Sustainability Audits

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Sustainability Audits

What is a Sustainability Audit?

The initial process in any Environmental Assessment and Sustainability Management program is to understand the current carbon/greenhouse gas (GHG) energy emissions, waste, and water footprints. To quantitatively determine emission output, waste and water use, an audit needs to be conducted to provide a ‘baseline measurement’.

Audits usually consist of a ‘scope’ which sets the boundary for the auditing assessment process. An audit is a fundamental tool to assist with the development of setting targets and to quantify benefits of any new embedded protocols and implemented systems recommended by the audit.

Energy Audit

Energy auditing ensures you are efficiently looking at the operational or manufacturing costs of built facilities. GHG emissions are used to determine a baseline measurement of energy output. Assessment of internal systems and protocols, staff engagement and communications are just some determining factors that are engaged with energy auditing. Defining the best way for your organisation to become more energy efficient, reduce costs and in turn benefit the environment are key outcomes from an energy audit.

Waste Audit

Auditing how much waste you generate and where you generate this waste, assists with how to manage waste for maximum cost-effectiveness, and capacity to adapt environmentally friendly solutions. A physical analysis of waste composition will deliver a detailed understanding of current problems, identify potential opportunities, and provide analysis of your waste composition.

A Waste Audit clearly identifies your waste generation, while assisting with:

  • Establishing a baseline or benchmark data;
  • Characterising and quantifying waste streams;
  • Verifying waste pathways;
  • Identifying waste diversion opportunities;
  • Identifying source reduction opportunities; and
  • Assessing effectiveness and determination of ways to improve efficiency of your current waste management systems.

Water Audit

Water audits provide a way to inventory all water uses in your facility and identify ways to increase water use efficiency.

The results can help you prioritise steps to implement and set cost-effective water-saving measures, that provide accountability for meeting and reviewing targets.

What is a Scope?

The scope of an audit is a statement that specifies the focus, extent, and boundary of an audit. The scope can be specified by defining the physical location of the audit, the organisational units that will be examined, the processes and activities that will be included, and the period that will be covered.

GHG emissions are one of the sustainability performance indicators that are used to manage and report in an audit, and they are measured through three scopes. (Scope 1, Scope 2, Scope 3). The scopes are designed to avoid ‘double-counting’of emissions, and are also intended to categorise the organisations GHG into, those that they control (e.g. Scope 1) versus those that they can influence (e.g. Scope 3).

SCOPE 1 are also referred to as Direct GHG, and are defined as ‘emissions from sources that are owned or controlled by the organisation’.

SCOPE 2 are also referred to as Energy Indirect GHG, and are defined as ‘emissions from the consumption of purchased electricity, steam, or other sources of energy generated upstream from the organisation’.

SCOPE 3 are also referred to as Other Indirect GHG, and are defined as ‘emissions that are a consequence of the operations of an organisation, but are not directly owned or controlled by the organisation’. It includes a number of different sources of GHG including employee commuting, business travel, third party distribution and logistics,production of purchased goods, emissions from the use of sold products, and several more.

Outcomes of an Audit

A Sustainability Audit Report will include the results of audits on waste, energy and water and provide benchmark levels for each of those three aspects, usually encompassed over a twelve-month period. It will also include recommendations on improvements in each area moving forward. It will provide transparency as to how data has been calculated, with an inventory report which will form a benchmark against future greenhouse gas inventories.

Establishing benchmarks will provide valuable accountability and target forecasting to assist with setting future initiatives, social, economic and environmental business branding and project opportunities. Advice to maximise resource recovery and minimise environmental and economic risk, including energy from waste, energy (GHG) auditing and water assessment are contained in this form of report.

The sustainability audit proposed will be carried out in accordance with Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards.

The GRI Standards are the world’s most trusted and widely used standards for sustainability reporting, and enable organisations to measure and understand their impacts on the environment.

The initial process in any Environmental Assessment and Sustainability Management program is to understand the current carbon/greenhouse gas (GHG) energy emissions, waste, and water footprints. To quantitatively determine emission output, waste and water use, an audit needs to be conducted to provide a ‘baseline measurement’.

Audits usually consist of a ‘scope’ which sets the boundary for the auditing assessment process. An audit is a fundamental tool to assist with the development of setting targets and to quantify benefits of any new embedded protocols and implemented systems recommended by the audit.