Green Audit For Colleges, Universities and Organizations
We are ISO 9001:2015 agency duly accredited by World Top-most Accreditation Board (A.B.) The International Accreditation Service (I.A.S.) – USA, which is a non-profit, public-benefit corporation that help organizations demonstrate compliance and competence to their customers, regulators and the public, under International Accreditation Forum (I.A.F). Recently, in India – National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) as an Advisory to ISO 9001/Green Certificates/ Audit on 26-May-2022 has made ISO 9001:2015 from recognized AB a compulsory requirement for the agency to conduct Green Audit. In addition to our agency being Accredited, we have a certified Chartered Engineer (C.Engg). from The Institutions of Engineers (I.E.I.) which is a professional certification to be the team leader and conduct environment audits, environment/water assessments and all related works as an expert.
The ISO certificate can be downloaded from here – Ridge ISO Certificate
We cannot improve what we cannot measure. Hence measuring our current position is the first step to knowing where we are and in which direction to move. What projects, activities, and campaigns to conduct are secondary, but what matters is where we are and which direction to take an organization and why? Once we know the What and why – How to achieve the end goal will fall in place. All individual projects and activities fall into how to do a thing, but without knowing our current state – our organization’s what and why we will not know how to streamline our efforts. It is here that Environment Audit or Green Audit plays the most important tool to understand What is the current situation and why we have to in the direction we are going and what end goal or direction we should go.
A quote related to green audit: “Today’s Wastage Is Tomorrow’s Shortage.”
What is NOT part of Green Audit
The Green Audit and Environment Audit does NOT just include an inventory or list of projects or activities done. This may include rainwater, waste management, STP, awareness programs, solar etc. Infact, the institutional internal annual reports is a better documentation of list of activities. To be effective Environment Audit or Technical Assessment is both – Qualitative and Quantitative assessment of creating an environment budget. The gap in the environment budget between what comes in as compared to what goes out or anything else similar must be fulfilled by requisite projects/activities in future. This shall be highlighted in Gap assessment report. But the primary component is NOT to list the work done but to understand the context in which the work has been done, its relevance, and the way forward and highlight the shortcomings and audit findings in order for the institution to achieve legal or statutory compliance but more than that actually benefit by generating additional financial resources, make the MIS more smooth, get a future framework of activities, increase synergies and have innovative projects in future.
What is Green Audit
The green audit is an initial part of the environmental management system, used methodologically for the protection and conservation of the environment with the core vision to ensure that sustainable development is ensured. Green Auditing, is also known as ―Environmental Auditing.
For colleges and Universities – National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) under Criterion VII, has mandated Green Audits, Energy Audits, and Environment Audit for Educational Institutions. This is for the purpose of a systematic assessment of day-to-day activity with reference to the utilization of resources.
There are at present 2 major objectives:-
1. Regulatory or Statutory Requirement – It is mandatory for colleges and universities to conduct Green Audits, Energy Audits, and Environment Audits from an agency that ISO 9001:2015 approved by the approved Accreditation Board (AB). The lead auditor should preferably be qualified personnel to conduct e.g. a Chartered Engineer (Environment), Green Building Auditor, BEE Certified Auditor, or any other Govt. approved Auditor.
2. Net Positive/ New Zero or Carbon Neutral Campus – The actual benefit from green and environment audit comes not only from complying with regulatory or statutory or qualification requirements, but achieving objective no. 2, which is to make the building of campus Net Positive. The key lies in implementing to achieve this. Here, the technical team conducting the audit, should not only be theoretical but have in-depth practical experience in undertaking the projects. This would enable the institutions, to save a huge amount of costs in electricity and water bills, optimize resources, save on manpower costs and generate new sources of revenue and opportunities.
The main objective of the green audit is written below:
1. To review on a basic level, the activities, and operations of the College and identify the main
sources of resource utilization, and their environmental impacts.
2. Understand the sustainability-related initiatives undertaken.
3. Identify the gaps, best practices, or initiatives undertaken by the college.
4. As part of the audit report – share audit observations and findings along with suggestions and recommendations for the future.
WHAT ARE THE STEPS INCLUDED IN A GREEN AUDIT?
The environmental audit process includes the following steps as a minimum:
Step 1: Full team meeting with all stakeholders and heads to understand their requirements, current status, expectations and vision, while we explain the Green Environment Audit requirements and systems. Based upon which the Scoping of an Environment or Green Audit work shall be done.
Step 2: Finalizing the Synopsis report according to which project shall continue.
Step 3: Planning the audit, including activities to be conducted and responsibilities for each activity.
Step 4: Review the company’s environmental protection policy and the applicable requirements, federal, state, and local requirements.
Step 5: Assessment of the organization, it’s management and equipment
Step 6: Data Collection and Data Verification (DC&DV)
Step 7: Evaluate overall performance
Step 8: Identify areas needing improvement
Step 9: Report findings to management as Draft Audit report
Step 10: Prepare Final audit report after incorporating comments from draft audit report and issues Environment Audit Certificate.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF AUDITS INCLUDED IN THE GREEN AUDIT
• Water audit
• Energy Audit
• Waste Audit or Material & Resource Recovery Audit
• Air quality and noise assessment
• Biodiversity Audit
• Infrastructure, site planning & outdoor environment Audit
• Health & Overall well-being Audit
• I.E.C. Activities and Institutional, Planning and Management Audit
• Carbon Accounting (Conducted for certain requirements)
BENEFITS ACHIEVED BY OUR CLIENTS AFTER COMPLETION OF ENVIRONMENT ASSESSMENTS –
1. Got a framework to stop working randomly and plan properly on future activities as per the institutions environment policies
2. Get cohesion between different committees, groups, faculty/staff and increase better cohesion
3. Have a better Environment Management information system within the organization where one hand of the institution does not share information with other hand properly.
4. Achieve net zero by saving on water purchase cost, energy purchase, waste management, etc.
5. Get better marks in NAAC assessment.
6. Implement cutting edge projects in future as per proper gap assessment.
7. Have proper debit and credit of environment footprint.
8. Comply with Pollution control board rules, NAAC rules, CGWB rules, ESG guidelines etc.
9. Generate new funds and new resources due to innovative activities.
FINAL OUTCOMES –
1. Gather new sources of revenue from using the eco-friendly infrastructure of the institute and monetizing the same.
2. Have new and unbelievable opportunities for people in terms of jobs, training, new research papers, initiatives, and recognitions.
3. Reduce the cost substantially of new construction and maintenance or operations for old buildings.
4. Reduce carbon footprint substantially.
5. Improve the health and well-being of the users and the overall environment in the campus or buildings.