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June 30, 2015

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Increased public exposure sees companies focus on risk management

Environmental health and safety professionals are approaching risk management more stringently than ever before – according to new research.

The survey, conducted by cloud software provider, Rivo, found that exactly 50 per cent of EHS professionals identified that they are spending the largest proportion of their budget on improving their business’ risk management performance, indicating this is where they feel they need to improve.

The research, which analysed data from 181 respondents across 55 countries relating to their primary safety and sustainability concerns, also revealed that nearly two thirds (64 per cent) of EHS professionals named their top priority as reducing the number of incidents and adverse events across their business.

The findings support previous research by Verdantix, which found customers are increasing spend on EHS software by 25 per cent each year.

Integrating their operations and supply chain management and reporting and analytics were indicated as top priority by a substantially smaller number of respondents, with the latter only selected by just one in five EHS professionals.

In comparison, sustainability professionals are most concerned about their business’ reputation and profitability, with 41 per cent placing the reduction of their corporate impact as their number one priority. In addition, the application of materiality to sustainability reporting is prioritised by less than a fifth (19 per cent) of sustainability professionals.

Interestingly, less than a quarter (23 per cent) of safety and sustainability professionals in Asia Pacific named the reduction of incidents as their top priority, with risk management further down the agenda compared to their counterparts in EMEA and Americas.

James Jameson, VP Product Strategy at Rivo, said: “It’s reassuring to see the business landscape placing more and more emphasis on environmental, health and safety. We are seeing a clear increase in commitment to going beyond compliance, to reducing the number of safety and environmental incidents and prioritising their budgets accordingly.

“We’re also seeing an increase in convergence of sustainability into environmental, health and safety. Sustainability after all is about resilience as EH&S is. Professionals are increasingly aware of the reputational impact of not getting it right. We have seen a number of cases in the media recently of the potential reputational backlash caused by poor environmental, health and safety standards and practices – how safety and sustainability professionals can work together to effectively get a collective grip n compliance and risk to move their businesses forward is crucial to how they are perceived by potential customers and investors.”

An infographic detailing the information can be found here.

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