International EHS Permitting – A Review of Enhesa’s Webinar

Enhesa’s last webinar held on 19 and 21 May 2011 explored the intricate and complex international Environmental, Health & Safety permitting process. Enhesa experts, Cecile Baudon and Eduardo Molina brought the topic to light by sharing the varying methods of permitting globally.  

The webinar offered practical and usable information on how to: identify when a permit becomes necessary, ensure that a company’s facilities have the right permits, and understand the sustainable life period of permits.  Cecile and Eduardo also explained how Enhesa can assist companies throughout the permitting process.  

Identifying Permits

Enhesa conducted a survey prior to the webinar regarding participants’ experiences and concerns with acquiring and maintaining international permits. Overwhelmingly, respondents said identifying the necessary permits was the most difficult step.  

Over 50% of respondents said Asia was the most challenging place to identify all necessary permits.   This is due to the lack of accessibility of permitting information and the local perception of permits.  The complexity of language, cultural differences, and local practices regarding permits make identification of necessary permits tedious and difficult.  

During the webinar, Enhesa identified the various types of permits found around the world – from Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs), to more traditional permits based on pollution potential and risk (Air Emissions, Water Discharge, Hazardous Activities, etc.), and the Integrated Permit, where the entire performance of the industrial site is taken into account. The integrated approach is normally found in Asian & Pacific countries like China and Australia, as well as the EU, African countries like Morocco and the Ivory Coast, and in Central America, where one finds it in Mexico.

Obtaining Permits

Once a facility has identified the necessary permits the next step is obtaining them.   Survey respondents said that obtaining permits in Europe was the most troublesome, with North America and Asia not too far behind.  

Identifying and obtaining permits are two very different steps. Obtaining a permit involves applying for or negotiating with the right authority and adhering and complying with the guidelines outlined in the permit. Europe is often deemed the most challenging because it is one of the most stringent areas of the world with regard to EHS rules & regulations. There is often more paperwork involved, different agencies and language issues in many countries. 

Enhesa Experts explored the different approaches to EHS regulation around the world and how that plays a role when obtaining permits.  For example with regard to Air Emissions Permits, in the United States, limits are identified in the operating permits themselves and not in the law. In France, authorization is granted at regional levels, and in Mexico, they are regulated by federal jurisdiction. Enhesa also identified the differences between the application versus the negotiation of a permit, timing factors, and fee implications that affect a facility’s ability to obtain a permit. 

Enhesa Solutions to Stay on Track

Perhaps the most alarming statistic involved respondent confidence in their company’s permitting management system. 71% of respondents told Enhesa that they do have a system in place to monitor ongoing permit compliance. However, 48% of respondents admitted that they were unsure if their facilities had ever operated without the proper permits. Despite having a system to address their permitting needs, there was still an underlying uncertainty about actual compliance. This led to the final chapter in the webinar that provided reassuring solutions to those concerns.

 Cecile and Eduardo concluded the webinar by providing an overview of Enhesa solutions. For over 150 countries and jurisdictions Enhesa offers: 

  •  high level and systematic overview of EHS permitting requirements 
  • third-party review and assessment of EHS permitting applications, 
  • assistance in identifying and keeping track of EHS conditions established in permits, 
  • assistance in carrying out a complete permitting strategy in combination with your engineering schedule.

 Enhesa can also tailor standard services to include specific permitting requirements and conditions that will ensure ongoing compliance. Permitting conditions can be added to:

  •  Enhesa Regulatory Registers: used for identifying and documenting all relevant and applicable EHS regulations for a specific facility. 
  •  Enhesa’s Monitoring service: service to keep companies abreast of all new, pending & future regulations impacting operations. 
  • Enhesa Auditing ScoreCard: tool to verify compliance 
  • Expert Assistance: Enhesa Auditors can assess the validity and implementation of all applicable permits.

 Enhesa offers comprehensive services and tools to assist companies with international permitting needs as wells as overall EHS regulatory compliance assurance.

The next webinar in our on-going series will be Thursday, 23 June, around addressing federal and state variances in EHS regulations in the United States. If you would like to learn more, please join us for this free webinar by registering here. If you are not yet on our webinar invitation list and would like to be invited to Enhesa webinars in the future, please contact us at webinars@enhesa.com.

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