For a Certified environmental Strategist (CeS), the first step in developing and executing an environmental Management Strategy (eMS) is to find out, “Who you are doing business with?”
A business may do nothing wrong at all, but if a vendor/s the business hires causes for there to be an environmental liability, the business can still be held responsible.
A few years ago, Walmart and Home Depot each paid multi-million-dollar fines to the EPA for storm water runoff from their construction sites caused by contractors they hired. Today, Walmart and Home Depot require contractors doing work for them to evidence environmental financial assurance by having Contractors Pollution liability (CPL) insurance in place in order to perform their services.
Even if you have an “environmental indemnification” in your contracts, without environmental financial assurance in place to back stop potential environmental liabilities, the contract may not be worth the paper it’s written on.
The links below will give you examples of businesses that have experienced environmental liabilities caused by vendors they hired. These are reminders why step #1 in developing an eMS if to find out, “Who you are doing business with?”
- This link discusses how the Walters Art Museum had to close for three weeks after employees were exposed to vapors from a sealant used on their roof: https://email@example.com&tpl=news_detail3.tpl&ad_scale=1&rid=406053820&adp=D&hkg=VK2DS7z0FZ
- This link reviews how 6 workers died from a nitrogen leak at a chicken processing plant. Several vendors are named in the lawsuit: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/1-million-fines-recommended-nitrogen-leak-killed-6-georgia-poultry-n1274847
- Tyson Foods claims one of the largest fish kills in Alabama history was the result of an outside contractor that installed temporary piping that failed sending partially treated wastewater into the river: https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2021/08/13/626864.htm
- The City of Fresno is suing a building contractor and engineering firm for doing faulty work on their surface water treatment facility that caused third party bodily injuries from improper ozone monitors being installed. The suit goes on to say that unsuitable and substandard parts were installed on the project: https://www.fresnobee.com/news/local/article256142187.html