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The Whistleblower’s role in Protecting the Environment

The whistleblower - whistleblowing and risk management

The implementation of environmental regulations has become crucial in a time when environmental concerns are on the rise. Numerous laws and regulations have been put in place by governments and organisations all over the world to protect the fragile ecosystems of the earth. The penalties for breaking these laws can be severe for businesses; in a recent sewage discharges incident, water firms may face harsh fines of up to £800 million. The staff of the water company would have had plenty of opportunity to report wrongdoing to the Environment Agency and Ofwat, the proper regulatory bodies in England and Wales, as these legal transgressions had been occurring since at least 2020. Numerous rules have been put in place by governments and organisations all over the world to protect the planet’s delicate ecosystems. The possibility for wrongdoing and unethical practice, however, makes it difficult to enforce strict compliance to these laws. This article explores the value of whistleblowing systems in raising adherence to environmental regulations.

How the Whistleblower can enforce environmental law compliance:

Whistleblowers role in the environment - whistleblowing and risk management

By disclosing any improper behaviour, such as breaking waste management regulations, like in this case, the whistleblower can contribute to the preservation of natural resources, the reduction of pollution, and the protection of ecosystems. Deliberate violations, in which businesses raise prices even when they are not abiding by the regulations, can harm the named businesses and increase the likelihood that they may go out of business due to reputational damage. A whistleblower could have alerted the right authorities about flagrant law-breaking to save money or obtain a competitive edge in time before it became a lawsuit. While the intentions of management might be good, trying to keep a company compliant without knowing what is happening at the lower levels of management can be hard.  By established reporting procedures, such as reporting to managers, supervisors, dedicated ethics hotlines, or compliance agencies, management can stay ahead of scandals. A whistleblowing system, online or via an app, like Aranea, can help organise this internal reporting system that helps solve concerns faster and avoid any penalties. Aranea helps whistleblowers voice their concerns while at the same time helps the organisation keep the reporting procedure confidential and maintain their privacy while the investigation is ongoing.

Protection of the Whistleblower:

Another advantage of using a third-party software, like Aranea, is that they can serve as middlemen, safeguarding the whistleblower’s identity and providing pertinent data to the firm for an investigation. Protection for the whistleblower is important as they can easily find themselves out of work and it is not always easy to get back into the job market. A third party app can be used independently by the whistleblower, or if the company chooses to implement the system, confidentiality agreements that explicitly prohibit the disclosure of the whistleblower’s identity should be signed by all stakeholders. A supportive environment where employees are encouraged to protect the identity of the whistleblower is also important. A supportive environment means that scandals that hit Volkswagen when they manipulated emissions will not happen in other companies.

The Whistleblowers’ role in upholding ethical behaviour.

 By shedding light on unethical behaviour, misconduct is less likely to occur, therefore promoting a culture of integrity and honesty. In this case, the reporting helped the environment and the community as a whole, and a whistleblower would have helped save the companies hundreds of millions, while keeping the environment safe. Sewage is appearing in bodies of water all across the UK, and therefore it is important that the role of the whistleblower in this instance be clear; By speaking out about these situations, you can encourage others to do the same when they see future instances of harmful or unethical behaviour. 

Conclusion:

The significance of whistleblowing as a strong precaution cannot be emphasised since environmental concerns are of utmost importance and the delicate balance of our planet’s ecosystems is increasingly under danger. Whistleblowing is a moral compass in a future where the environment’s health comes first. Environmental laws and regulations serve to ensure that no harm is done. Companies like Thames water charge higher for abiding by those laws and when they are broken,  a whistleblower should have come foreword and alerted the right supervisor. Ripple effects of unreported instances are usually unconceivable and the chain of events triggered are hard to overcome and or ignore. Whistleblowing motivates governments, businesses, and people to make deliberate decisions that protect our ecosystems for present and future generations by holding those who harm the environment accountable. The whistleblower role therefore is vital in encouraging the upholding of laws that protect the environment and fosters an atmosphere of openness and moral conduct.