Environmental Technologies Industries
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Argentina Environmental Export Market Plan
Chapter 6-Environmental Services

Since the environmental regulatory structure in Argentina is still very much under development, companies are not experiencing significant pressure to undertake environmental projects. Therefore, the demand for environmental consulting services is still in its infancy. However, all indications suggest that the demand for environmental services, in particular for environmental impact studies and environmental management systems, is on the rise.
To help promote their services, Argentine environmental companies formed the Chamber for Environmental Businesses. Universities and some nongovernmental organizations are also offering consulting services and laboratory analysis.

Environmental Impact Assessment

At both the national (Law 24,051) and provincial (e.g., Buenos Aires, Mendoza, Córdoba, and Chubut) levels, environmental impact studies are required for all new public and private investments. The agency that approves the environmental impact assessments (EIAs) varies from province to province, but it is typically the agency within the province with environmental responsibilities. Environmental permits are granted based on the approval of the EIA. For energy, mining, petrochemical, and highway projects, additional requirements such as the development and fulfillment of an environmental management and monitoring plan are required.
In general, the energy sector has more stringent requirements than other industrial sectors. Rules issued by the Secretariat of Energy and the National Electricity Regulatory Bureau (ENRE) require power generation facilities and oil, gas, and petrochemical facilities to perform periodic environmental impact studies.
The Province of Buenos Aires has taken this requirement a step further and mandates that all industries in the province undertake an EIA (Laws No. 11,459 and 11,720). The study must be done by an independent consultant or a company that is registered with the Secretariat of Environmental Policy of the province. With an approved EIA, companies receive a Certificate of Environmental Aptitude, which must be renewed every two years. The renewal process requires an environmental audit. Since this requirement went into effect in 1995, more than 2,000 EIAs have been done.

Members of the Chamber for Environmental Businesses
Consulting Companies: Ambiental S.A., Compagnucci Diaz S., R.L., Emasa S.A., Fluor Daniel GTI/LIHUE Ingeniera S.A., Gea S.R.L., Geomarine S.A., JMB Asociados S.A., Laqui S.R.L., Natural Survey Consulting S.A., Reca Consultores S.R.L., Secoar S.A., Soluciones Ambientales S.A., Tetra Tech Argentina S.A., and Thibaud & Lewis
Companies Offering Treatment Services: Eco Control S.A., Flow Technologies S.R.L., Fluor Daniel GTI/LIHUE Ingenieria S.A., Fluxa Sima S.A., JMB Asociados S.A., Serveco, S.A., Solfima S.A., Tekgreen S.A.
Laboratories: Laboratorio Induser SH, Laqui S.R.L.

However, this number represents only about 10 percent of the industries located in the province. With the proliferation of consultants offering EIAs, the price for preparing them has decreased to about $5,000-$8,000 for small facilities and $10,000+ for larger facilities.
In June 1997, the Trade and Investment Bank (BICE) established a line of credit to help finance the cost of conducting environmental impact studies that are undertaken by Argentine companies. Fifty-two commercial banks are authorized to make loans based on this credit line. The minimum amount for these loans is $10,000 and the maximum is $75,000, although BICE will consider other amounts. The BICE is the intermediary institution for international credit from the Inter-American Development Bank and the U.S. Export-Import Bank. As of January 1, 1998, all projects undertaken with BICE funds are subject to an environmental impact assessment requirement.
Some of the best prospects for U.S. firms include new projects being undertaken by the subsidiary of a U.S.-based multinational company, projects being developed with funding from multilateral development banks, and companies exporting to Mercosur countries. Public agencies that must perform environmental impact assessments maintain their own registry of consultants These include: the National Agency for Hydraulic Works and Sanitation, ENRE, and the Secretariat of Natural Resources and Sustainable Development. Firms interested in doing work for these agencies must get on the registry.

ISO 14000 and Environmental Management Systems

ISO 14000 is a series of standards being developed by the International Standardization Organization (ISO) to provide industry with a structure for managing environmental impacts. ISO 14001, the Environmental Management System specification, is a generic management system based on industry’s experience. It is the only standard in the series that is intended to be used for third-party certification. ISO 14001 was adopted in 1996.
The response to certification for environmental management systems, particularly ISO 14001, has been somewhat mixed in Argentina. Since there are no incentives in place to become certified, many Argentine companies do not feel it is worthwhile. However, this viewpoint is changing in large part due to the interest of the Argentine Business Council for Sustainable Development, which was established by a group of the largest companies in Argentina (see box on page xx). Some of its members have been the first in Argentina to become ISO 14001 certified. They assert that certification gives them positive pubic recognition and an opportunity to demonstrate responsible environmental management to the outside world. Mercosur, of which Argentina is a member, is also considering the competitive advantages of certification.
As part of a private sector initiative in Campana-Zárate, a group of industrialist is adopting a voluntary program called Environmental Care in which the implementation of ISO 14001 is integral. This group has proposed that companies participating in the project that are ISO 14001 certified not be subject to the full spectrum of environmental regulations currently in effect. A goal of this group is to negotiate the incorporation of a single regulatory compliance inspection into the annual ISO 14001 certification assessment. A broad adoption of this type of scheme would create a strong incentive for environmental management systems, according to the International Environmental Reporter.
As of October 1997, there were 11 ISO 14000 certified companies in Argentina. Of these, none are small or medium-sized enterprises (such companies are often just struggling to survive financially, making it difficult to comply with environmental standards much less become certified). Many, however, are considering the implementation of ISO 9000 to reduce costs, optimize their systems, and gain pubic recognition for the quality of their product.

Argentine Business Council for Sustainable Development

The Argentine Business Council for Sustainable Development (CEADS) was founded in 1992 by the presidents of 16 companies. Its principal objective is to form a working group of responsible companies to influence, interpret, communicate, and implement the principles of sustainable development at both the public and private levels. Company self-regulation — through BS 7750 and ISO 14001 — is one of the main tenets of the group.

Member companies include: Aguas Argentinas, Alpargatas, Arcor, Astra, Bagley S.A., Banco de Crédito Argentino, Banco de Galicia, Bunge & Born, Cartellone Construction, Citicorp Equity Investments, Coca Cola, Dow Chemical Argentina, Edenor, EG3, El Cronista, Ford Argentina, IBM Argentina, Indupa, Ipako, Johnson & Johnson, Roemmers Laboratories, Loma Negra, Mercedes Benz Argentina, Nobleza Piccardo, Perez Companc, Pluspetrol S.A., Siemens S.A., Sociedad Commercial del Plata, Socma, Techint, Telecom Argentina, Telefónica Argentina, Tia, Transportadora de Gas del Sur, Vasa, and YPF S.A.

To help exporters overall, the government is launching a program designed to assist companies with implementing total quality management, environmental management initiatives, and other undertakings to improve their competitiveness in the global market. This $27 million program, SER.EXPORTADOR, is managed by the Secretariat of Industry, Trade, and Mining of the Ministry of Economy and receives support from the World Bank. The program offers companies with annual revenues of under $30 million grants for consulting services and marketing to export abroad. Companies can receive up to 50 percent of all eligible costs with a maximum of $75,000 per project and $125,000 per company. Consultants can provide audit services to these companies, make recommendations, and implement environmental management systems. Information about this program can be obtained from the office at Tel: (54 1) 315-2025; Fax: (54 1) 315-9022.
Companies providing audits and implementation support for environmental management must be certified with the Argentine Accreditation Organization (OAA), the agency responsible for certifying laboratories and auditors. According to this agency, the number of certified organizations can only meet about 50 percent of the demand for this type of services. Currently, European companies are the strongest in this area, but U.S. companies could become competitive in this market.

Laboratory and Monitoring Services

There are approximately 40 reputable laboratories that offer environmental services in addition to a number of universities that offer similar services, often at a lower cost. The kinds of services that are most in demand include: water quality analysis, and wastewater, soil, and waste characterization studies. While these laboratories are currently meeting demand, suppliers of laboratory equipment have noted an increase in sales, which indicates that the demand for monitoring and analysis is on the rise.

Other Environmental Services

In addition to consulting services for EIAs and environmental management systems, companies are looking for professional consulting services in the following areas:
Environmental audits: These audits focus on identifying compliance issues with local environmental regulations to obtain the environmental permit, comply with the Registry of Hazardous Waste Generators, and receive authorizations for the treatment of special wastes. These audits cover legal, administrative, and technical aspects.
Pollution prevention audits: While to date there has been little focus on pollution prevention in Argentina, with the advent of ISO 14001 companies are beginning to look at ways to increase their output and save money associated with the treatment of wastes.
Management and treatment of wastes: With the hazardous waste regulations in effect, there is an increased focus on innovative techniques for handling problematic wastes as well as hazardous waste management options.
Environmental training: Training in a range of environmental topics at both the national and provincial levels is a critical need and will likely be funded through the institutional strengthening programs of multilateral development banks.

Market Summary and Best Prospects

The 1998 market estimate for environmental services in Argentina is $65 million. While much of this demand will be met by local firms, a number of U.S. companies are very active in the Argentine market. The most successful companies are strong in waste management and treatment due to their know-how and experiences in the United States and in waste reduction audits, hazardous waste management, and environmental management. Demand for U.S. consulting firms and specialists in environmental matters is increasing, particularly through the water basin cleanup programs supported by multilateral development banks.
The current trend is for Argentine and U.S. consulting firms to form joint partnerships because local presence can give U.S. firms an edge over other firms by providing them with insight in the current market, firsthand knowledge of opportunities, and access to up-to-date market prices.

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