Story by Noah Botwinick, contributing author for the PeoplePlanetProfitBlog.com.
What is a Sustainability Audit?
An audit is a systematic evaluation process that is directed at verifying whatever facility, structure or organization getting the audit’s status is in regard to specific criteria. According to the professional association for EHS auditors, an audit is, “a systematic, documented process of objectively collecting and evaluating factual information in order to verify a site or organization’s… status with respect to specific, predetermined criteria (Auditing Roundtable, 1997).” The audit criteria are explicit measures or requirements, such as regulations, standards, performance indicators, metrics, principles, guidelines and corporate directions, that the auditor uses to evaluate the information gathered during the audit process. A sustainability audit is a type of audit that looks into the effectiveness of implemented sustainability programs measured against specific criteria. In other words, a sustainability audit is a way of learning about your facility’s or company’s energy practices and seeing how they compare to other companies and against official standards.
…a sustainability audit is a way of learning about your facility’s or company’s energy practices and seeing how they compare to other companies and against official standards.
Why Should You Get a Sustainability Audit?
1) Save Money:
> Save money on your electricity bills by pinpointing areas where energy is being wasted.
> Many organizations and corporations have been undergoing sustainability audits because there has been evidence that increased financial performance has often resulted from improving performance in environmental areas.
> Additionally, a company showing that it cares about sustainable practices attracts support from socially responsible investing groups.
2) Preventative Measure:
In homes, buildings and facilities, an energy audit can help discover structural and safety problems such as rot and mold, before they lead to more costly damage.
3) Internal management need:
A company looking to manage business risk and opportunity, support internal decision making, and/or build trust within various stakeholder communities can get a sustainability audit.
4) Compliance with Government Regulations:
Getting a sustainability audit can help a corporation or business understand where it needs to fix its sustainable practices in order to comply with government regulations, and can help them deal with these issues.
Getting a sustainability audit can help a company, business or homeowner understand cost-effective improvement opportunities. By seeing all the issues laid out with their respective solutions,
6) Home Improvements:
> Make your home more comfortable and pleasant by figuring out how to properly heat or cool areas that are difficult to maintain at proper temperatures.
> Identify what cheaper options are available for heating and fuel bills.
7) Increase Resale Value:
By auditing your home or business and fixing energy issues or installing energy upgrades and improvements, the resale value of the home or facility is increased; how much depends on the nature and extent of the improvements.
8) Demands from shareholders, employees and financial institutions:
More and more companies are being pushed from stakeholders to look into a broader range of sustainable development issues in regards to an organization’s production. Although companies and businesses have been publishing their own reports regarding the sustainability of their own practices, stakeholders have been demanding audits because they represent an impartial, third-party investigation and report of a corporation’s sustainable practices. Thus, getting an audit improves the credibility of a company in the eyes of the stakeholders.
9) Comparing Energy Practices:
By conducting a sustainability audit, a company can compare its practices to other companies within the same industry to understand where it stands and if further improvements are needed and in what areas. An audit enables this comparison because it measures everyone using the same impartial standards, thus making comparisons useful.
10) Broaden Your Thinking:
A sustainability audit will likely identify dozens of initiatives in areas of a business previously never considered. By having an audit conducted, you will discover areas in your practices that can be improved upon that you didn’t even know about.