The Environmental Compliance Certificate or ECC refers to the document issued by the DENR-EMB that allows a proposed project to proceed to the next stage of project planning, which is the acquisition of approvals from other government agencies and LGUs, after which the project can start implementation. The ECC is typically mistaken to mean Environmental Clearance Certificate because it provides authorization for a project to proceed. However, the correct term, Compliance, refers to the project being compliant with the given requirements.
To secure an ECC the project proponent must comply with the requirements of the Philippine Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) System and show that the proposed project will not cause a significant negative impact on the environment through its EIA. The ECC also certifies that the proponent is committed to implement an approved Environment Management Plan.
At its most basic, the procedure for securing an ECC is as follows:
- The proponent scopes the EIA they must conduct by consulting with the stakeholders of a project, those who will be affected by it, including the public in the vicinity of the project and DENR experts who will determine the technical aspects of the EIA to be conducted.
- The proponent conducts the EIA study based on the initial scoping, which examines the impacts a project will have on the environment as well as the current state of the environment at the project site.
- An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is prepared, which is the report based on the findings of the EIA study. This also includes plans to mitigate the impacts of the project.
- For large or critical projects, the EIS is reviewed by the DENR-EMB and changes or additional information may be requested to improve it. This step is repeated until the EIS meets the DENR-EMBs standards. It can take long if the quality of the EIS prepared is not high, or if the thoroughness of the EIA is insufficient.
- The final EIS is submitted to the DENR-EMB for approval. If the project is eligible, it will be awarded an ECC
The complexity and thoroughness of the EIA required is based on the capacity of the project. The relevant capacity of a project varies per project type. For example, power plants are classified by their generation capacity, livestock projects by their holding capacity of animal units, and roads are classified by their length.
If a project’s capacity rather low, or the project will not have significant impact on the environment regardless of size, a project may be eligible to secure an Certificate of Non-Coverage (CNC). If the project is small, but still requires an ECC, an expedited version of an EIA called an Initial Environmental Examination (IEE) checklist may be required instead. Otherwise, all projects must secure an ECC. (To check if you are required to secure an ECC or a Certificate of Non-Coverage (CNC), you can visit our EEC or CCNC Screening Page.)
Typically, proponents will contract the support of a DENR-EMB Registered Preparer to help them conduct their EIA study. Preparers are varied experts in the fields relevant to conducting an EIA. The four modules of an EIA (Land, Air, Water, People) will require qualified geologists, biologists, hydrologists, sociologists, etc. to examine their impacts. Technical specialists will also be employed to collect the data in the field, and project managers will oversee and unify these efforts.
Apercu Consultants, Inc. is an award-winning, DENR EMB registered provider of full-service environmental consulting. We have provided support for various clients in securing their ECCs over 17 years of operation.
From screening your project, to conducting environmental impact assessment, to preparing the required documents, and liaising with the DENR-EMB, we handle the entire application process so that you can stay focused on your core business.