Environmental audit is a general term that can reflect various types of evaluations intended to identify environmental compliance and management system implementation gaps, along with related corrective actions. There are generally two different types of environmental audits: compliance audits and management systems audits.
The Typical Audit Process
An audit is usually conducted by a team of people who will assemble factual information prior to and during a site visit, analyse the facts and compare them with the criteria for the audit, draw conclusions and report their findings. These steps are usually conducted within some kind of formal structure (an audit protocol), such that the process can be repeated reliably at other facilities and quality can be maintained. To ensure that an audit is effective, a number of key steps must be included
Benefits of Environmental Auditing
If environmental auditing is implemented constructively there are many benefits to be derived from the process. The auditing approach described in this paper will help to:
- Safeguard the environment
- Verify compliance with local and national laws
- Indicate current or potential future problems that need to be addressed
- Assess training programs and provide data to assist in training
- Enable companies to build on good environmental performance, give credit where appropriate and highlight deficiencies
- Identify potential cost savings, such as from waste minimization
- Assist the exchange and comparison of information between different plants or subsidiary companies
- Demonstrate company commitment to environmental protection to employees, the public and the authorities.