In general, compliance means conforming to a rule, such as a specification, policy, standard or law. Regulatory compliance describes the goal that organisations aspire to achieve in their efforts to ensure that they are aware of and take steps to comply with relevant laws and regulations.
Due to the increasing number of regulations and need for operational transparency, organizations are increasingly adopting the use of consolidated and harmonized sets of compliance controls. This approach is used to ensure that all necessary governance requirements can be met without the unnecessary duplication of effort and activity from resources.
In order to comply with the above requirements and obligations, certain conditions within them must be met. Typically these will include:
- Managing monitoring programmes or schedules, ensuring that the monitoring required in the permit has been done, at the correct locations, for the correct parameters, and at the correct frequency
- Pre-processing, performing calculations and validating the data for compliance with any alert or reporting levels
- Generating routine compliance reports for authorities.
The management of the above can be complex and time consuming, leading to an increasing uptake of software systems designed to manage environmental compliance. These are often referred to as 'Environmental Data Management Systems'.