Being an EHS Manager is Risky Business

Young, Rob
(AlterEcho, New York, NY)

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Environmental risk can have serious negative effects on an organization’s financial position and its ability to achieve its business objectives. Corporations and their leaders face an increasing risk of criminal allegations and serious financial penalties for not properly addressing environmental issues. Recent enforcement trends have seen companies putting aside hundreds of millions of dollars to fund future liabilities and clean-ups. Increasing legislation and regulations, severe weather events and changes in workforce composition, both for industry and regulators, contribute to a dynamic environmental risk profile that can influence an organization’s financial performance, reputation, cash flow, and shareholder value. The task of identifying and addressing complex risks such as these is becoming more critical–and difficult–for environmental health and safety (EHS) professionals. The EHS industry is undergoing a significant turnover with the retirement of many of the first generation of environmental professionals. At the same time, in many cases, EHS professionals are being asked to “do more with less” as far as financial and staff resources. This trend is occurring both in the private sector and among regulators. A result is that at a time of increasing complexity and risk in environmental matters, we are seeing a decrease in the level of experience, regulatory knowledge and industry and site specific expertise and training. These evolving challenges present new risks and an increase in environmental exposures to be managed by EHS professionals. This paper and presentation will address the substance of these risks and emerging tools and initiatives to effectively manage the risks. Specific takeaways from this presentation will be: • Analysis of recent regulatory compliance trends and enforcement actions for the semiconductor sector • Identification of non-compliance factors and key risk operational risk areas • Insight on training and tools being designed to address these emerging risks and the unique footprint size, store level staff profile and resource constraints faced by retailers

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