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Why Should I Carry Out Environmental Audits?

Read about reasons how environmental site assessments can benefit you.

An environmental site assessment is a systematic review of your policies, procedures and practices. There are many different types of audits that are carried out in different ways, and most businesses will experience audits of some type, be it financial, health and safety or customer audits. But, is there benefit in carrying out environmental audits? This blog will discuss reasons how environmental site assessments can benefit you.

Understand your current baseline

There are continuing changes to environmental legislation and best practice, and it can often be difficult to figure out where to start implementing changes and making improvements. An audit of your current environmental performance can help you to determine areas that require further attention. It is often easy to overlook some areas when you are auditing or looking at other areas of your business or site, such as health and safety. By focusing on environmental issues, you can begin to build a picture of how the site is performing and spend the time determining what the site does, or doesn’t do in order to manage environmental risks. This can then be used to determine where improvements need to be implemented and build an action plan for achieving this.

Continual improvement

Once you understand the current position of a site or business, improvements can be made. This may include addressing non-conformities identified through the initial audit or opportunities to implement good practice measures. Regular environmental site assessments will also allow you to track whether sites are improving or whether some standards are being neglected and the sites environmental performance is getting poorer. When new company standards are introduced, either as a part of continual improvement or because of changes to legislation or guidance, regular auditing will check whether they have been implemented on the site and if they work. This gives an early indication of any issues and changes that need to be made so the business continually improves its environmental performance.

Benchmark multiple sites

If you have multiple sites, regular environmental site assessments will allow you to determine those sites that are performing well and those that may need a bit more guidance or support. You will also be able to learn some good practice measures that can be implemented across other sites. Sometimes, a league table can become a source of competition between sites, encouraging continual improvement in environmental performance.

A requirement of ISO 14001

If you have an Environmental Management System certified to ISO 14001, there is a requirement to regularly audit to ensure you follow your own policies and procedures, that they conform to the international standard and that everything is effectively implemented and maintained. In addition, you should be checking compliance against your own obligations such as legislation and codes of practice.

Most businesses audit environmental performance in some capacity, usually part of health and safety audits. However, there are benefits to focusing solely on environmental issues. This will give you a much clearer idea of your environmental performance and any areas that need to be addressed to ensure compliance and continual improvement. Regular environmental site assessments also make sure that sites do not neglect environmental issues and continue to take actions to improve.

You can find out more about environmental site assessments with Green Spark by following this link.