Environmental monitoring has progressed rapidly over the past few years. This transformation has been driven by mounting pressures from stakeholders and regulatory bodies, pushing organisations to uphold environmental compliance standards.
Environmental scientists now find themselves grappling with data from a myriad of sources, presented in diverse formats, while also contending with an ever-changing roster of stakeholders and evolving technologies. This complexity creates challenges for organisations to effectively measure and report on their environmental data and ensure they’re compliant.
While Excel has served its purpose for many businesses, providing a semblance of order and structure amidst the data chaos, it comes with substantial risks and limitations. As the importance of environmental monitoring continues to grow, so does the effort required to stay compliant. Investing in a robust environmental data management solution is now essential for maintaining compliance, securing a licence to operate and mitigating business risks.
In our white paper, we explore the pivotal role of data management in environmental compliance for today’s environmental scientist. It addresses the critical questions:
We also introduce a new standard in environmental data management with acQuire’s solution, EnviroSys, showcasing use cases in the mining sector.
If you want to skip ahead, click on the sections below:
In the mining and metals industry, Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) concerns currently reign supreme. According to a report by EY, ESG is the number one risk in 2024 for mining and metals companies, while KPMG’s Survey of Sustainability Report 2022 revealed that nearly all the world’s 250 largest companies by revenue are reporting on sustainability or ESG. These reports emphasise the significance of businesses reporting on their environmental impact.
Historically, many businesses relied on spreadsheets to address their environmental monitoring requirements. However, as the complexity of data sources and formats grew, compliance demands became increasingly intricate, and the regulatory and stakeholder landscape evolved, it became evident that sophisticated data management software was necessary. Environmental data management solutions are no longer solely about compliance; they are now integral to overall business success.
Today, organisations can no longer rely on publishing aspirational or unsubstantiated claims; they must prove their compliance credentials at any given moment. Failure to do so presents a number of challenges including:
This is where traditional methods of environmental reporting – such as folders in Microsoft SharePoint, data arranged in spreadsheets, and other rudimentary databases – fall short, and the need for a robust, versatile and reliable environmental data management solution becomes apparent.
An environmental data management solution offers a multitude of benefits, including:
In essence, an environmental data management solution is more than just a tool; it is a strategic asset that empowers organisations to navigate the evolving landscape of environmental responsibility, compliance, and sustainable performance. It ensures that data becomes an enabler of success rather than a source of complexity and risk.
Selecting an environmental data management solution is not merely about managing data; it’s about transforming data management into a strategic business advantage by empowering users to make decisions and report on compliance with confidence and efficiency. The choice of such a solution significantly impacts an organisation’s ability to navigate complex environmental compliance landscapes, streamline data integration, harness automation, and foster connections with stakeholders.
In this section, we evaluate an environmental data management solution on five key areas: data management, data integration, automation, compliance and connectivity.
It is imperative to find an environmental data management solution that offers comprehensive support, spanning end-to-end data management from data capture and transformation, to reporting. This serves as a safeguard against data fragmentation and silos and ensures the longevity and integrity of your data.
In an era of increasingly intricate environmental data monitoring, many organisations have resorted to piecemeal solutions, stitching together disparate systems built to handle specific data types such as water or air quality. A truly competitive advantage lies in finding a solution that is robust enough to accommodate multiple data types in a consistent interface, leaving no data behind.
It is paramount that an environmental data management solution can seamlessly ingest and transform all types of data from diverse sources across your environmental monitoring programs. This comprehensive data spectrum encompasses, but is not confined to, data pertaining to air quality, groundwater, surface water, potable water, meteorological conditions, noise levels, waste management, emissions, soil analysis, land disturbance and rehabilitation activities, and flora assessments.
A high-quality environmental data management solution should not only be proficient in accommodating both real-time and analytical results data but should also unite these data streams in a single, integrated repository. You should have the ability to discern precisely when data was collected, its source, the frequency of acquisition, and its complete chain of custody, within the repository.
Relying on a multitude of products to handle the growing array of data sources necessary for environmental reporting can inadvertently transform data management into an unwelcome burden and introduce a heightened risk of system failures. Should any system lag in support or functionality, your organisation’s capacity to ensure compliance stands at risk.
Loading data into an environmental data management solution should be simple. If your current solution requires manual handling processes, or additional software or modules to extract data, the margin for error increases exponentially.
Look for a solution with the capability to load data sources from the field or third-party data and automatically feed results from labs and other analysts directly into your software, without additional manual data handling.
A crucial feature to consider is whether the software allows flexible data mapping. Your software should allow flexible data mapping to reduce or eliminate issues arising from data providers with different naming standards to your own. It is this adaptability that ensures smooth integration and uniformity, regardless of the data source.
An environmental data management solution should support automation, sparing you from the pitfalls of manual data handling and freeing you from dependence on supplementary software.
Compliance in the world of environmental reporting is a multifaceted challenge. It involves evaluating an organisation’s environmental performance considering both internal benchmarks and external regulations. Monitoring all the parameters of environmental reporting is complex and there are several key considerations to address:
Compliance is not only limited to the collection and reporting of environmental data. Equally crucial is the assurance of data completeness, that is, the ability to coordinate and track all pertinent activities performed and know immediately if any critical information is missing.
An effective environmental data management solution comes into play here. By establishing a framework of actions within the system, such as alerts, guidelines, limits and triggers, users can be notified in real time. This approach shifts the paradigm from reactive responses to failed compliance checks, back to proactive measures to manage their compliance status.
When sourcing an environmental data management solution, it is paramount to avoid black box solutions – where data goes in but never sees the light of day. The ability to seamlessly integrate an environmental data management solution with other systems, and facilitate the effortless flow of data, is the lifeblood of modern environmental data management.
To understand the connectivity of a solution, there are three areas to explore:
If you have found an environmental data management solution that can handle the connectivity mentioned here, then you’re on the right path. But which environmental data management solution is most suitable for you? The final decision hinges on factors unique to your organisation’s needs, goals, and environmental data ecosystem.
In the ever-changing landscape of environmental data management, it’s important to recognise that not all environmental data management solutions are created equal. You must be discerning in your software choice to ensure you choose an environmental data management solution that meets your specific needs.
Enter EnviroSys: a leading environmental data management solution offering a fully integrated, end-to-end view of the state of your compliance. EnviroSys consolidates all environmental information into a single source of truth, ensuring compliance transparency, auditability, and robust data management. What truly sets EnviroSys apart is its ability to handle the complexity and scale of environmental data, easily managing thousands of requirements across multiple disciplines and stages of operation.
EnviroSys has a number of built-in functions to simplify an environmental scientist’s work:
But the benefits of EnviroSys don’t stop with its cutting-edge features. We’re committed to ensuring users have the knowledge and resources they need to master the software. With EnviroSys, customers are supported with implementation and support services, a detailed Knowledge Base and a number of online learning units. These systems are designed to empower your users to take charge of their environmental data management software and operate as independently as possible.
Challenge: An Australian-based mining company was operating an open-cut mine in close proximity to the community. To maintain their licence to operate, the mining company had to ensure dust, noise and vibration levels did not exceed the regulatory levels and did not impact on the nearby residential community.
The mining company needed a way to monitor and manage all associated mine data in real time, with the capacity to provide alerts for any guideline exceedances, so that counteractive measures could be actioned. They also needed a single source of truth for all other environmental data, including water, flora and fauna, and energy data.
Solution: EnviroSys was configured to facilitate data loading from third-party providers such as water data feeds from laboratories, real-time loggers such as telemetry devices for weather and air quality, and manual entry.
Guidelines and trigger levels were established on the mining company’s real-time data, equipping the system to deliver notifications via SMS and email to users regarding any exceedances. Exceedance notifications provided users with the information they needed to make critical decisions quickly.
Challenge: An Australian bulk commodity, metallurgical and thermal coal miner was capturing and reporting on their environmental data across disparate systems. To maintain compliance with the regional water-reporting legislation, the mining company was required to report onsite water input, output and storage figures.
Working across multiple data sources was time-consuming and prone to errors. The mining company needed a central repository for their environmental data that was auditable, complete with where, when and by whom the data was collected and the quality of data.
Solution: EnviroSys was set up as a central repository for the mining company to facilitate the collection, storage and reporting on their environmental data. The solution also provided access to real-time information and alerts for when incoming results data exceeded configured threshold limits, enabling them to make time-critical and data-driven decisions. With a suite of standard and custom-built reports designed with the necessary information to meet regulatory needs, the mining company could streamline the process of managing their environmental data. This, in turn, allowed the company to allocate more time focusing on other environmental management initiatives.
Challenge: An Australian-based mining company was manually inputting values for 291 environmental parameters into their corporate systems as part of their monthly corporate environmental reporting. This was a time-consuming task that usually required two to three days for environmental staff and was prone to human error. The corporate reporting system also provided no data interrogation capability.
Solution: With EnviroSys, the process for monthly corporate environmental reporting was significantly reduced, to one to two hours, and the output produced high-quality data. The person in charge of collecting the data receives an email each month with embedded data entry forms containing 108 essential parameters which are required to be filled out and emailed back to the software. The remaining 183 parameters are automatically preloaded by EnviroSys. EnviroSys data is checked and then exported, ready to be imported into the corporate reporting system. This ensures the data quality and quantity is complete across all mines, and the mining company can now report on their compliance status with ease waterways using EnviroSys.
Whether you’re unsatisfied with your existing environmental data management software or starting your journey to implement a solution, the acQuire team is ready to help. Contact acQuire to navigate the complexities of environmental data with confidence while maximising your next data management solution investment.