Waste and water management is a growing concern for businesses, manufacturers and building managers around the world. More companies are looking for trusted partners to ensure their operations are 100% compliant with local waste and wastewater management policies and regulations.
Governments, too, have aligned on the need for safe water sources—among the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals is providing clean, sustainable sources of water for everyone on the planet. Additionally, across the business landscape, there is growing demand from investors and other stakeholders to reach more transparent and documented environmental and sustainability goals.
Waste and water management is a cross-sectoral need. ESG and government regulations aren’t just targeting manufacturers. Every built environment from retail to healthcare and education is faced with the new challenge of upgrading how they manage environmental impact.
New regulations governing waste and water management in Asia
In Asia, governments are taking a more proactive role in environmental regulations for businesses. For example, earlier this year China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment issued its “14th Five-Year Plan for Ecological Protection and Supervision,” marking the first governmental regulatory plan for ecological protection in the country. The plan mandates improved management of pollutants as an important part of promoting environmental quality and low-carbon development to maintain both health and safety. The new regulations also improve measures for the coordinated disposal of urban waste, domestic waste, food waste, medical waste, hazardous waste, garden waste, sewage and other types of waste.
Elsewhere in Asia, such as in Vietnam, there are ongoing projects to strengthen regulations on environmental impact, pushing for a system of assessment, inspection, permitting and enforcement. There will doubtless be increased pressure to stay compliant with environmental laws to improve water quality and waste management, as well as to be more transparent to the public.
Expectations for businesses
The scope of waste and water management has expanded beyond just the need to control hazardous materials. As more information about the environmental impact of buildings across the entire lifecycle (design, construction, and operation) becomes clear, regulations are only becoming more comprehensive.
Here are just some of the areas that businesses can expect to be regulated:
- Risk assessment,
- Groundwater impact
- Landfill contribution
- Recycling and composting
- Hazardous waste
- Reporting and transparency
Even for businesses that have set up a basic infrastructure for the general management of waste and water, staying compliant and up to date can be a challenge. For those that don’t have any infrastructure in place to deal with these needs, in-house management may prove to be a major financial burden.
Digital transformation of waste management
The extent and complexity of managing waste and water can make proper oversight difficult– either leading to increased costs or, when done improperly, leading to fines. Recently though, digitalization is injecting new vitality into the ability to manage waste transparently and with added value.
Implementing digital software systems to collect, report, and share data, makes full-lifecycle supervision of waste achievable. This new availability of data and analysis is instrumental for decision-makers and meeting ESG goals. Advanced technologies such as digital twins, IoT, AR and blockchain can help digitalize the full lifecycle governance of waste and wastewater. These emerging technologies reduce the complexity, difficulty and danger of environmental management, simultaneously optimizing governance capabilities.
In addition to regulation, digitalizing waste management works like a “matchmaker,” matching waste generation with appropriate treatment. Using big data on the production of waste and lowering information barriers can improve the efficiency of waste treatment and utilization. The availability of comprehensive data on waste and water enables businesses to connect with market players, contributing to the formation of a more comprehensive waste management system. In this sector, three trends dominate: sustainability, digitalization, and waste and they offer substantial advantages for compliance, efficiency, and the environment.
Waste and water management is critical to building sustainable and livable cities, and the weight of this responsibility is borne on the shoulders of businesses. On top of the fact that effective waste management is not only costly and challenging, it also requires a combination of support and services.
With the right partner, however, much of this pressure can be dealt with in a way that adds a net gain for businesses. For example, Aden has partnered with waste and water management experts to include them in a more comprehensive facility management offer. Together we designed a digitalized solution that provides total transparency for clients to monitor and track waste. This streamlines regulatory and reporting burdens while also offering more valuable data for decision-makers to adjust operations to have a lighter environmental impact and improve their ESG scores.