Advances in technology and regulatory design are providing new ways to monitor and detect pollution; manage, use and distribute information; respond to and mitigate environmental impacts; and communicate results to the public and the regulated community. At the same time, social innovations are leading to new approaches to solving organisational and managerial problems regarding compliance assurance. These advances may prove especially important as governments look for ways to address increasingly complex environmental issues, including sources of pollution that are largely invisible, or small sources that collectively have a big impact. Today’s challenges are likely to require more diverse compliance strategies that use new tools and approaches while enhancing enforcement tools that remain the backbone of environmental protection.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), the Netherlands Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate, and other government agencies are responding to these challenges through a suite of approaches intended to increase compliance and thus ensure that health and environmental benefits envisioned in regulations and permits are actually achieved. New technologies, data systems, and social innovations could offer unprecedented opportunities to design better rules and permits that drive compliance with environmental laws, thereby increasing environmental and human health benefits.
Through a series of conferences and other activities, the participating organisations will examine methods of improving environmental performance through the use of next-generation tools, including advanced monitoring, remote sensing, information analysis and disclosure, management systems, and behavioral motivations, and they will apply lessons learned to the practice of environmental compliance. The series is a cooperative effort of the International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (INECE), the US EPA, the Netherlands Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate, George Washington University Law School, Erasmus University, the Environmental Law Institute, and others.
This special report on next-generation compliance explores the technological innovations, new approaches to regulatory design and implementation, and social innovations comprising the leading edge of next-generation compliance activities.