Now is the perfect time to perform a Sustainability Audit
When sustainability reporting season is in full swing is the best time to perform an audit. Sustainability decision-makers are already engaged.
Why a Sustainability Audit?
A sustainability audit takes an inventory of all 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.
Below is a list of some of the main functions of a sustainability audit.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Identifies New Sustainability Initiatives – A sustainability audit will quickly identify sustainability activities that have either never been considered or have yet to be implemented.
4. 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, you now have a tool to compare these using exactly the same criteria. The same is true about comparing operations from period-to-period.
5. 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.
What a Sustainability Audit is Not
A sustainability audit is not an exercise in counting carbon or tallying the financial implications of sustainability initiatives. It is also not an in-depth examination of any specific program of work. These are all tasks that need to take place after an audit has been conducted. Only then will it be clear what practices will most benefit an organization.
Benefits of a Sustainability Audit
An organization can expect some great benefits from a sustainability audit. Below are a list of just a few.
- Lowers Cost – A sustainability audit helps identify ways to reduce consumption (raw materials, energy) and increase operational efficiency and effectiveness. This results in lower costs.
- Improves Compliance – The number and complexity of international, national and regional regulations that address the environmental impact of products, services and business activities is increasing. An audit raises awareness of regulations that affect an organization.
- Helps Lower Reputation Risk – Reputation Risk is defined as any action, event or situation that could adversely or beneficially impact an organization’s reputation. Behind financial and litigation risk, reputation risk in the global marketplace represents the greatest risk to an organization’s long-term success. Being aware of sustainability performance can significantly lower this risk.
- Provides Competitive Advantage – Sustainable practices can provide an organization significant competitive advantages in the form of improved reputation, lower costs, better compliance, greater levels of innovation and many others.
- Encourages Innovation – A sustainability audit requires an organization to take a fresh look at how their business is conducted, what resources are used to create their products and services, and how their products and services affect the environment and society once they are sold. The process of reexamination results in the creation of new ideas and innovations to improve current and future practices.
CurrentState™ is the leading sustainability audit in the market. Based on the Three Tiers of Sustainability™ framework, CurrentState™ is both very comprehensive and easy to use. The Three Tiers framework organizes sustainability into 3 main categories: Green IT, Business and Facilities. It then further divides these categories into 28 additional sub-categories. This ensures that no area of sustainability is left unexamined.
Difficulty and Expense
CurrentState™ requires the submission of an easy-to-complete survey. The survey has been specifically designed to be concise yet comprehensive. CurrentState™ does not require the submission of detailed records or metrics, such as electricity bills, KPI data or carbon counting. This means that the time needed to submit a survey and receive a Findings Report can take ‘days’, not weeks or months. This not only saves an organization valuable time, but also significantly lowers costs. CurrentState™ can provide an organization unsurpassed intelligence on an organization’s sustainability performance at a fraction of the cost of other evaluations.
CurrentState™ Findings Report
The CurrentState™ Findings Report defines in specific terms exactly what tasks an organization needs to complete (Quick Wins) and what policies and procedures an organization needs to consider (Recommendations) in order to improve sustainability performance. In addition, the report contains analysis of each main sustainability category and each sub-category as well as comparison charts and graphs.
A Findings Report can be used as:
- a blueprint to develop a sustainability program;
- a way to demonstrate to management, a board or the public an organization’s sustainability progress;
- a method to identify gaps in an current green efforts;
- a way to document and track sustainability performance from period to period;
- a way to determine current sustainability compliance with major international standards and certifications.
Find Out More
To find out more about CurrentState™, please sign up for a FREE DEMO. Alternatively give us a call (917) 485-1778 or send an email to Anthony Gilbreath (firstname.lastname@example.org). You could be filling out a CurrentState™ survey within minutes!
Anthony Gilbreath has over 15 years experience in oil & gas, alternative energy and sustainability consulting. He authored the CurrentState Sustainability Audit for Caelus as well as many sustainability consulting services for Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC). He has managed CaelusGreenRoom.com and been a Principal at Caelus Sustainability Consulting since 2011.