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Environmental Management Services: Gibb now oversees environmental auditing

Environmental Management Services: Gibb now oversees environmental auditing

The demand from organisations for comprehensive environmental management services (EMS), including environmental auditing, has increased significantl

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The demand from organisations for comprehensive environmental management services (EMS), including environmental auditing, has increased significantly over the past 10 years. This can be attributed to pressure on organisations to achieve and demonstrate sound environmental performance.

This pressure has arisen from increasingly stringent legislation, economic policies, customer pressure and growing stakeholder concerns about the environment, along with the potential cost savings as a result of effective environmental management.

Consequently engineering consulting firm, GIBB, established a dedicated environmental auditing unit last year to oversee ISO Environmental Management Systems, Integrated Management Systems, Environmental Compliance Auditing; Waste Management Planning and Auditing and Environmental Due Diligence Auditing.

GIBB technical executive, Mervin Olivier, said GIBB conducts most of its Environmental Management System audits to ISO 14001: 2004 requirements.

“This service is aimed at operational organisations that want to benchmark their existing systems against the international standard and identify gaps and opportunities to improve their environmental practices and mitigate their operational impacts on the environment,” he said.

Olivier said GIBB’s Environmental Management Systems audit offerings include internal audits, third party internal audits or external audits.

“The third party internal and external audits are undertaken on behalf of international global testing, certification, inspection and training providers,” he explained.

The basis for compliance audits are the organisation’s legal registers which is often updated by the auditing team, based on their commitment to align the client’s activities to the latest environmental requirements.

GIBB Environmental Management Services

Environmental due diligence audits is the third service line offered by GIBB’s environmental auditors.

“These types of audits are often conducted in association with property transactions where the purchaser of a piece of land or operating concern such as a factory wants to ascertain the potential environmental risks associated with the land or property,” said Olivier.

“Because we are specialists in our fields, we are able to conduct the work quickly and efficiently, which is critical in a price sensitive market such as ours, especially when it comes to ECO work.”

Olivier said environmental legislation is expected to continue changing in the foreseeable future and, from a business point of view, auditors will add value to various processes.

“In terms of Environmental Management Systems, the obvious value that auditors bring is that they highlight required system improvements which, if addressed, ultimately means organisations are able to better manage their environmental impacts, derive economic savings from green initiatives and secure improved stakeholder participation.

“In terms of construction auditing, having an ECO on board means there is someone championing the environment, and ensuring impacts are mitigated. This means companies should have to spend less on fixing mistakes that should not have been made in the first place,” he described. 

While environmental issues were not always taken seriously in the past, Olivier said as legislation improves, authorities have begun to respond to environmental transgressions with compliance notices or fines.

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