    CO2, CO2e, N2O, CH4 (GHG-related). CO2 injection for carbon sequestration. Carbon tax rebates and incentives for green and climate change mitigation funds.

    Water Use and Wastewater Management    

    Water use permit/license. Water monitoring and reporting. Fees for water use. Efficient use of water.

    Wastewater Management

    This topic includes Pretreatment (pretreatment of wastewater before it reaches a wastewater treatment plant or similar); Wastewater Discharge Requirements; Wastewater Discharge Permits; Stormwater Management (includes runoff, non-point-source discharges); Greywater/Reclaimed Water (includes use of treated wastewater for irrigation); Snow removal, and Sewage (includes septic tanks).

    Water Conservation

    This topic includes Water Withdrawals (includes diversion, removal, water rights and water taking, and related licenses); Protecting Bodies of Water; Obstructions (includes dams, and obstructions within a floodway); and Aquifer and Source Protection (applies to underground bodies of water).

    Drinking Water Treatment and Supply

    Drinking water treatment plants and wells.

    Litter

    Prohibitions on littering, or allowing littering on one’s land.

    Non-Hazardous Waste Generation

    This topic includes Waste Reduction Plans (includes product stewardship); Waste Definition and Classification; Waste Reporting and Monitoring; Waste Permit; Storage Requirements; Domestic Waste Transport and Shipment; Interjurisdictional Waste Transport; Recycling and Composting; and Waste Disposal (disposal requirements for generators; includes disposal of non-hazardous sludge). This topic also includes food waste.

    Hazardous Waste Generation

    Hazardous waste includes hazardous recyclable materials.

    This topic includes General Hazardous Waste; Storage Requirements (temporary waste storage requirements for generators–not long-term storage at dedicated storage facilities); Domestic Hazardous Waste Transport; Interjurisdictional Hazardous Waste Transport; Recycling of Hazardous Waste (recycling of waste generated on-site); Disposal Requirements (for generators; includes disposal of hazardous sludge); Polychlorinated Biphenyls and Terphenyls (PCBs/PCTs); Batteries; Waste Electric and Electronic Equipment (includes cathode ray tubes); Used Oil; Biological/Medical Waste; and Radioactive Waste.

    Storage Requirements; Recycling of Hazardous Waste; Disposal Requirements; Batteries; Waste Electric and Electronic Equipment.

    Waste Collecting, Processing, Disposal

    This topic includes Waste Collectors and Waste Transporters; Waste Processing Sites (including recycling sites); Waste Treatment Sites; Waste Landfill Sites; and Waste Contractors.

    Chemicals Management

    The Chemicals Management topics are for chemicals regardless of hazards.

    General Environmental Requirements

    This topic includes Notifications; Inventory; Risk Assessments; Risk Management (includes risk management programs); Classification of Chemicals; Hazard Identification and Documentation (includes safety data sheets for chemical companies); and Packaging.

    Use and Marketing Restrictions

    This topic includes Chemical Import or Export Restrictions; and Persistent Organic Pollutants.

    Hazardous Materials Management    

    This topic includes Notifications (includes notices of lost/missing material; for notices related to releases, refer to Environment Management: Releases, Emergencies, Disasters); Inventory (includes notices related to quantities possessed or stored); Hazard Identification and Documentation (includes safety data sheets, information about a substance, placarding (except about Transport of Hazardous Materials), and confidential business information about a hazardous substance with a non-OHS focus); Packaging (includes labels); and Emergency Planning.

    Use, Manufacture, and Marketing Restrictions

    Prohibitions on use, manufacture, sale of substance.

    This topic includes Living Organism Manufacture/Import/Use (includes protection of the environment from negative effects of genetically modified organisms and/or inadvertent spread of GMO-related genetic material).

    Storage and Handling of Hazardous Materials Management

    This topic includes General Storage Requirements (includes flammable and combustible liquid storage); and General Handling Requirements (includes flammable and combustible liquid handling).

    Transport of Hazardous Materials

    Transportation of dangerous goods.

    Management of Restricted Hazardous Substances

    This topic includes Polychlorinated Biphenyls and Terphenyls (PCBs/PCTs) (management of non-waste PCBs); Ozone Depleting Substances (includes CFCs, HCFCs, HFCs, bromofluorocarbons, fluorocarbons, HBFCs, methyl bromide, carbon tetrachloride, halons); Asbestos; Fuel and Oil (additives such as lead; producing, refining, blending, importing fuel including gasoline; contaminated fuel except for waste); LPG; LNG; CNG; Lead; Mercury (includes products containing mercury); Pesticides (includes rodenticides, herbicides, fumigants); Fertilizers (includes anhydrous ammonia, and non-fertilizers whose purpose is to improve soil condition or to increase plant growth or crop yields); and Other Restricted Hazardous Substances (includes 2-butoxyethanol, tributyl tetradecyl phosphonium chloride, TCE, PCE, manganese-based fuel additives), and also includes non-specified chemical weapons and microbeads.

    Radiological Substances

    Use this topic for protection of the environment from radiological substances that do not derive from an accident/incident. For protection of the environment from effects of a nuclear incident, use the Security and Public Health topic.

    Biological Hazards

    Wildlife and Land Conservation    

    Protection of wildlife or their habitat, including plants, marine life and provisions related to hunting. This topic includes Import/Export of Wildlife Species.

    Wildfires

    Actions to prevent and respond to wildfires.

    Control of Invasive Flora and Fauna

    Regulating invasive plants/noxious weeds/invasive species.

    Protected Areas

    This topic includes Public and Indigenous Lands. 


    Geographic Coverage

    Nimonik covers over 600 jurisdictions and the list is constantly evolving as our company continues to grow with new customers in new locations. If you require coverage beyond our existing services, it will be our pleasure to speak with you about how we can expand our database to ensure you achieve comprehensive compliance.

    You can download a list of our Nimonik regulatory geographic coverage here.

    jurisdictions

    Pricing

    Nimonik offers a variety of services to help you monitor for regulatory compliance and requirements related to environmental regulations. 

    Our newsletter service, library, and registers allow you to identify and track applicable requirements. 

    Our auditing tool allows you to audit your organization against environmental regulations. To learn more about Nimonik pricing, please visit our pricing page. Environment represents one (1) topic in our pricing matrix.

    Pricing pageRequest a demo

    FAQ

    How can your business benefit from adhering to environmental compliance standards?

    Adhering to environmental compliance standards can benefit your business in several ways. It demonstrates your commitment to environmental responsibility, which can enhance your reputation, attract environmentally conscious customers, and improve public perception. If you have an environmental management system such as ISO 14001, compliance to regulations is a requirement. 

    What risks do businesses face when they fail to comply with environmental regulations?

    Failure to comply with environmental regulations can result in various risks, including legal penalties, fines, and sanctions. Non-compliance can harm your reputation and lead to public backlash. In certain jurisdictions, corporate directors can be held criminally and civilly liable. Non-compliance may also result in operational disruptions, increased insurance costs, and potential damage to the environment, which can lead to further liabilities.

    How often do environmental regulations get updated, and how can you stay informed?

    Environmental regulations are subject to very frequent updates, and the frequency of these updates can vary by jurisdiction and specific regulations. To stay informed, businesses should establish a robust regulatory monitoring system, subscribe to relevant government notifications, join industry associations, and engage with environmental consultants who can provide timely updates.

    What are the best practices for ensuring ongoing environmental compliance in businesses?

    Best practices include setting up an environmental management system, conducting regular environmental audits, establishing clear compliance responsibilities, providing employee training, maintaining accurate records, monitoring changes in regulations, and engaging in proactive risk assessments.

    How does environmental compliance affect a business’s reputation and public perception?

    Environmental compliance positively affects a business’s reputation and public perception. Customers and stakeholders increasingly value eco-conscious businesses. Complying with environmental standards signals responsibility, sustainability, and ethical business practices, enhancing the perception of your brand and products.

    Are there any incentives or tax breaks for businesses that exceed environmental compliance standards?

    Yes, various incentives and tax breaks are available for businesses that exceed environmental compliance standards. These can include tax credits, grants, rebates, and access to environmental certification programs that can lead to favorable treatment in the market.

    How can businesses effectively integrate environmental compliance into their existing operational processes?

    Integrating environmental compliance requires a systematic approach. It involves identifying environmental aspects, understanding obligations, embedding compliance into standard operating procedures, providing training, and continuously monitoring and improving processes to align with compliance goals.

    What is the potential financial impact, including fines and penalties, for non-compliance with environmental regulations?

    The financial impact of non-compliance with environmental regulations can be substantial. It may involve fines, penalties, legal costs, remediation expenses, increased insurance costs, and potential damage to business reputation. These costs can vary widely depending on the severity of the violation and jurisdiction.

    How can businesses track and report their environmental performance to relevant authorities?

    Businesses can track and report their environmental performance by implementing monitoring systems, maintaining accurate records, and utilizing environmental management software. Reporting typically involves providing required data and documentation to relevant authorities in compliance with regulations.

    Are there industry-specific environmental compliance standards that businesses should be aware of?

    Yes, many industries have specific environmental compliance standards tailored to their operations. These standards address unique environmental aspects, risks, and regulations associated with each sector. Businesses should be aware of and adhere to industry-specific standards in addition to general environmental regulations.