Briefly explain why a baseline audit is required

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Reference no: EM13897725

Assignment Brief:

As a Consultant, you have been asked to help a company with understanding how they can assess their ongoing impact on the environment. The company are keen to improve their sustainable image and hope this will be reflected in increased sales along with attracting more customers.

In order to help them you have been asked to look at the following topics and give them some guidance on what is involved:

1. What is the definition of sustainability when viewed from an industry stance?

• What is sustainability
• What are the ‘Pillars' and what do they each mean
• Use a diagram to illustrate your answer

• Explain why sustainability is important to industry

2. Identify the KEY Steps you would need to undertake when conducting your baseline sustainability audit and the areas for consideration.

• Briefly explain why a baseline audit is required.
• Clearly identify the various resources that should be covered in your audit
• Consider both internal and external resources.
• Outline what actions are required by each of your chosen steps
• Produce a flow diagram which can be used as a route map of the process for others to follow.

3. For each resource identified, highlight what information is required to assess the quantity used, potential emissions and costs.

• Location of information if available
• How you would obtain some data if none was readily available
i. Specific sections of the company
ii. Specific machines or processes

4. Explain how you would analyse the data obtained during the audit to highlight areas of opportunity for improvement.

• Outline potential types of data
• Briefly explain the methods you would use to show which areas could be targeted for improvement.
• Use some simple examples of data analysis to show your chosen techniques

5. Develop a plan for the company which would help them understand the sequence of performing a sustainability audit and implementing recommendations.

• Think about the sequence of doing an audit from the company viewpoint
• Produce a Gantt chart or project plan to help visualise how the process may be undertaken.
• Identify the tasks and associated times. An estimate is sufficient to illustrate your thinking.

6. Explain to the company how you would embed a sustainability culture within the company to establish the long term benefits.

• Identify areas that would help the company
• Consider how to involve external suppliers
• Think about people, product and futureChecklist for Internal Audit


Procedures to check and correct activities are a crucial part of every management system - also within the Integrated Management System.

One of the minimum requirements is the yearly Internal Audit conducted by the coordinator or coordination team and an Internal Auditor. This Internal Auditor needs to be independent from the coordination team and should be a person from another strategic department, a (neighbouring) municipality or an external consultant or verifier. Of overall importance is that the auditor or auditing team have a solid foundation in the ‘expert knowledge' necessary to conduct integrated management and sustainability aspects.

The internal audit emphasises:

• determining whether the direct and indirect environmental /sustainability issues and their evaluation are up to date
• determining whether the Strategic Programme is up to date
• comparing present status and realisation/implementation of the Action Plan(s)
• comparing present status and progress towards resp. achievement of environmental /sustainability targets
• checking whether the laws and regulations of relevance to environment
/sustainable development have been updated and are being followed through
• checking the management system functions (organisation, documentation, internal and external communication, monitoring and reporting)
• checking update, adherence to and implementation of the training plan for employees

The following checklist emphasises on the first Internal Audit and includes also questions related to the implementation of the integrated management system, not relevant after the realisation of the first cycle.

Aspects which should be fulfilled

1 Baseline Review contains overview regarding departments and roles/responsibilities with relevance to sustainability.

1a All departments of the local government have been informed and involved.

2 Documents/programmes/strategies/plans currently in use in the City relevant for the purpose of the Baseline Review have been identified, reviewed and listed.

3 Relevant management instruments and systems in use and programmes/Action Plans have been identified reviewed and listed.

4 Baseline Review covers all relevant (significant) environmental or sustainability aspects.

5 Baseline Review describes the selection of "significant" aspects in a transparent and comprehensive way.

6 Baseline Review presents clear distinction between direct and indirect environmental/sustainability aspect

7 Baseline Review describes the scope of the integrated management system (ideal: all components of the whole urban area with Aalborg Commitments being the conceptual framework).

8 Baseline Review includes analysis of legal compliance regarding environmental/sustainability aspects:
- Relevant laws
- Structure to guarantee up date and access to whole staff involved

Baseline Review makes use of significant indicators to describe the current situation.

Baseline Review documents gaps with regard to data and indicators (using Aalborg Commitments as a framework).

11 ‘State of Sustainability' for different aspects/issues has been assessed objectively and transparently, in particular with regard to:
• legal compliance
• comparison to standards/to similar local governments/to the region
• potential for improvement
• priority areas of city development

12 Priority setting for developing the Strategic Programme considers the results of the Baseline Review.

13 Baseline Review ‘maps' relevant stakeholders.

14 Consultation of external stakeholders regarding the key issues is carried out.

15 All relevant stakeholders are informed regarding Baseline Review results (assessment of state of sustainability) and following process of target setting.

16 Procedure to update Baseline Review according to Internal Audit results and new information has been established
(Check with Organisational Set Up and reporting).

Furniture Industry Sustainability: Audit Checklist.


Environmental Policy Documented Policy in place
Publicly available
Signed by senior management
Based on ISO 14001?
Includes commitment to comply with legal requirements
Policy externally verified
Include a commitment to sustainable development
Resource in place to progress policy commitments
Is policy active and
supported by all staff?
Is there evidence that the policy commitments are being complied with?
Do the commitments reflect the main environmental issues?
Is there an environmental champion?
Legal Compliance systems for HS&E
Is there a system that allows legal compliance to be monitored?
Is there an up dating system?
Do registers of HS & E legislation exist?
Evidence of compliance

Employers Liability Compulsory insurance Certificate, displayed?
How many prosecutions or improvement notices received in last 12 months?
How many reportable accidents in the last 12 months?
How many lost days per employee/sickness in last 12 months?
Is the company certified to OHSAS 18001?
Does the company receive any external awards for H & S?
Is there an individual responsible for legal updates?

Environment: Optional Commitments

1. Environmental Management Systems
Does the company have a certified EMS?
Does the company have any other system for managing their impacts?
EMS active within the company?
Evidence of improvement and completion of objectives and targets?
If implementing an EMS what are the time-scales?

2. Waste Management.
Is there a system to monitor volumes/costs of waste production?
Have improvements been made in reducing the volumes sent to landfill?
Is the use of raw materials optimised?
How many recycling, recovering processes are there?
Is there a % figure available for the cost of waste relative to turnover?
Is the Duty of care requirements met?
Does staff receive training in waste reduction?
Are the volumes of hazardous waste recorded? Is the company registered with the EA?

3. Energy Management.
Is there a system to monitor levels of energy consumption?
Is an energy minimisation programme in place? Targets set for reduction?
Is energy measured relative to production?
Do staff receive training on energy use?

4. Packaging management
Is there a system to monitor packaging consumption and cost in the company?
Does the company comply with the Packaging Waste Regs?
Has packaging of products been optimised?
Are there records of packaging spend per item?
Is there any analysis of return rates due to damage?
Is packaging re-used or is returnable packaging used?
Is incoming packaging recycled, re-used or minimised?
5. Transport Management
Is fuel use monitored for all vehicles?
Are there targets set for reduction in fuel us?
Types of fuels used?
Is the number of delivery miles per product or the total miles for company recorded?
Are delivery routes optimised?
Can the fuel use be converted to carbon tonnes equivalent if formula supplied?
Is there any consideration given to employees travelling to work and reducing this impact?

Is the space in delivery trucks optimised
Does the company have their own fleet or use hauliers?
6. Procurement.
Is there a procurement policy in place?
Does the policy refer to ethical and environmental issues?
Does the company have a supplier rating system, which covers sustainable issues?
Does the company import from outside the EU?
Does the company visit suppliers to check on sustainable issues?
Are products purchased that may be easily recycled or easily disposed of at end of life?
7. Sustainable Timber Purchasing.
Does the company have a certified chain of custody system?
What is the scope of the registration
Does the company comply with the CITES regulations
What are the volumes of certifiable timber purchased annually?
Does the company comply with the Govt. timber procurement policy?

If no formal chain of custody are suppliers complying with the Timber Trade federation procurement policies?
8. Air and Water Management.
Is there a system to identify and monitor air emissions?
Is there a system to identify any discharges to land or water?
Are authorisations or permit limits being met?
Are consents to discharge limits being met?
If solvents used is there an annual inventory of VOC emissions?
Are there any programmes to reduce air emissions or discharges?
9. End of Life Management.
Is there a system to identify end of life furniture arisings
Does the company work with its customers on take back or leasing schemes?
Are disposal routes for EOL known?
Does the company offer returned products to charities?
Is design for EOL furniture considered?

Does the company refurbish furniture for re-use?

Social and Economic: Optional Commitments;

1. Nuisance Management.
Is there a system in place to monitor and control neighbourhood impacts such as noise, odour, dust, light, vehicle etc.?
Does the company keep a register of complaints?
Does the company have a procedure for dealing with complaints
How many complaints has the company received in the last year?
Has the company received any prosecutions for statutory nuisance?
2. Community Relations/Charity Work
Has the company actively helped to improve the local environment?
Has the company had positive relationships with the local community?
Does the company employ local contractors?

Does the company have factory open days?
Does the company conduct any work with local charities or institutions?
Does the company sponsor any local schools or teams?
Does the company assist charities in any other way?

3. Education and Training

Is there evidence of development of workforce skills and knowledge?

Does the company have IIP approval?

Is there evidence of HS & E training for all staff?

Is there any evidence of sustainable development training?

Does the company keep a record of average training days per employee?

What is the % of training budget to turnover?

Does staff attend internal and external training courses.

4. Employment.

How many employees does the company have?

Has the number risen or fallen in the last year?

Does the company assist in stimulating local employment?

Has the company improved working conditions significantly over the last 5 years?

Is staff loyalty good or is there a large turnover of employees?

Workforce diversity. % of women and ethnic minorities in workplace and management?

5. Ethical Issues

Is there assurance of ethical values for workforce and suppliers.

Are there ethical procurement and trading policies in place?

6. Competitiveness

What is the company turnover?

Is there evidence of year on year savings due to environmental initiatives?

Is there evidence of investment in sustainable development?

Have improved efficiencies been noted due to health and safety initiatives?

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Reference no: EM13897725

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