Most of us, at some time or another, complain about government and politics, perhaps over a drink with friends and colleagues. However, we don’t always recognize that decisions being made in the corridors of power can have a significant impact on the success or otherwise of our businesses. Across the globe, government actions, even - maybe especially - the ones we don’t hear about, can have repercussions down the line that will affect our own bottom line.

Nowhere is this more true than in the world of catalytic converter recycling. Seemingly every day there is more legislation over fuel emissions in particular, as concerns heighten over global warning - not helped, of course, by closer scrutiny within the industry following the Volkswagen “Dieselgate” scandal.

Of course, many practitioners in the business find ways to manage their business through these times of change, but often at great cost. New legislation inevitably leads to higher costs through investment in new equipment, capital enhancements and the like. The question is - could this have been avoided by doing more to prevent sometimes pointless or short-sighted laws being introduced through a lack of lobbying? A pre-emptive approach, that dilutes the impact of legislation is significantly less expensive than just sitting back and letting Governments steam-roller through unfavorable rules and restrictions that will negatively impact your profitability.

In our view, it is important that all owners and operators in the catalyst recycling industry recognize that governmental activity should not be one-sided and that we come to the table with an offensive, as well as defensive, plan of action. An example…

In 2015, French automotive recyclers adopted a pro-active approach to new statutes and were rewarded with a change to the laws that, with effect from 1st April this year, obligate maintenance and repair business to offer customers the option of using used, rather than new parts.

Interest in the recycling business is far-reaching and discussions at both the governmental levels and within the boardrooms of your competitors can have a bearing on your business. Even if you are only a small entity in the industry, your voice matters - at the very least, non-participation in the debate can allow your competitors to steal a march over you and influence political decisions that may help them more than yourself. By participating in the process, you can provide the checks and balances that will help to ensure the outcome is fair and transparent for all participants in the industry.

Finally, there is a tendency to see all government legislation as being a threat to the business - and often is when it involves added costs such as necessitating new warehousing, obtaining authorization for storage of materials, or having to pay for exporting waste materials overseas. However, forward-looking companies can look at the opportunities that may arise, and that allows them to innovate, develop real points of difference, and, perhaps, specialize in particular fields of the industry.

By being aware of possible future rules and regulations, you will give yourself the best chance of identifying the opportunities and threats that could arise, and allow you the time to react ahead of your competition.

Be involved, and help guide the industry in a beneficial direction, because non-participation leaves you open to the whims and desires of those who may not have your best interests at heart!