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Environmental auditing is an evaluation technique often used in the private sector to increase compliance with environmental laws, identify operational liabilities, reduce costs, and review environmental management systems.

US EPA defined and environmental audit as “a systematic, documented, periodic and objective review by a regulated entity of facility operations and practices related to meeting environmental requirements”.


Benefits of Environmental Auditing

Environmental auditing I snow a common practice. Improved compliance with environmental laws is cited at the most important benefit of environmental audits. Similarly, environmental audits allow companies to identify their environmental progress and show steps made toward a cleaner environment that exceed what is required by law, and thus to promote a company’s image as good environmental actor.

The audit process requires communication and interaction within the organization on environmental issues. These interactions increase workers’ education level on environmental priorities both as required by law and as set by the company itself. Finally, environmental auditing can lead to significant cost savings within an organization, which identify the liability problems that can be addresses before an accident occurs or a claim is filed. The process of bringing a company into compliance reduces potential costs of non-compliance. Often, changes in process operation can be developed that avoid producing emissions at all, thus reducing the need for expensive pollution control equipment.


What is Successful Environmental Audit?

Successful environmental auditing is the result of two factors: a strong environmental management program and an effective audit design.


Structure of Successful Environmental Audit

The in an environmental audit can be broken down into three stages.

  • The first stage is the design stage: includes the decision to conduct an audit, the development of audit protocols and standards, and the identification of operations to be audited.
  • The second stage: is the performance of the environmental audit which includes a pre-audit meeting, interviews, and site visits. It can also include the measurement of environmental data.
  • The third stage: is the evaluation and reporting which the preliminary results are developed and evaluated. Conclusion may be reported formally or informally. The audit team ends its work with the preparation of a final report that includes an action plan to address the findings of the audit.
  • An implementation plan is the most important part of the audit; it shall include specific measures and actions to correct non-compliances and a time schedule. So, successful audits require an implementation or action plan to address each of the audit’s findings.