[skip to content]

Centre for Development, Environment and Policy (CeDEP)

Environmental Auditing and Environmental Management Systems

Course Code:
Unit value:

This  module starts by looking at the means of identifying and evaluating the environmental effects of an organisation (Unit 1). It first provides an understanding of the relationship between organisations and the environment and then introduces the concept of environmental auditing including its definition, history and a brief overview on the different types of audit available. The various reasons why an organisation may want to undertake an environmental audit are also examined. Units 2, 3 and 4 look specifically at the environmental auditing process in detail and cover issues such as preparation, types of environmental audit and how an audit is carried out. The module then goes on to examine the means of auditing specific environmental effects and issues associated with the activities of an organisation. Units 5, 6 and 7, respectively, look at the auditing of environmental effects and performance; emissions; resource use and waste minimisation. Units 8 and 9 introduce environmental management systems (EMSs) and discuss the role they play in managing the environmental effects of an organisation. A useful comparison is made between two formal environmental management systems: ISO 14001 and EMAS. The module concludes (Unit 10) by discussing the issue of environmental reporting and then looks at the prospects for the future of environmental auditing and corporate environmental management, particularly in the context of the challenge of sustainable development.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

On successful completion of this module, students will be able to:

  • define environmental auditing and describe the main components of the environmental auditing process;
  • identify methods of auditing specific environmental issues associated with the activities of an organisation;
  • describe the main components of an environmental management system; and
  • apply practical environmental auditing skills to identifying and evaluating the environmental effects of an organisation.

Scope and syllabus

Unit 1 Introduction to environmental auditing
Unit 2 Preparing an environmental audit
Unit 3 Types of environmental audit; the legal context
Unit 4 Conducting an environmental audit
Unit 5 What to audit: environmental effects and performance
Unit 6 What to audit: emissions
Unit 7 What to audit: resource use and waste minimisation
Unit 8 Introduction to environmental management systems (EMS)
Unit 9 Formal environmental management systems
Unit 10 Environmental reporting and future developments

Module sample

P508 module uses a core text which is specially written and will take you through your self-directed study. Exercises, assignments and other activities, such as self-assessment questions, film clips and animations are included to help you with learning. Most module study guides are now provided in electronic format on a USB flash memory stick, but can also be downloaded from the online learning environment. Click the linked image below to view a sample of our e-study guide: