As we shine a light on World Environment Day this year, it is important to recognise the critical role of environmental auditors in promoting environmental sustainability
As Australia continues to place greater emphasis on sustainability and environmental protection, the role of effective environmental management systems, plans, and auditing practices becomes increasingly important. Environmental auditors, consultants, engineers, and scientists, are essential in verifying compliance with regulations and guidelines, identifying potential risks and hazards, and providing recommendations for improving environmental management.
What is an environmental audit?
An environmental audit can be either a:
- Structured and rigorous assessment of land’s suitability (from a contamination perspective) for a current or proposed use, or;
- Comprehensive evaluation of an organisation’s environmental performance, policies, and procedures to identify potential environmental risks, assess compliance with regulations and guidelines, and provide recommendations for improving environmental management.
The need for an audit is usually included as a requirement of a planning decision made by the local council, such as a Development Approval or Planning Permit. This is especially so when land contamination is the focus of the audit. However, audits can also be undertaken to meet other regulatory requirements or voluntarily to assist in business operations and management.
Environmental audit checklist
An environmental audit checklist is a tool used to assess compliance with environmental regulations and identify areas for improvement in the environmental management systems. It is a shorthand way of summarising all the elements which must be examined by an auditor when conducting an audit and provides documentary evidence that all relevant factors have been considered in the audit. It can also be used to identify potential environmental risks and recommend improvements.
Environmental auditing at Douglas Partners
Douglas Partners has two contaminated sites auditors both of which are Certified Environmental Practitioners (Contaminated Sites). Additionally, they are experienced in auditing compliance with management plans and regulatory approvals, such as local government planning decisions.
As environmental regulations vary from one state/territory to another, it is important to enlist the services of a qualified environmental auditor to help meet your compliance requirements and avoid legal penalties, fines, or project delays.