Ecological audit: The key to sustainable growth and competitiveness of your company

What is the ecological audit and why is it important?

Through ecological audit, you identify areas where you can improve your environmental measures, reduce your environmental impact and improve your sustainability. In Slovakia, mainly large manufacturing enterprises, waste processing facilities, agricultural operations and companies with significant use of natural resources undergo ecological audits.

Even in small and medium-sized enterprises, a whole range of environmental management tools such as environmental audits, environmental management systems, environmental assessment and labeling of products, eco-balances, ecological product profile and the like have started to be applied. Have you already performed an ecological audit in your company or are you just about to do one?

How does the process of ecological audit work?

At the beginning, determine the objectives and scope of the audit, as well as the resources needed to perform it. Determine whether the audit focuses on specific areas, such as waste management or energy efficiency or whether it relates to the overall environmental performance of the business. Planning also includes the selection of auditors.

In the next phase, auditors collect information about the company's environmental activities through documentation, interviews with employees and process observation. Cooperate with the auditors, be open and transparent with them when they come on site. Provide them with all the information they need, support them in accessing the facilities and employees and be ready for their questions and requests.

Auditors evaluate the information they obtained and identify areas where the company's environmental performance needs improvement. This analysis may include comparison with the best procedures and assessing compliance with legal and regulatory requirements.

After completion of the audit, a final report is prepared, which contains the results of the assessment and recommendations for improving the company's environmental performance. This report will be presented to the company management and participating sites. In order for the ecological audit to be successful, it is essential to get the support of the company's top management. This support will ensure the resources and commitment necessary for implementation. After receiving the audit results and recommendations, create a detailed plan for their implementation. The plan should include clear deadlines, responsible persons and resources needed to implement the improvement measures.

Who performs the ecological audit and how long does it take?

An environmental audit can be performed by internal or external auditors. Internal auditors are company employees who have expertise in the environmental field  and auditing. External auditors are independent experts or consultants who specialize in environmental auditing and can bring an objective view of a company's environmental performance.

The length of the ecological audit depends on the size and complexity of the company, as well as the scope of the audit. For smaller companies or simpler projects, an audit can take days to weeks, while for larger and more complex businesses, the process can take several months.

Finally, some good advice. Do not forget to communicate your results and achievements. Encourage employee engagement. Employees are the key actors in the implementation of environmental measures and may have their own ideas on how to improve something.

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