2022 EHS Global Survey Reveals A Re-Alignment Of EHS Priorities As Environmental Compliance Trumps The Diminishing COVID Threat

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2022 EHS Global Survey Reveals A Re-Alignment Of EHS Priorities As Environmental Compliance Trumps The Diminishing COVID Threat

The latest iteration of the Verdantix EHS Global Corporate Survey has been published, enabling EHS professionals to benchmark their plans against peers, and executives at technology providers to make data-based planning decisions. The 2022 survey explores EHS functions’ long-term priorities, responsibilities and budgets; EHS’ involvement in net zero planning; and technology adoption across EHS software categories and digital solutions including AI and IoT sensors. 

This year, a major focal point of the study is to understand how global EHS spending will change in the next 12 months as executives grapple with environmental compliance pressures, soaring inflation levels, and the lingering threat of COVID-19. For the past two years, our survey data has proven pandemic management to be at the forefront of EHS executives’ minds, as many organizations have placed EHS as the primary function responsible for managing COVID-19 health policies and maintaining business as usual. Although budgets increased for many (28% of EHS decision-makers anticipated increased EHS budgets in response to the global pandemic), the disruptive nature of COVID-19 has led to highly volatile budgets in the past two years. 

2022 is the first year whereby the threat level of COVID-19 appears to diminish. The question now becomes whether heightened budgets and the elevated status of EHS functions will do the same? Positively, projected EHS spend in 2023 will be less volatile than in previous years. In aggregate, 52% of firms anticipate budget increases and one-third (34%) expect budget increases by 1 – 9%. However, due to high inflation levels, the 2023 budget represents a slight drop in spend increases compared to previous years. With inflation in the US and UK surpassing 8%, many firms are increasing EHS budgets in reaction to heightened prices. Significantly, few firms will be reducing their EHS budgets, with only 1% expecting decreases in 2023, highlighting the resilience of EHS in the face of economic uncertainty.

For the past two years, the sudden and nascent challenges posed by the pandemic have dictated EHS budget allocations, leading to inflated occupational health and PPE spend. In both the 2020 and 2021 EHS global survey, three categories - occupational health, EHS training and personal protective equipment (PPE) - emerged as priorities for spend increases. In contrast, 2023 will see a significant re-distribution of EHS budgets with chemical and waste management, environmental compliance, and EHS training, topping categories for spend hikes. Spend on environmental compliance will increase significantly, with nearly half of firms making planned budget increases. Verdantix attributes this re-shuffling of EHS priorities to mounting environmental and sustainability-aligned regulatory pressures.

To learn more about EHS market trends as well as budgets and priorities segmented across EHS categories, read the latest iteration of the Verdantix Global Corporate Survey report . Additionally, listen in to our upcoming webinar, providing a deep dive into Global Survey data. 

Industry Analyst

Chris is an Industry Analyst in the Verdantix EHS practice. His current research agenda focuses on digital mental health and wellbeing solutions. Chris joined Verdantix in 2020 and has previous experience at EY, where he specialised in robotic process automation (RPA). He holds an M.Eng. in Engineering Science from Oxford University with a concentration in machine learning and machine vision.