The traditional “check and punish” approach in environmental compliance assurance has had only limited results. Therefore, EECCA governments have expressed an interest to apply new approaches that would encourage voluntary compliance rather than simply detecting and prosecuting non-compliance.
One such approach involves information disclosure about firms’ environmental behaviour and rating their performance. Several examples in transition or developing economies, including from Pollutants Release and Transfer Registers (PRTRs), and performance rating and information disclosure schemes, show that the impacts of such schemes are positive and the costs involved in designing and applying these schemes are not excessively high. Provision of information about enterprises’ environmental impacts can be a factor in investment decisions and can lead the public to exert stronger pressures on enterprises for pollution reduction efforts.
This activity assists environmental enforcement agencies in building the potential for increasing compliance via better access to information. The main elements of work are to implement pilot projects on information disclosure and performance rating schemes, review progress, highlight the achievements and develop recommendations for further steps in compliance assistance to the regulated community. Various stakeholders, including business and the NGO community are involved to ensure sufficient credibility and integrity of the scheme and effective dissemination of its results.
Also an information package on citizens’ compliance monitoring and enforcement is under development in cooperation with the European Eco-Forum to widen public’s involvement in compliance assurance in EECCA and catalyse partnerships between inspectorates and the civil society in EECCA. The information package will present most effective tools of public involvement in compliance assurance, examples and case studies from EECCA and OECD countries, references to relevant training materials and web-sites, and information on key institutions (governmental and non-governmental) active in the field of compliance assurance.