Arturo Rodríguez
Principal Consultant and Managing Director
Ramboll
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View from the Top

Social Compliance Across the Value Chain

Wed, 01/22/2020 - 15:08

Q: How does Ramboll guide its clients to regulatory compliance in the current market?

A: Problems that the Mexican market has recently witnessed with pipeline permitting have happened because the consideration of environmental and social elements has come too late in the process. To be successful, social and environmental planning needs to be done at a very early project planning stage. These problems were exacerbated by the use of international consultants in the early planning process who did not have a solid grasp on the local social circumstances within Mexico. This is not to say methodology was flawed, but that local sensibility was missing. Ramboll advises its clients to put social and environmental considerations at the center of their planning. This can be done by putting instruments in place to assess potential concerns, maintain grievance mechanisms, and sustain close communication with the local community.

Q: How do the regulatory standards of Mexico’s institutions, like ASEA, compare to those of other countries?

A: Environmental regulations in Mexico are generally very strong. Ramboll works throughout Latin America, and Mexico’s health, safety and environmental regulations are more robust than in most other countries, with the exception of Brazil. But there is still a lack of clarity in some departments, including the construction of gas stations. Prior to the Energy Reform, the jurisdiction of gas station construction fell to each state but it is now overseen at the federal level. While the sophistication and enforcement of regulations tends to be higher at the federal level, problems had previously occurred because the resources of state authorities to properly enforce legislation were often lacking. ASEA has tended to follow a voluntary self-regulation approach to the application of law, supported by third parties. This has the benefit of putting less pressure on ASEA.