Environmental risks: How you can learn from the mistakes of others

  • Directors and executives face increasing scrutiny from the authorities over environmental breaches.
  • Where there is contamination or process failure, there is the risk of significant individual and corporate penalties.
  • There is additional reputational impact associated with a pollution event that can damage a brand, have an effect on share prices and shift consumer perceptions about the company.

Person in hazmat suit digging around rubbish tip

Even a casual reader of the news would be aware of the health impacts of contaminants on the environment and the resulting fallout that can face organisations implicated in pollution.

While companies, their executives and directors have always been mindful of environmental risks associated with operating their business, and have taken steps to rein in the risks to reduce the chance of contamination — it must be noted that the stakes today are higher than ever.

Social media can quickly fan the flames of public concern and environmental activism, while directors and executives face increasing scrutiny from the authorities over what they knew when, and what they did to address the issue. Regulators are ever more rigorous in their examination of environmental policies and procedures.

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