September 8, 2015
In the age of globalization, there is an increasing convergence of policymaking and legislation across different regions of the world. The result is a growing patchwork of policies which share the same objective. Referred to as policy migration, this trend is on the rise.
Today’s policy migration does not automatically lead to a harmonized policy approach. Most often, it is not the primary intention of government to harmonize its legislation with other countries. Governments aim to capture the overall spirit of the legislation while adding their own, nationally specific requirements. This process often results in large differences, such as a wider product scope subject to legal requirements or more stringent substance restrictions compared to the ‘original’ law.
Environmental legislation implemented by the European Union (EU) has inspired many governments across the globe. Many countries outside the EU have now started to enact legislation on spent batteries, waste electrical and electronic equipment, chemical substances and more.
What we’re seeing with policy migration in the environmental field is that it is adding new layers of legislative requirements for our client’s members. This is making their production processes and supply chain management more complex, ultimately impacting their bottom line.
For this reason, associations can play an important role in identifying, alerting and advocating against detrimental policy developments on a national level which are the consequence policy migration. Associations tend to have more experience in advocacy then their member companies alone. They should use this wealth of knowledge to educate members and tailor the industry’s response. Associations also offer a credible voice for members to stand behind. They can use this to point out best practices in relation to a given policy, indicating what is achievable and what is not.
Finally, as an association executive it is your responsibility to manage members’ expectations. Monitoring policy migration can bring you to the other side of the world. It is therefore important to assess whether this falls within the geographical scope of the association and whether your organization has the proper resources (both financial and human) to tackle this in an effective way.
Image courtesy of Jürgen from Sandesneben, Germany at Flickr.