A sustainability audit is an indispensable management tool for CSOs and sustainability managers. A sustainability audit provides a snapshot of an organization’s current sustainability performance. It also provides specific recommendations how to improve performance and what additional initiatives should be considered.
What is a Sustainability Audit?
A sustainability audit takes an inventory of the policies, procedures and practices of an organization and compares these to industry best practices. An audit is both a ‘gap analysis’ and a ‘maturity analysis’ of the sustainability practices of an organization. In other words, it documents ‘what practices are in place’ and ‘to what extent these practices are implemented’ across a wide range of sustainability categories.
A sustainability audit has many functions. Here is a list of some of the most important ones:
- Compares policies, procedures and practices to Industry Best Practices – This is one of the most important functions of a sustainability audit. An audit should clearly show where an organization exceeds, meets and does not meet industry best practices across a wide range a sustainability categories.
- Improves Planning, Structure and Accountability – A sustainability audit helps identify key initiatives and provides a means for accounting for these within a sustainability program. This assists planning and accountability for sustainability activities across an organization.
- Identifies New Sustainability Initiatives – A sustainability audit will quickly identify sustainability activities that have either never been considered or have yet to be implemented.
- Facilitates ‘Period to Period’ and ‘Business to Business’ Tracking – Once a sustainability audit has been conducted, an organization will have a comprehensive snapshot of all green activities. If an organization has multiple locations, it will now have a tool to compare these using exactly the same criteria. The same is true about comparing operations from period-to-period.
- Helps Improves Sustainability Performance – A sustainability audit can help an organization improve its sustainability performance. It provides critical information that will improve planning, execution and follow-through for a range of initiatives.
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