Occupation to profession: The need, drivers and course of action for regulating the South African Environmental Control Officer industry
World Scientific Publishing Europe
School of Science
An unregulated Environmental Control Officer (ECO) industry is currently validating compliance to sustainability commitments made during the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process of projects across South Africa. This paper follows an action research routine and explores the need and drivers for regulating professionalism of this industry. A self-administered survey questionnaire and interviews were used to generate empirical data from environmental practitioners. A total of 171 survey questionnaires were completed, and four interviews were conducted with key stakeholders. The data gathered were analysed and categorised in relation to theoretical perspectives on drivers for regulating verification professions within the context of attributes (or criteria) of a profession. To achieve the transition from an occupation to a profession, a six-step process is laid out tailored to meet the needs of the industry. This paper provides international environmental practitioners with insight to the need for regulating environmental verification industries such as ECOs.