How do Whistleblowers help protect the environment?

16.2.2022 22:40
How do Whistleblowers help protect the environment?

Nowadays, due to the constantly deteriorating condition of nature, more and more is said about environmental protection. This concept is a set of ideas, measures and actions aimed at maintaining ecosystems in a state ensuring optimal living conditions. It consists in preventing or counteracting the harmful effects of human activity. Is it possible to signal violations of environmental protection? How do Whistleblowers contribute to the fight against violations of the law in this area?

Which reports are covered by the Whistleblower Protection Directive?

The provisions of Directive (EU) 2019/1937of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2019 indicate the areas covered by the regulations in which Whistleblowers may report violations. They include:

- services, products, and financial markets,

- public procurement,

- preventing money laundering and terrorist financing,

- product safety and compliance with the requirements,

- transport safety,

- food and feed safety,

- security of networks and ICT systems,

- radiological protection and nuclear safety,

- environmental protection,

- consumer protection,

- protection of privacy and personal data,

- public health,

- animal health and welfare,

- the financial interests of the European Union,

- the internal market of the European Union, including competition and state aid rules and corporate taxation.

What environmental violations can Whistleblowers report?

The provisions of the European Union Directive regulate the issue of environmental protection. In a situation where the Whistleblower has a reasonable suspicion of socially harmful activity related to breaking environmental law, he should report it immediately. Persons may signal violations against the environment insituations where hazardous waste is disposed of illegally, where hazardous waste is shipped without authorization from the country to which it is shipped, when asbestos-containing materials are disposed of in an illegal manner, chemicals are shipped illegally, or environmental money laundering.

If a person witnesses aviolation of environmental laws, he or she should report such an illegal situation immediately. He can use Whistleblower that meets all the legal requirements of the Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council (EU). Whistleblowers are required to support their reports with facts or evidence in order to avoid false notifications.

It is also worth remembering that persons who enforce the provisions are protected by law and may not be retaliated against, including:

- termination of employment,

- degradation of the position,

- refusal of promotion,

- non-payment of overtime,

- unemployment,

- suspension or forced leave,

- reduction in salary or number of hours,

- a sudden change of job responsibilities.

 Why is it so important to report environmental violations?

Nowadays, very much attention is paid to the issue of the environment, especially its protection. Over the past few decades, many climate changes have occurred that have certainly influenced people and their perceptions of the ecosystems in which we all function daily. The European Union also draws attention to the importance of environmental protection and takes steps to protect it. They consist in collecting evidence on crimes and illegal activities against the environment. The sooner such violations are reported, the greater the chance that they will be detected and dealt with efficiently.

Entities whose activities are subject to environmental regulations are required to meet the requirements referred to in the Directive on the protection of Whistleblowers. They are required to set up reporting channels and to create regulations and instructions that comply with the law. The employer should help his employees understand the new rules and legal complexities so that they do not hesitate to signal problems and violations in the field of environmental protection.