There are many exciting upcoming events in Brazil: the World Cup next year, the Olympics in 2016, and although certainly not as well known, some very interesting developments in information management are taking place at the Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renováveis (“IBAMA”), Brazil’s equivalent of the EPA.
IBAMA maintains Brazil’s Federal Technical Registry of Potentially Polluting or Natural Resource Consuming Activities, the Cadastro Técnico Federal de Atividades Potencialmente Poluidoras e Utilizadoras de Recursos Naturais (“CTF”). Federal Law n. 10.165/00. With certain limited exceptions, participation in the Registry is mandatory for companies in Brazil that (1) are involved in “potentially polluting” activities, including (but not limited to) extraction, production, transportation or sale of products that are potentially hazardous to the environment; (2) use products or byproducts of flora and fauna; or (3) are required to obtain an environmental license from IBAMA or a state or local government. IBAMA Normative Instruction No. 6, (March 15, 2013). Companies must submit basic identifying and operational information as well as annual reports related to their “potentially polluting” activities. Failure to register or submit required reports may result in fines of up to R$100,000 (approximately US$40,000 at the current exchange rate). Decree No. 6.514 (July 22, 2008).
In 2010, then-President Lula signed into law the Brazilian National Policy on Waste Management, Federal Law n. 12,305/2010. Aimed in large part at establishing corporate responsibility and government oversight for product lifecycles and waste management, the 2010 Waste Management law provided, among other things, for the creation of the National Registry of Hazardous Waste Operators, Cadastro Nacional de Operadores de Resíduos Perigosos (“CNORP”). Instead of establishing a completely separate registry, Brazil took a streamlined approach, linking CNORP to CTF. IBAMA Normative Instruction No. 1, (January 30, 2013).
Hazardous waste generators and handlers are required to comply with CNORP reporting requirements. Because the entities required to report under CNORP are generally entities that are already required to register with CTF, CNORP will simply add an extra step to the registration or re-registration process. The CTF re-registration process opened in July of this year and will continue into February of 2014, with various classes of registrants subject to different deadlines over this timeframe. This is the first time that CNORP will be incorporated into the CTF re-registration process.
What’s more interesting about the development of CNORP is that it reflects an apparent trend within IBAMA of compiling environmental information into an ever-expanding centralized electronic database. In fact, just two weeks ago (August 15, 2013), the public comment period closed on a proposed regulation that would utilize the CTF in a revamped system of oversight of transportation of hazardous materials. The proposal calls for transporters of hazardous materials to register through CTF before seeking a 2-year permit through the National System of Transport of Hazardous Materials, Sistema Nacional de Transporte de Produtos Perigosos (“SNTPP”); in addition, an electronic submission will be required for each shipment, to include information such as the material(s) being transported, the quantity of material, and the transportation route. See SNTPP Proposal and Comment Materials at http://www.ibama.gov.br/servicos/consulta-publica (accessed August 28, 2013).
On the one hand, centralized electronic data collection can benefit companies by streamlining the data submission process and reducing paperwork. On the other, all of this information in one place can also be a powerful enforcement tool. Whether IBAMA’s expanding data and information submission requirements will also lead to increased regulation of “potentially polluting” entities beyond greater reporting requirements remains to be seen. But without a doubt, the expansion of IBAMA’s CTF database, while perhaps not as exciting as a Brazil-versus-Italy soccer match, is certainly something for corporations with operations in Brazil to keep an eye on.