An environmental audit, a mechanism for assessing the
impact of an existing industrial or commercial operation on
the environment, appeared first in the 1970s and has been
widely used by industry in developed countries since the
In New South Wales, Chapter 6 - Part 6.3 of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 provides for very useful and convenient Voluntary Environmental
Under this Act, results of Voluntary Environmental Audits, unlike results of Mandatory Environmental Audits,
are "protected documents" that:
- are not admissible in any proceedings connected with the administration or enforcement of the environment protection legislation; and
- may not be inspected and used by any regulatory authority for any purpose
connected with the administration or enforcement of the environment protection legislation.
Consequently, Voluntary Environmental Audits are carried out in New South Wales by independent environmental consultants, such as Pollution Control Consultancy
and Design (PCCD), engaged by the current or future occupier and/or owner of industrial premises, in order to:
- reveal existing and/or potential environmental threats, and if required;
- define measures to eliminate these threats;
without a risk of being legally liable for any findings resulting from the audit
In other words, unlike Mandatory Environmental Audits that may be imposed
and used against you at any time by government authorities (e.g. EPA, local councils) , Voluntary
Environmental Audits are safe (non-incriminatory) tools for early detection of possible environmental risks - they are initiated by
you and they remain strictly confidential between you and independent consultants, such as Pollution Control
Consultancy and Design (PCCD).
Benefits from Voluntary Environmental Audits include:
- identification of the environmental risk;
- development of pollution reduction programs;
- prevention of financial loss caused by plant closure, clean-ups or
restrictions imposed by government bodies as a result of environmentally unsafe practices;
- avoidance of environmental legal actions against a company, its
directors, managers and/or staff;
- reduction of insurance premiums and potential compensation payouts;
- demonstration of "due diligence" to a court of law; and
- cost saving from conservation of resources, minimizing waste and maximizing reuse and recycling.
An environmental audit report may strengthen the company's position with
finance institutions and shareholders.