ISO 14001 audits
Last updated 2015.
There are two types of ISO 14001 audits, internal and external. An internal ISO 14001 audit is an audit which fulfils the requirements of element 9.2 Internal Audit of the ISO 14001 standard. An external ISO 14001 audit is an audit which is typically conducted for the purpose of ISO 14001 certification and completed by an Accredited Certification Body.
Supplier audits and third party audits
Of interest, it is becoming increasingly common practice for businesses to be audited by other businesses. This is because some businesses have identified their suppliers as part of their overall environmental risk. They are now directly conducting environmental audits of their suppliers to ensure there are appropriate systems and controls in place to manage these risks.
ISO 19011:2012 Guidelines for auditing management systems (previously known as ISO 19011 Guidelines for quality and/or environmental management systems auditing) provides information regarding choice of Auditor. ISO 14001 Auditors should have personal attributes such as ethics, tact, open-mindedness and be perceptive. They should understand audit principles, procedures and techniques, as well as having gained experience through conducting audits. ISO 14001 Auditors should know the subject matter they are auditing against and how this applies to the organisation.
ISO 14001 Audit Team Leaders should be able to plan and resource effectively, have good communication and leadership skills. Preferably ISO 14001 Environmental Auditors should complete environmental auditing training and have attained an appropriate level of education. A good Auditor should have both skills and experience.
With any ISO 14001 audit consideration could be given to assessing the Auditor's skills and experience, and checking whether they impartial and objective. Exemplar Global (previously known as the RABQSA) certifies individuals which meet their requirements within Australia. As part of your Auditor assessment, checking whether your Environmental Auditor is certified with Exemplar Global (or an international equivalent) could be considered prior to engagement as not all Auditors have appropriate skill levels. More information can be found at the Exemplar Global website.