Countdown to compliance: EPCRA reporting

Visit BSI's Experts Corner: Home for insights from BSI’s practice directors and industry experts on digital trust, environmental, health, safety, security, and sustainability.

January 19, 2024 - Environmental regulatory compliance is not just a legal obligation for companies; it involves committing to sustainable choices that benefit the environment and communities they operate in.

Upcoming deadlines 

Many of the 2024 US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reporting deadlines, including for the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) are fast approaching. Now is the time for companies to address compliance obligations, but it is also an opportunity for sustainability initiatives to be enhanced.

Leveraging data on the quantity, storage type and location, and effects of hazardous chemicals if released into the environment allows companies to pinpoint risks, optimize resources, and drive continuous improvement. Nevertheless, keeping up with many regulatory demands can make it challenging to maintain resilient and updated policies.

How EPCRA data impacts sustainability efforts

Collecting and analyzing hazardous materials data on usage, storage, and release helps companies understand potential risks and delivers valuable insights into the utilization of resources. Businesses can then identify where to reduce environmental impacts and enhance sustainability efforts by:

  • Evaluating the usage of hazardous materials.
  • Implementing safer alternatives.
  • Adopting more efficient processes to minimize waste generation.

This analysis enables the development of more effective risk management strategies, thus reducing the likelihood of accidents, spills, or other incidents that could adversely impact the environment or the communities in which companies operate.

By monitoring and analyzing this information, companies can identify areas of inefficiency and implement measures to optimize resource consumption and minimize waste. Data-driven resource management not only benefits the environment but also enhances a company's overall sustainability performance. EPCRA regulations require companies to disclose information about practices associated with these hazardous materials to the local community, enabling businesses to build trust with residents and regulators alike.

Data utilization in EPCRA reporting also allows companies to monitor progress over time and see where improvements have been made or where there are areas that require additional attention. This data-driven approach means realistic sustainability goals can be set and informed decisions made to drive continuous improvement.

Maximizing the impact of EPCRA data

For businesses to fully harness the benefits of data assets, tackling various obstacles such as ensuring quality, utilizing suitable collection methods, and managing large volumes and types of information is essential.

Addressing these challenges head-on means companies can unlock the full potential of data and make informed decisions to reduce environmental impacts and drive more business growth and innovation.

Learn more about changing environmental regulations and BSI’s EPCRA Compliance Tool, a tool that consists of a robust chemical classification system to accelerate decision making and planning for a disruptive event. Read more from JD Gibbs in AI and environmental compliance: Transforming regulatory compliance processes and EPA approves new ASTM E1527-21 standard.

Visit BSI’s Experts Corner for more insights from industry experts. Subscribe to our Experts-Corner-2-Go LinkedIn newsletters for a fortnightly roundup of the latest thought leadership content: Digital trust, EHS, supply chain.