Interview with Dr. Thomas Gutwinski on www.umwelthauptstadt.de

What is the core business of Gutwinski Management GmbH?

We support our clients in developing a legal compliance management system in, energy law and EHS law in order to enable them to

  • meet the requirements of ISO 14001, EMAS, ISO 50001, OHSAS 18001 in a systematic but easy way and
  • verifiably implement the supervisor’s legal responsibilities in accordance with §§ 9 and 130 Administrative Offences Act (Ordnungswidrigkeitengesetz – OwiG) and
  • allay liability for the supervisor.

 

What are the topics you specialized on in your segment?
The reduction of liability through the use of the gutwin legal compliance management system software in the fields of energy and EHS law in combination with didactically compiled legal content by our legal experts. The gutwin software is being successfully used for over 20 years now, and since 12 years it is web-based.

Current gutwin software users benefit from a development input of many man-years as well as more than 20 years of feedback by users which meant that the software was refined together with its users.

 

You organized a workshop on legal compliance in the field of energy and EHS law in Hamburg on November 27th, 2014. Who was the event primarily aimed at and what was the programme?

Our workshop “Ensuring legal compliance in practice – simply” was aimed at executives, managers, plant managers, lawyers, and commissioned individuals in the areas of energy and EHS.
The workshop takes half a day. It is composed of a presentation on the topic “The statutory supervisory and control duties of commissioned individuals regarding compliance with the law” by Dr. Thomas Gutwinski and Prof. Dr. Hans-Jürgen Müggenborg.
Additionally, the five steps to legal compliance and reduction of liability will be illustrated. Afterwards, last year’s major legal changes in energy and EHS law will be explained and users of the gutwin software will report on their practical experiences. The event will end with networking, food and drinks.

 

Prof. Dr. Hans-Jürgen Müggenborg – a specialist in environmental law, environmental criminal law, and the law of industrial parks – will explain the statutory supervisory and control duties in energy and EHS law. Which persons/positions have to address these topics and with which intensity?

Primarily affected are executives, managers, plant managers, and commissioned individuals in the areas of energy and EHS.
It is a regulatory offence (see §§ 9, 130 Administrative Offences Act (Ordnungswidrigkeitengesetz – OwiG)) if executives, managers, the management board, managers, or plant managers neglect supervisory measures regarding legal compliance in their areas of competence and if a violation of energy and EHS laws could have been prevented or made significantly more difficult as a result of proper supervision.

 

Please briefly explain your 5 steps to legal compliance and liability reduction.

  1. gutwin index of legal provisions
    Determine which laws and regulations are of relevance to the company and need to be complied with.
  2. gutwin legal obligations
    Determine, which statutory duties are set forth in the laws and regulations.
  3. gutwin delegation of legal obligations
    Determine who is responsible for which legal obligations regarding which plants and processes.
  4. gutwin monitoring legal obligations
    Monitor compliance with the legal obligations by superiors in their field of competence.
  5. gutwin legislative amendment service
    Systematically identify and implement legislative amendments relevant for the company.

 

What legal changes were there last year in environmental and energy law?

Among others, the following legal changes regarding environmental and energy law were announced:
The revision of the German Renewable Energy Act (EEG) was necessary in order to promote the development of renewable energies (goal: 40-45% in 2025 and 55-60% in 2035 of total energy produced). The changes mainly concern the financial support of new plants. Direct marketing is planned to be the general rule compared to the feed-in tariff. The latter is only intended for small plants. Provisions regarding the exemptions from the EEG apportionment were also revised.
With the 7th amendment of the German Packaging Regulation, fillers and distributors of packaging may not take back packaging they placed on the market and recycle it at their own expense. Companies can continue to run their own return system for packaging materials at specific (household equivalent)_ collection points that are independent from the dual system (waste disposal system).
The revision of the Regulation (EU) on fluorinated greenhouse gases concerns inter alia the mandatory leak checking tests of operators of air conditioning and refrigeration applications, heat pumps and other appliances and equipment containing partly fluorinated hydrocarbons (HFC). These apply to the CO2 equivalent and not anymore to the absolute quantity in kilogram. The transitional provisions apply till January 1st, 2017. New prohibitions concerning the marketing and use will apply from January 1st, 2018, and January 1st, 2020, respectively.

 

In your workshop, users of the gutwin software will report on their practical experiences regarding the implementation of the legal compliance management system. Would you mind letting us know what feedback you have received from your clients?

Our users or clients will be pleased to confirm that the gutwin software is well suited for the implementation of a management system and for the reduction of liability.
Mr. Hondele from. MAN Truck & Bus AG, for example, said:
“With the implementation of the gutwin legal compliance management

  • we have an easy and fast overview of our legal compliance
  • we have a structured management of our authorization notices
  • the internal responsibilities are clearly defined and
  • we are always up to the latest standards thanks to the gutwin legislative amendment service, and as a result audit-proof.”

 

What are the biggest challenges your business sector has to face currently?

One big challenge is the changed demands companies have regarding globally comparable quality as part of legal management.

 

Can you already give a first overview of possible legal amendments that might be enacted in the next couple of years?

An imminent legal amendment could inter alia apply to the Regulation on facilities handling substances hazardous to water (AwSV). It will probably be promulgated by mid-2015. The goal is to create uniform federal regulations and to abolish the national laws in order to establish a standardized plant law. This amendment will apply to all companies that hitherto had to comply with the requirements of the national laws (VAwS).
To be able to make predictions in the field of environmental and energy law, it is important to follow the climate and energy politics of the European Commission.
In the coming years we expect further eco-design requirements for products. The eco-design directives are an essential instrument in order to achieve the European energy saving targets through energy-efficient products. They establish mandatory minimum requirements for electric power consumption of the products and therefore their efficiency.
Some BAT leaflets are currently being reviewed that will lead to BAT conclusions. These will specify the best available technologies regarding reduction of emissions in the industrial facilities of a sector.