In 2020, all corporate strategies must take into account green issues and environmental protection. It’s vital that companies remain energy efficient whilst adhering to environmental standards. Consequently, environmental professionals must keep up to date with the latest changes in national and international regulations. Luckily, there are a variety of schemes to help environmental professionals ensure their company’s environmental policy remains compliant.
Environmental protection: good for company competitiveness?
The climate emergency and the issue of environmental protection call for urgent society-wide mobilisation. It is against this backdrop of a ticking environmental time bomb that the French government published its Action Plan for Business Growth and Transformation (PACTE) on 22 May 2019, recognising the scope for companies to take action. PACTE gives companies a greater role in today’s societal and environmental issues, forming the latest in a series of energy management initiatives and policies introduced by the French government over a number of years. From now on, every company should adapt its strategy to factor in the direct and indirect consequences of its activities on the environment. While companies were already required to have an Environmental Management System (EMA) in place to organise and manage their environmental impact, they must now adhere to increasingly complex environmental conservation obligations on a daily basis. These include energy audits, optimising the use of natural resources, energy savings certificates, emissions to water and air, the ISO 14001 standard (https://blog.pollutec.com/en/implementing-and-granting-the-iso-14001-standard/) and facilities classified for environmental protection (known in France by the acronym ICPE).
Although environmental law is a legal obligation which necessarily imposes certain constraints, it can also represent a great development opportunity. Indeed, respecting the regulations and incorporating environment protection into company strategy are now key to a company’s performance and longevity. Whether through monitoring energy consumption or by implementing processes to limit waste generation, contributing to the fight against climate change enables companies to reduce unnecessary expenditure while actually boosting their net income. In addition to such financial savings, implementing an environmental policy makes a company more attractive in the short and long term to clients with sustainable development concerns. It also rallies employees around a common goal.
Environmental compliance: the CCI’s tools for assisting companies
Following the French government’s introduction of the Charter of the Environment in 2004, it has been incumbent on all French companies to respect and conserve biodiversity.To help them adhere to what is often very complex legislation while fully analysing their company’s environmental impact, the French Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CCI) have introduced a range of tools including surveys, audits, training materials and talks.To assist local companies and businesses each CCI can offer help with regulatory compliance, assess and support the implementation of improvement measures, and help with financial aid applications.
Yet despite this focus on environmental issues and the shifting economic and societal context, it remains difficult for company bosses to keep fully abreast of legal developments and anticipate future changes in regulation. So to improve and optimise these environmental initiatives, the French Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CCIs) have introduced a tool designed to guide and support companies, called Enviroveille. This service for monitoring environmental, health and safety law offers a way of keeping tabs on the latest environmental obligations. Every month, a newsletter provides a comprehensive round-up and analysis of the latest French and European legal news. Personalised alerts inform users about the publication of legislation relating to the environment, energy and health. Using keywords and different personalisation options, companies can receive news tailored to their sector and specific needs. A 6-month trial period lets you try out the monitoring tool for free.
Energy efficiency for companies: analysing regulatory publications
While identifying your company’s environmental impacts and consumption levels constitutes an essential first step towards protecting the environment, getting to grips with the regulations and their implications has to be a priority for any company looking to boost its efficiency. However, it’s easy to get lost amidst the plethora of environmental rules applicable to companies, covering every industry sector. Mindful of this, as part of its business support initiative the French natural gas network operator GRFD has set up a centre of expertise called CEGIBAT. The www.cegibat.grdf.fr website seeks to provide all companies with tools relating to regulation and energy efficiency. Through its technical and regulatory information portal, CEGIBAT offers free advice on the most effective environmental protection solutions, as well as current and upcoming regulations. Multiple standards and directives (the ISO 50001 standard, French government directive ICPE 2910, European standard EN 16247) are explored in depth via free-to-access articles and studies. The website offers companies an online library of reference works, model documents, calculation tools and testimonials, as well as technical dossiers on specific topics. Discussion meetings are organised on a regular basis to help companies decode current technical and regulatory issues. Through the CEGIBAT initiative, GRFD aims to simplify this information, making it accessible to as wide an audience as possible.
Environmental protection: how can companies incorporate the standards into their operations?
For some, reconciling environmental protection with economic competitiveness is not always that simple and can require organisational changes. Nowadays, environmental concerns are discussed and incorporated at every stage of the decision-making process within the organisation. As a result, environmental policy implementation entails developing skills within the company, mainly through continuing professional development (CPD). Adapting to current regulations also involves constantly re-examining the company’s actions and the skills of its employees.To meet these requirements, the French Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CCI) set up the Centre de Formation et de Documentation sur l’Environnement (CFDE), a Centre for Environmental Training and Documentation. This expertise-sharing hub welcomes participants from every industrial sector. It has evolved considerably since it was launched and is now known as the Centre de Formation du Développement durable et de l’Environnement, the Centre for Sustainable Development and Environmental Training of the CCI in France.This highly respected training body provides companies with a broad offering in technical and regulatory subjects, spanning the major areas of industry and sustainable development. This initiative demonstrates the CCI’s determination to promote continuous improvements in companies’ environmental policies, whilst helping them negotiate a changing regulatory landscape.