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Notice to readers:

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STATEMENT WITHDRAWAL – RE: WILLOWTON GROUP

Good day,

It has come to our attention that the statement made on 11 September 2019, in an email newsletter, was published prior to Risk ZA Corporate Sustainability (Pty) Ltd. obtained all the relevant facts and, as a result, may have been misleading.

Risk ZA Corporate Sustainability (Pty) Ltd. expresses its apologies to Willowton Group for the statement and hereby withdraws the statement made on 11 September 2019 in its entirety. Risk ZA Corporate Sustainability (Pty) Ltd. has been informed by Willowton Group that the incident is currently under investigation and the cause of the incident is presently unknown.

Further details relating to the incident can be obtained from Willowton Group directly.

Sincerely, 
Risk ZA Corporate Sustainability (Pty) Ltd.

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ISO 14001:2015 – Internal Audits Drive Real Improvements

ISO 14001:2015 - Internal Audits Drive Real Improvements

Confronted with dramatic environmental challenges, plus a slew of regulatory requirements, many organisations have implemented environmental management systems (EMSs). An ISO 14001:2015 based EMS is the most popular, used to meet compliance obligations, monitor environmental policies and procedures, manage resources and control environmental harms.

ISO 14001:2015 is a systems-based management tool centering around the Plan-Do-Check-Act method, which drives continual improvement. The standard outlines in Clause 9.2 that internal audits at set intervals are necessary to support the theme of continual improvement underpinning the management system.

The purpose of internal audits is to ensure that the organisation’s environmental policies, objectives, compliance obligations and performance requirements are met and recorded, and that any corrective action is taken where necessary.

DOWNLOAD FREE GUIDE

Our FREE Downloadable Guide How To Conduct An Environmental Management Systems Audit explores more about the ISO 14001 Environmental Audit process. You can get hold of it by clicking the button below.

What to expect from an ISO 14001:2015 audit

A key point to emphasise is that the intended outcomes of ISO 14001:2015 have not changed. The EMS must:

  • Protect the environment.
  • Meet compliance obligations.
  • Enhance environmental performance.

ISO 14001:2015 does, however, have a number of new requirements that will change the focus of an audit, which include:

  • Context of the organisation
  • Leadership
  • Planning
  • Support
  • Documentation
  • Operations
  • Performance evaluation
  • Improvement

ISO 14001:2015 - Clause 9: Performance evaluation

Performance evaluation is about measuring and evaluating an EMS to establish whether it meets the organisation’s planned outcomes. Evaluation provides valuable information for continual improvement by:

  • Evaluating the EMS’s effectiveness.
  • Establishing whether requirements of the standard are being met.
  • Verifying whether compliance obligations have been met.
  • Reviewing the EMs’s suitability, adequacy, effectiveness and efficiency.
  • Demonstrating that planning has been properly implemented.
  • Assessing the performance of processes against outcomes.
  • Determining the need or opportunities for improvement.

Monitoring, measurement, analysis and evaluation

Monitoring in the sense of ISO 14001 means checking, reviewing, inspecting and observing  planned activities to ensure that they are occurring as intended. So, for example, if an operational control states that water quality will be inspected twice weekly, then this is a monitoring process. Monitoring and measurement :

  • Evaluates environmental performance;
  • Analyses root causes of problems;
  • Assesses compliance with compliance obligations;
  • Identifies areas for corrective action;
  • Improves performance and efficiency.

The Internal audit programme

Unlike an audit schedule or audit plan, an audit programme includes the full life-cycle of auditing. From the very decision to use audit as a tool through planning and initiating the audit, performing, reporting and follow-up, to improvement of the entire programme and its constituent parts.

All parts of the EMS should be audited at minimum yearly, this is typically dealt with in an annual audit schedule. The entire EMS can be audited at once or in parts for more frequent audits. To establish the frequency of EMS audits, consider:

  • The nature of your operations;
  • Risks and opportunities;
  • Statutory and regulatory requirements and compliance obligations;
  • Significant environmental aspects / impacts;
  • Results of your monitoring programme;
  • Results of previous audits.

There are two principle considerations when auditing:

Compliance/conformance audits – ensure that management arrangements, like procedures, are being followed in order to comply with the requirements of ISO 14001.

Performance Audits –  ensure that the outputs of the management arrangements are achieving their intended outcomes. For example, the results of engineering controls applied to mitigate air pollution are achieving the legal limits.

ISO 14001 demands an approach that combines both a compliance/conformance and a performance approach to auditing.

Who should perform an environmental audit?

ISO 19011:2018 – Guidelines for auditing management systems – contains information on how to choose an Environmental Auditor. Environmental Auditors should have personal attributes, such as ethics, open-mindedness, perceptiveness and tact. They should understand audit principles, procedures and techniques, and have gained experience by conducting audits. They should know the subject matter they are auditing against and how this applies to different organisations.

Audit Team Leaders should be able to plan and resource effectively, have good communication and leadership skills. Environmental Auditors should complete training and have attained an appropriate level of education. When seeking an External Auditor consider the skills outlined here.

Auditor qualifications

All auditors need to receive initial and ongoing training. EMS auditors should be trained in auditing techniques and management system concepts, environmental regulations, and facility operations. For performance audits, an auditor needs to have a good understanding of the standard and the EMS, and a broad understanding of environmental issues. Auditors should be reasonably independent of the area or activity that is being audited and can definitely not audit their own work.

An effective audit programme should:

  • Develop audit procedures and protocols.
  • Establish an appropriate audit frequency.
  • Train auditors.  
  • Maintain audit records.
  • Link audit results to the corrective action system.

NEW! ISO 19011:2018: Guidelines for auditing management systems

Auditors are the ears and eyes of top management because they can provide an independent appraisal of an organisation’s operations and activities. In addition, a skillful auditor will add value to a management system by finding opportunities for improvement. It’s important to note that ISO 19011:2018 has significantly raises the bar on what constitutes essential competencies that management-systems auditors need to possess or acquire.

Revisions to ISO 9001:2015 (QMS), ISO 14001:2015 (EMS), and ISO 45001:2018 (OH&S) are all based on Annex SL of ISO Directive 1, the ISO High Level Structure. Consequently, ISO 19011 includes an annex to deal with how to audit organisational context, leadership and commitment, compliance and the supply chain, amongst others. The new standard will help with the effective audit of these management systems and facilitate a uniform approach to the auditing process where multiple systems are in place.

DOWNLOAD FREE GUIDE

Our FREE Downloadable Guide How To Conduct An Environmental Management Systems Audit explores more about the ISO 14001 Environmental Audit process. You can get hold of it by clicking the button below.

For more information or guidance on which ISO standard(s) and services would best suit the needs of your organisation, please email Risk ZA at info@riskza.com or contact us on 0861 Risk ZA / +27 (0) 31 569 5900.

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