Whether your organisation is a micro SME or a large corporation, it has some impacts - positive and negative - on the environment. To find out what these are and before committing resources to an environmental action programme, you need to ensure that your efforts will benefit both the enviroment and your business. An initial environmental audit (or initial review) will enable you to prioritise your actions. Subsequently, regular audits will monitor performance over time:
Many organisations adopt an environmental policy and put into place various environmental improvement measures, sometimes organised into an environmental management system (EMS).
Maintaining enthusiasm and improving results over time require monitoring, both of the activities and the management system: regular environmental management audits must be scheduled.
If the EMS is to be certified to a recognised standard (for instance, ISO 14001 or EMAS), auditing is mandatory.
A risk audit is a systematic review of activities, systems, products, services and premises to ascertain where potential environmental risks exist. Legislative compliance and pollution prevention are given particular attention; risks associated with suppliers and customers are also important.
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These audits focus on specific activities - such as production or suppliers' green credentials - or on a particular area of a concern (water, wastes, energy, emissions ...) to identify all relevant issues - positive and negative - for action.
Activity audits can be carried out on an ad-hoc basis or according to a recurrent schedule. They can also be used to benchmark the organisation's performance against known standards or best practices.
Applying for an Environmental Permit involves an audit against Best Available Techniques (BAT) – a mixture of site-specific, sector-specific and generic best practice standards.
Such audits cover a range of environmental techniques as well as hard and soft control systems while establishing the baseline from which regulators will measure your site’s improvement.
Find out more about Environmental Permits . . .