Since 1971, EPA requirements have contributed to there being a 69% reduction in the levels of six common pollutants in the United States, despite the fact that gross domestic product grew by 238%. Of the 41 areas in the U.S. that had unhealthy levels of carbon monoxide in 1991, all areas now have levels that meet health standards.
Tangible Effects of EPA Requirements
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that the reduction in pollutants has reduced premature deaths by 184,000 per year, lost days of work by 22 million days per year, as well as reductions in congestive heart failure, pneumonia and hospital stays. Surely the enacting of the Clean Air Act and other EPA requirements has had a positive impact on the environment and health, but it also requires businesses to meet certain criteria in order to be compliant with emissions and reporting.
In addition to EPA reporting, other businesses may be required to report information to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The EPA and DHS have identified chemicals that are watched and are monitored. If a company manages over a certain number of pounds of these chemicals over a year, or they have GHG emissions over 25 metric tons, they must report it through the Mandatory Reporting Rule (MRR). The DHS has also established thresholds for chemicals on site at any one time. If a threshold is passed, the information must be reported to the DHS.
How Technology Can Help Enact EPA Requirements
Manufacturers often rely on manual processes, including using Excel, to gather the information and produce reports or submit information to the government database. Many ERP solutions, however, can automate those processes.
Oracle, for instance, has a module called Oracle Environmental Accounting and Reporting, that can be added to the Oracle E-Business Suite, which tracks greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and provides the ability to create reduction targets. The module tracks energy consumed as well as energy generated, and even the scope of the GHG emissions.
SAP has a module, SAP xEM, that provides emissions management for meeting environmental regulations worldwide. Microsoft Dynamics AX has an Environmental Sustainability Cube and Dashboard for tracking emissions and reporting, fully integrated within the ERP solution.
There are also standalone solutions that provide necessary monitoring and reporting that can be integrated with ERP solutions. Sphera Solutions has a Chemical Management Solution that provides chemical tracking compliance, up-to-date regulatory data and inbound/outbound hazardous material management including Safety Data Sheets (SDS). Because it has an open architecture, it can be integrated with many ERP solutions.
The cost of not complying with EPA requirements is high and fines can be as much at $32,500 per day. It is important for manufacturers to determine if the regulations apply to them and then determine the best solution to cost-effectively gather and report the data.
While there is a cost of compliance, it’s been shown that companies managing their emissions and chemicals have made the environment safer for us and for future generations.
To learn more about EPA requirements, visit the EPA’s website.