The traditional “check and punish” approach in environmental compliance assurance has had only limited results. Therefore, EECCA governments have expressed interest in using approaches that promote voluntary compliance in addition to simply detecting and penalising non-compliance.
Compliance promotion includes assistance, incentives and other activities designed to encourage observance of environmental requirements. Assistance may include education, training, outreach and other activities to help the regulated community understand and meet its obligations. Incentives provide concrete benefits to individual operators when they comply or voluntarily report non-compliance. Other tools, including economic instruments, can also be used to encourage compliance. Compliance promotion can reduce compliance costs to businesses by allowing them to achieve and maintain compliance as efficiently as possible, and may allow a reduction of compliance assurance costs to regulators by increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of compliance monitoring and enforcement activities.
One of information-based tools of compliance promotion is information disclosure about firms’ environmental behaviour and rating their performance. Several examples of the use of performance rating and information disclosure schemes and Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers (PRTRs) in transition or developing economies show that such schemes are inexpensive to design and implement and are effective as a factor in investment decisions and as a lever for the public to exert pressure on enterprises for pollution reduction efforts. The EAP Task Force pilot project on introducing a performance rating and information disclosure scheme in Ukraine sought to assist EECCA environmental enforcement agencies in building the potential for increasing compliance via better access to information.
Compliance promotion is usually targeted at specific segments of the regulated community, particularly at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), whose size and sheer number limit the effectiveness of conventional regulatory and compliance assurance approaches developed for large companies. The Secretariat has conducted a review of good international practice and tools used to promote environmental compliance of SMEs to support policy initiatives of the Georgian Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources, but also for the benefit of other environmental authorities in the EECCA region.