RL Macklin's Sustainability & EHS Website

Integrated Strategies for Managing Sustainability & EHS

RL Macklin's Sustainability & EHS Website

Integrated Strategies for Managing Sustainability & EHS

RL Macklin's Sustainability & EHS Website

Integrated Strategies for Managing Sustainability & EHS

RL Macklin's Sustainability & EHS Website

Integrated Strategies for Managing Sustainability & EHS

Leveraging Outside Services

The volume of regulatory compliance activity has by some estimates increased more than 10 fold over the past 20 years. At the same time there has been little to no increase in staffing to responded to the increased need. One solution to addressing the increasing and changing requirements faced by an internal EHS organization is to put in place a system of strategically using outside services to augment internal staff.

Leveraging Outside Services

Over the past few decades the EHS profession has undergone a remarkable amount of change. As practiced today the range of services a typical EHS department provides to an organization is more integral to the organizations day to day functioning. New areas of concern including environmental stewardship, product compliance, security, sustainability, quality are in many organizations being managed by the EHS department. The volume of regulatory compliance activity has by some estimates increased more than 10 fold over the past 20 years. At the same time there has been little to no increase in staffing to responded to the increased need.

One solution to addressing the increasing and changing requirements faced by an internal EHS organization is to put in place a system of strategically using outside services to augment internal staff. A thoughtful use of outside services can be a force multiplier allowing the effectiveness and scope of the overall EHS function to be much higher than one that does not strategically use outside services.

Cultural Context

Localization is a term that is used frequently in the IT industry to refer to the translation of a program into the language of the region where it is going to be used. However, it has applicability in relation to EHS as well. An organization that has to operate nationally and/or internationally is faced with a number of EHS issues that are location dependent. These can include:

Issue Solution Provided By Outside Services
Knowledge of specific local regulatory scheme, including the regulations, regulators and how the regulations are interpreted and applied.
  • Outside service providers are continually in contact with their local regulatory agencies.
  • Outside service providers typically have mechanisms in place to insure that their staff stay aware of pending and current regulatory changes.
  • Outside service providers can integrate their knowledge of how regulations are applied and corporations' policy to develop balanced solutions and compliance programs.
Immediacy of availability to respond to problems as or before they arise.
  • Outside service providers can be selected so they are nearby to the operations they are assigned to cover.
  • It can be cost effective for outside service providers to visit facilities periodically, meet with facility management to review upcoming changes and associated risks.
  • Outside service providers can be available quickly in the event of an emergency to help assess the issue and determine the needed response.
Knowledge of specific local regulatory scheme, including the regulations, regulators and how the regulations are interpreted and applied.
  • Outside service providers' local staff can be selected that are fluent in both the language of the corporate staff as well as the local operations.
  • Staff of outside service providers have often practiced in more than one part of the world and can provide context for understanding requirements to both corporate and local staff.
  • Outside service providers can assist in helping local company staff to understand the companies EHS policies.

Specialized Technical Skill

In order to most effectively use outside services they will be used as an extension of internal EHS staff. Internal staff will increasing serve as knowledgeable EHS generalist managing a pool of distributed outside service specialist.

Having contracts in place with outside consultants will allow for an internal organization to address its needs continually and consistently. A typical arrangement would be to have a single or a series of Master Services Agreements (MSA) in place. The MSAs would cover the EHS operational scope of the organization. Working with a key client contact a team to service the individual company is put in place. That team becomes familiar with the operations of the client company as well as its employees and standards and policies.

Required report formats, organizational reporting hierarchy, key contact information etc. must all be provided to the service provider. Local staff within the client corporation should be empowered to work directly with the service providers. As a result the subject matter and regional areas of coverage managed by the internal EHS organization can be comprehensive in nature without the need to have a correspondingly comprehensive full time staff.

Critical Components

For strategic outsourcing to work it is critical that
  • A review of what activities to outsource versus maintain internally is undertaken.

  • Outsourcing service providers are carefully selected to insure compatibility between the provider firm and the hiring organization.
  • A robust process of communications is established to insure that the internal EHS function remains aware of the matters being handled by the service provider.
  • The message conveyed to local operations is consistent whether it is from internal resources or the service provider.