The automotive industry faces some steep challenges when it comes to its environmental compliance management. These days, most automotive manufacturers have facilities all across the globe and have to juggle several sets of regulations all at once.

    GADSL-environmental-complianceA material or chemical that is perfectly acceptable to use in America could have usage limitations or even be prohibited entirely in another country.

    As a consequence, large automotive companies that operate in multiple countries find it nearly impossible to get a clear picture of their overall environmental performance on a global scale. Sure, they might know their compliance record for each region, but putting those separate KPIs together presents a huge roadblock.

    That’s why the Global Automotive Declarable Substance List (GADSL) was created.

    This list contains all of the materials that come into use in the manufacturing of vehicles that are considered potentially hazardous to health and the environment, across the entire globe.

    That’s right, if a material or component has been regulated in any way, almost anywhere in the world, the GASDL has it.

    This highly targeted list is a super tool for automotive businesses looking to move their environmental management on to the world stage.

    GADSL is a completely voluntary environmental compliance system that automotive manufacturers can use to keep their environmental management in a leading position. In addition to doing the standard regional and federal environmental reports (like TRI reporting or biannual hazardous waste), they can choose to submit a GADSL report to the Global Automotive Stakeholder Group (GASG), which covers America, Europe, Africa, Middle East, Asia, and Pacific regions.

    Essentially, GADSL is a hyper-refined system of environmental reporting that finally puts it all together for the automotive industry.

    How Does GADSL Work?          

    The GADSL list contains only those substances directly related to the automotive industry which have been regulated from at least one country. If any government environmental agency has deemed a substance to pose an environmental or health risk, the GADSL marks it as a “declarable” or “prohibited” substance, depending on the nature of the existing regulations.

    So far, the GADSL contains 139 declarable or prohibited substances, and this list will grow as more regulations are put in place.

    A declarable substance typically has a reporting threshold of 0.1% by weight, though the thresholds do vary according to how the substance has been regulated by affiliate countries. This includes any impurities that could be in your raw materials.

    The GADSL also clearly gives the source of the original regulation by Country, making it a simple task to find out how international your environmental compliance truly is.

    Is GADSL Right for You?

    Even though the GASG has only been around for 2 years, it is gaining momentum quickly as internationally recognized automotive companies are getting on board.

    And why wouldn’t they?

    GADSL offers the most straightforward and handy approach to environmental reporting for a specific industry.

    Do you want to:

    • Globalize your chemical inventory management?
    • Demonstrate your value to international stakeholders?
    • Tap into a PR goldmine?
    • Protect yourself from using prohibited substances?

    If you answered yes to those points (and I know you did), GADSL could be exactly what you are looking for.

    Since GADSL reporting is strictly voluntary, your participation is an example of above and beyond environmental stewardship. It’s about full disclosure and transparency rather than punishment and fines.

    And because GADSL is designed to overlap with other mandatory environmental reporting requirements, just by doing your own regional reporting you will have already accomplished some of the work used by GADSL.

    Consider this: if your business already operates on the international stage, why wouldn’t you start managing your environmental impact on a global scale too?

    On your own this would be a difficult task, but using the GADSL system, you could begin communicating across your entire company using the same language.

    And that is something that sounds appealing, no matter what language you say it in.

    Check out the GADSL website, where you can access your free copy of the GADSL substance list and guidelines.

    While you're thinking automotive compliance, why not check out the link below for a free guide on Automotive MACT/NESHAP compliance reporting?

    (Image credit: dankulpinski)

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    This Blog was Co-Authored By:


    Alex Chamberlain
    Post by Alex Chamberlain
    June 14, 2012
    Alex Chamberlain is a writer for ERA Environmental Management Solutions.