Environmental Audit

An Environmental Audit is an instrument to assess the environmental status or performance of an existing project or facility. The focus can be on environmental compliance, performance, or risk, and can include the range of relevant environmental areas (air, water, waste, etc.). These audits can assist in: meeting legal and other contractual requirements, demonstrating compliance with internal policies and commitments, demonstrating environmentally sustainability, understanding potential environmental risks and helping to ensure they are managed appropriately, and assessing the adequacy of the existing environmental management systems (e.g., gap analysis). The auditing process typically includes the collection and review of relevant information, site visit and preparation of a report which summarizes the present status/performance and presents an action plan to address potential issues, deficiencies or related topics. An environmental audit should be performed in a systematic and documented manner to provide independent (or non-biased) results and recommended corrective actions (e.g., action plan). Environmental audits can be used to enhance sustainability by not only helping comply and manage risk in an efficient manner but also by assessing opportunities to improve environmental performance (e.g., reduce emissions, discharges and waste generation; reduce energy and material consumption; improve environmental and social benefits to local communities, etc.). An environmental audit can be expanded to include social, labor and health and safety aspects.