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Environmental Auditing

( Article Type: Explanation )

Environmental auditing is a process used mainly in commerce and industry to measure how well environmental policies, programmes and plans are being implemented in practice. The process uses checklists and questionnaires (sometimes called ‘audit protocols’) to understand how successfully environmental measures are being implemented and tries to help to improve systems by constructive criticism. The process depends on the co-operation of those people being audited and should not be used merely to police their activities. Simple environmental audits can be carried out in all sorts of different situations such as schools, factories, offices and shops. Although specialists may be needed for more formal and compliance-related environmental audits, simple internal environmental audits can raise a large number of issues, which can be dealt with internally and relatively easily. All that is needed are environmental policies and programmes to audit activities against. A simple checklist should be drawn up which asks performance and action response questions. In the absence of specific environmental policies, use can be made of such environmental policy tools as the International Chamber of Commerce Business Charter for Sustainable Development, or the CERES (Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies) Principles