Environment Laws

Environmental Audit Checklist

calendar17 Feb, 2023
timeReading Time: 12 Minutes
Environmental Audit Checklist

Environmental auditing is an impartial examination undertaken by various organizations to guarantee compliance with environmental policies. It assesses the variety of places, techniques, and activities to identify the types of pollution created and the level of danger, injury, or actual harm caused. This auditing technique is a practical management tool that assists an industry or organization in verifying compliance with environmental Audit standards or regulations, assessing risks, and identifying and correcting environmental hazards. The auditing technique represents a transparent and systematic review of raw material, product, and utility utilization, as well as proper maintenance of the Environmental Audit Management System and its effective operation towards the execution of environmental regulations. There have been various instances when the Environmental Audit has not only helped to reduce pollution in the industrial sector but has also helped to improve their bottom line.

Environmental Audit Checklist






1. General –




  • Are there any noticeable stains, discoloured dirt, concrete, or flooring on the site?
  • Is the location free of:
  1. obsolete machinery?
  2. additional unrestrained debris
  • Is the site well-organized and in good working order?
  • Are the amounts of chlorinated solvents utilized and documented on-site?
  • Is every effort taken to reduce and recycle wasted solvents?
  • Is the number of cylinders containing toxic/flammable residuals stored on-site kept to a minimum?
  • Are the limits and regions around fences in excellent environmental condition?
  • Have you had solid environmental records, management systems, and nearby locations and activities from the past and present?
  • Is any information on suspected or known contamination categorized in quality and quantity according to applicable standards for the site’s intended future use?
  • Is pollution defined or analyzed with a request for remediation if it is suspected, found, or disclosed to the administration?
  • Is the cost of the conditions, procedures, and contamination acceptability level approximated or defined?




2. Air Emissions under Environmental Audit




  1. If the location requires official clearance for air emissions, are they available?
  2. If restrictions and requirements (for example, monitoring data) being met, if applicable?
  3. Are there any major fugitive air emissions from site procedures and operations?
  4. Is it necessary to permit all sources of damaging emissions into the atmosphere?
  5. Are there initiatives underway to limit such emissions?
  6. When operating on refrigeration/air conditioner equipment containing Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS), are recovery/recycling devices used?
  7. Is the usage of solvent-based paint reduced, and is the greatest amount of water-based paint used?
  8. Is the location devoid of materials that might cause uncontained dust and fibres (for example, asbestos)?




3. Water Discharge under Environmental Audit




  1. Is all the data up to date and accessible for inspection if the site requires government authority to release liquid effluent to ground, surface water (including streams, rivers, and lakes), or subterranean watercourses?
  2. Is it possible to identify all discharges and, if necessary, authorize, licence, or permit them?
  3. Are all liquid discharges and free water devoid of peculiar water conditions like an oily sheen, discolouration, and so on?
  4. Is truck wash water treated in any way before discharge to prevent oils and dangerous chemicals from entering the drainage system, and do any appropriate discharge authorizations exist?
  5. Are spill prevention and control measures in place?
  6. Is adequate spill-cleaning material and equipment readily available and conveniently accessible?
  7. Is all site drainage maintained and channelled to designated disposal points?
  8. Is it up to date and accessible for inspection if the site requires official authorization to dump liquid effluent to a sewer or drainage linked to a treatment facility? (Note: this might be in the form of a discharge consent, permission, or licence).
  9. Are discharge monitoring results for the previous three years accessible, if applicable?
  10. Are allowed discharge limitations being fulfilled, if applicable?
  11. Are discharge sample records retained for the previous three years, if applicable?
  12. Is there a current spill prevention and control procedure in place at the site?





4. Waste management under Environmental Audit




  1. Is there information on the site about where garbage is eventually disposed of (including waste contractor and disposer licencing information)?
  2. Are signed copies of hazardous waste documents covering waste transport and disposal for the previous three years available?
  3. Is there a particular program(s) in place at your organization to reduce hazardous waste? Does the firm analyze the environmental performance of its suppliers’ hazardous waste disposal?
  4. Does your organization monitor and document locations engaged in contaminated soil or water clean-up and the associated costs?
  5. Are records of on-site hazardous waste storage area inspections available?
  6. Are hazardous waste containers adequately constructed, undamaged, and closed (unless during transfer)?
  7. Is secondary containment and weather protection provided for hazardous waste containers?
  8. Is waste oil recycled by a licenced or approved recycler, and do licence numbers exist?
  9. Are hazardous waste containers kept on site for the shortest amount of time practicable and no longer than any legally stipulated maximum?
  10. Does the company approve only garbage hauliers/disposal businesses used?
  11. Is there evidence of an active effort to eliminate, minimize, and/or recycle trash to the most significant degree possible?
  12. Has your business recognized its non-hazardous waste streams?
  13. Is your organization monitoring and documenting trends in non-hazardous waste management, and do you have strategies in place to reduce non-hazardous waste streams?
  14. Has your firm eliminated the use and emission of Montreal Protocol-targeted ozone-depleting chemicals?
  15. Are copies of waste composition data for the previous three years available?
  16. Is there an inventory of all the garbage created during the previous year at the site?
  17. Is there a hazardous waste minimization/contingency strategy in place at the site, and is it up to date?
  18. Is there a waste minimization/pollution prevention strategy in place at the site, and is it up to date?
  19. Is there a particular program(s) in place at your organization to reduce hazardous waste?
  20. Does the firm analyze the environmental performance of its suppliers’ hazardous waste disposal?
  21. Does your organization monitor and document locations engaged in contaminated soil or water cleanup and the associated costs?
  22. Are records of on-site hazardous waste storage area inspections available?
  23. Has your business recognized its non-hazardous waste streams?
  24. Is your organization monitoring and documenting trends in non-hazardous waste management, and do you have strategies in place to reduce non-hazardous waste streams?
  25. Has your firm eliminated the use and emission of Montreal Protocol-targeted ozone-depleting chemicals?
  26. Do you monitor and document oil spills, chemical spills, and other unintentional releases (such as effluent spills) to all media (land, sea, and air)?




5. Storage under Environmental Audit




  • Are containers containing hazardous materials:
  1. In excellent shape, appropriate for purpose, and correctly labelled?


  • Are liquid hazardous compounds kept in the following ways:
  1. On a non-porous surface?
  2. With secondary containment (capable of containing the capacity of the biggest storage container according to current standards and guidance)?
  • Are storage areas:
  1. Well-maintained;
  2. Readily labelled; and
  3. Weather-protected as needed?


  • Is there a list of tanks accessible that shows the chemical contained, the location, the condition, the date and result of the previous inspection, and the date of the next test?
  • Are up-to-date storage tank registrations accessible where needed by law?
  • Is there documentation describing the storage tank leak detection and inventory control practices on-site?
  • Are all storage tanks in excellent working order, devoid of leaks, and equipped with suitable secondary containment (e.g., bonding) when required?




6. Emergency Planning and Community Relations under Environmental Audit




  1. Are emergency procedures clearly posted in all places, including phone numbers?
  2. Are the site’s emergency protocols evaluated and practised regularly?
  3. Is equipment for spill clean-up and containment readily available?
  4. Is there an up-to-date inventory of hazardous compounds kept on-site?
  5. Is there a written plan in place for dealing with environmental crises at the site?
  6. Is your firm prepared to recognize and respond to environmental problems, accidents, and emergencies?
  7. Is your company’s protocol for reporting environmental events, accidents, and emergencies, as well as for conducting corrective steps, in place?
  8. Are vendors informed about the procedures?
  9. Have the pertinent facts of this proposal been disclosed to site neighbours, if necessary?
  10. Is there a programme in place to eliminate, or at least decrease, the usage of hazardous substances?
  11. Is there a list of the hazardous compounds on the premises, as well as information on handling, disposal, MSDS, and so on?
  12. Does your organization track chemical usage on a regular or ad hoc basis use materials accounting or another approach in addition to or instead of tracking environmental releases?




7. Management Policy under Environmental Audit




  1. Are your company’s Chief Executive and Executive Members’ environmental obligations adequately evident?
  2. Is a company’s Environmental Policy prominently displayed?
  3. Is it clear that this has been approved by site administration (through signature or site policy)?
  4. Does your firm have a systematic and recorded procedure for identifying and responding to the government’s current environmental Policy, including laws, rules, and guidelines?
  5. Are your company’s Chief Executive Officer’s environmental duties appropriately recorded and agreed upon with the appropriate authorities?




8. Environmental Framework under Environmental Audit




  • Has your organization created a complete framework of environmental policies, practises, processes, systems, and management information? (For example, ISO 14001, Responsible Care)
  • Is there a well-organized and up-to-date handbook or another document that outlines the following:
  1. Organization, duties, and processes for the site’s environmental protection policy.
  2. Company-wide environmental obligations, are they recent?
  3. How well has environmental management been incorporated into the company’s overall business management processes?
  • How does your organization identify, assign, and analyze human, technical, and financial resources to accomplish its environmental goals and targets?
  • Has your organization adopted the Environmental Management System principles for maintaining Environmental Audits?
  • Has your organization evaluated the costs and advantages of standard certification, and has a business case been produced to support any decision?
  • Has certification been considered/sought/obtained?
  • In terms of environmental Audit management, how does your organization cooperate with other Departments or agencies?
  • How does your company work with community and corporate stakeholders who are not the government?
  • How has your organization calculated the financial cost of environmental management?




9. Environmental Policy under Environmental Audit




  • Is your company’s environmental Policy recorded, and is it compatible with other business policies?
  • Has the Policy been developed and committed to by top management? Is (does) the Policy:
  1. Appropriate to the nature, scale, and environmental impacts of its activities, products, or services;
  2. Committed to continuous improvement, pollution prevention, and Ecological Sustainable Development[1] (ESD);
  3. In accordance with relevant environmental legislation and regulations, as well as other environmental mandates;
  4. Serve as a foundation for objective and target formulation by establishing organizational goals that will generate clear and quantifiable outcomes;
  5. Are communicated to and understood by personnel from all business divisions;
  6. Agree to transparency and openness in disclosing your company’s environmental Audit management to and accessible to the public?
  • Are your company’s policies evaluated regularly to guarantee their continued relevance in light of changing standards, technology, and developing concerns?
  • What is the management level in charge of upholding your company’s environmental policies?
  • Are the perspectives of stakeholders considered while drafting the Policy?
  • How are policies conveyed within your organization and to stakeholders, and are the ways the best available techniques?




10. Planning in Environmental Audit under Environmental Audit




  • How has your organization built a systematic and documented procedure for identifying, monitoring, and evaluating environmental elements of its operations, goods, or services?
  • How does the procedure work:
  1. Direct the creation, implementation, and operation of environmental Policy?
  2. Identify all factors over which the firm has control or may be anticipated to have an impact on an ongoing basis.
  3. Include an environmental risk assessment to analyze those components that may have a substantial positive or negative influence on the environment.
  • How has your company established a systematic and documented approach for identifying, monitoring, and assessing environmental aspects of its activities, commodities, or services?
  • How the technique works:
  1. Oversee the development, implementation, and administration of environmental Policy?
  2. Identify all elements over which the company has control or which are likely to have an ongoing impact.
  3. Include an environmental risk assessment to determine which components may have a significant positive or negative impact on the environment and hence on the Environmental Audit.




11. Management Issues under Environmental Audit




  • Establish environmental goals and objectives.
  1. Develop plans to achieve those goals and objectives.
  2. Monitor and measure those operations that have a significant environmental impact.
  • How will environmental obligations and risks be handled, recorded, and communicated to relevant management and staff?


  1. Include provisions for auditing and reviewing the process to ensure that planned arrangements are appropriately implemented and maintained?
  2. Legal and Other Prerequisites – Do your activities necessitate adherence to national or state environmental, health, and safety regulations?
  3. Resources required for personnel with specific responsibilities?
  4. What are the strategies, timelines, and objectives and targets for each key company function and level?


  • Are the programmes being monitored in order to track progress towards objectives and targets?
  • Is someone in charge of tracking progress towards objectives and targets? Is there an environmental evaluation for new operations in the programme?
  • Has the programme been updated to reflect the addition of additional activities?
  • Is your company’s environmental management programme monitored and revised?




12. Structure and Responsibility under Environmental Audit




  1. Is your company’s environmental monitoring and reporting overseen by an Executive Committee or Board?
  2. Has senior management specified people’s roles, duties, and authority in the framework of the company’s Environmental Management System (EMS)?
  3. Do the roles, duties, and authority include creating, implementing, maintaining, and reporting on the EMS?
  4. Have the duties been recorded and conveyed to the appropriate persons in charge of environmental Audit management, and are the appropriate people aware of the roles that have been allocated to them?
  5. Has management allocated sufficient resources to deploy and manage their EMS? To what degree does your company’s culture incorporate an understanding of Ecological Sustainable Development (ESD)?
  6. To what degree does your organization include the ESD concept in decision-making through the analysis and review of policies, programmes, plans, and projects?
  7. Are there written rules on how to conduct operations responsibly in compliance with ESD principles?
  8. Are workers’ environmental management obligations stated in their accountabilities (e.g., position descriptions and yearly performance goals)?
  9. Is it encouraged for workers to take the initiative, make ideas for change, and propose measures or policies to lessen your company’s environmental impact? Does the training involve emergency response, simulations, and collaboration with outside organizations such as the fire department?
  10. Is the corporation a supporter of scientific or Policy research at educational or research institutes committed to environmental technology, management, and performance challenges or other relevant study areas?
  11. Is the corporation involved in external efforts to disseminate the findings of such scientific and Policy research?
  12. Document Management – Have you created and maintained policies for controlling all essential papers in your company?




13. Communication under Environmental Audit




  • How does your organization communicate with important stakeholders about major environmental issues, and is this approach documented?
  • How do you identify, monitor, analyze, and comprehend stakeholders’ requirements and expectations?
  • Is there a process in place at your company to:
  1. record and maintain communications between key employees (in your company) responsible for environmental management,
  2. receive, record, and respond to communications from interested parties about the environmental impacts of your company’s operations?
  • Is your firm proactive in seeking the views of independent community organizations (e.g., through newsletters, regular meetings, open forums, or community oversight committees) on potential hazards caused by your company’s operations?
  • Are these procedures followed?
  • Have you written processes in place to monitor and assess the efficacy and efficiency of its communication strategy/plan/methods?
  • Has your firm developed and maintains information to define the basic pieces of the EMS and their interaction, as well as pointers to where further information on specific sections of the EMS may be obtained for the Environmental Audit?




14. Operational Control under Environmental Audit




  1. Have you identified any operations or activities that are related with important environmental issues of your business?
  2. Are these operations and activities carried out under regulated conditions and in line with operational standards to guarantee environmental policy compliance and attainment of objectives and targets?
  3. Is there a specific written policy in your organization about material/resource conservation, reduction, reuse, and recycling?
  4. Have you set precise goals for material/resource conservation initiatives to reduce energy, water, and trash, as well as any developing challenges or activities?
  5. Have you set defined goals for each conservation strategy?
  6. Does your firm track and document energy usage trends by source?
  7. Is there a programme in place at your organization to optimize the usage of ecologically safer and more sustainable energy sources?
  8. Does your organization track chemical usage on a regular or ad hoc basis using materials accounting or another approach in addition to or instead of tracking environmental releases?
  9. Has your firm addressed habitat preservation and stewardship problems (such as watershed management, wilderness conservation, biodiversity, and so on) in locations where your operations occur?
  10. Does the data describe how the elements interact with one another?
  11. Does the paperwork include: the environmental Policy, aims and targets (as well as a description of how the objectives and targets will be met), essential roles, responsibilities, and processes, and follow-up or actions or responses?




15. Green Procurement under Environmental Audit




  1. Is there a policy in place at your organization to include ESD criteria in selecting suppliers/(sub)contractors/service providers’ products and services?
  2. Does your organization have a green transportation plan that includes transportation activities and your motor vehicle fleet?
  3. Does your organization track and document trends in fuel use by its transportation fleet?
  4. Are there policies in place that describe how (sub)contractors, suppliers, service providers, and consultants employed by your organization must behave in terms of environmental stewardship?
  5. Are there documented environmental monitoring methods, such as inspections or audits of supplier/contractor/service provider sites/operations?




16. Community Involvement under Environmental Audit



  1. Is your firm working to safeguard disadvantaged or at-risk people in places where your operations have a direct impact?
  2. Is your firm communicating with stakeholders to foster improved engagement and knowledge in your company’s environmental Audit decision making?




17. Monitoring and Measurement under Environmental Audit




  1. Does your organization have systems in place to monitor and measure the key operations and activities that can substantially impact the environment regularly?
  2. Is your company’s compliance with key environmental legislation and regulations evaluated in a systematic and recorded manner?
  3. Are periodic audits performed following established systems and procedures?
  4. Is your company’s data collection and information management systems enough to meet ESD reporting requirements?
  5. How is your company’s performance in accordance with ESD principles and best practices monitored regularly?
  6. Do you have a policy/guideline that establishes quality criteria for Environmental Impact Statements and supporting research?
  7. Do you evaluate and report actual outcomes to forecasts stated in Environmental Impact Statements (EIS)?
  8. Is your company’s workplace health, safety, and environmental audit programme in place? Do your organization track and document natural resource use trends?
  9. Is an impartial body reviewing your company’s environmental audit programmes?
  10. Is your organization looking for independent verification of its data collecting and information management systems?
  11. Are your audit results publicly available?




18. Reporting under Environmental Audit




  1. Is your firm required to report to regulators? Is your firm involved in national or international reports?
  2. Does your organization normalize environmental data (e.g., chemical releases, energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions) by activity or unit (e.g., per unit of output, per unit of input, per work hour, per employee)?
  3. Is your firm required to prepare an annual Environmental Report? Is this report concerned with ESD issues?
  4. Is the report externally vetted or verified?
  5. Is your firm required to report on its environmental duties to governmental authorities and/or the general public?





In today’s severely regulated climate, doing an environmental audit is no longer an option but a prudent precaution and proactive action. Indeed, data shows that auditing plays an essential role in enabling the systematic inclusion of environmental viewpoints into many parts of an organization’s overall functioning, triggering new understanding and priorities in policies and practises.

Read Our Article: A Complete Guide For Environmental Audit

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