“At SEPA, we are changing the way we regulate”. This is what our Chief Executive Terry A’Hearn told an audience of legal professionals at Tuesday night’s Charles Smith Memorial lecture. Terry was speaking about One Planet Prosperity – Our Regulatory Strategy, and how SEPA will be working with businesses to go beyond compliance to help Scotland tackle the challenge of reducing the overuse of the planet’s resources.
Our planet is a precious resource, but one which is also under pressure. It is estimated that if everyone lived as we in Scotland do, we would need almost three planets to support ourselves. We only have one. Tackling this overuse of natural resources is one of the key challenges for our time. It is this challenge, along with our new statutory purpose, that led to SEPA developing a new approach to regulating that helps to put Scotland on a path that creates prosperity within planetary limits. This approach is set out in One Planet Prosperity – Our Regulatory Strategy.
To make real progress towards one planet prosperity, we need to focus on helping as many as possible of those that we regulate to move ‘beyond compliance’. This does not mean additional regulatory burdens on businesses.
Beyond compliance means working with those businesses that voluntarily want to go broader and further than mere compliance because they recognise that adopting this approach creates commercial benefits, such as reducing costs, opening up new markets, and reducing supply-chain risks. The most successful businesses in the 21st century will be those that are low carbon, low materials use, low water use and low waste. For these businesses, the environment will be an opportunity, not a problem.
It won’t be an easy journey but SEPA’s One Planet approach is leading the way; creating the regulatory framework for businesses to go beyond compliance and bringing the goal of one planet prosperity within our grasp.