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What is environmental auditing?

Environmental auditing started developing at the beginning of 70s of the past century in the United States of America and in the Western Europe. In that period the developed countries were adopting the environmental legislation in order to reduce the harmful consequences of the companies' actions that had affected the environment. At the beginning the environmental auditing involved reviews of independent experts assessing whether companies operated in line with the demands of the environmental legislation. Presently the companies decide to undertake environmental audits in order to obtain an independent external assessment whether the management has created efficient environmental policy and provided for acceptable environmental attitude. The most important results of the environmental audits are recommendations how a company can reduce the damaging impacts on the environment in an efficient and cost-benefit manner, and how it can in a long-term save funds by using environment friendly technology. The implementation of the environmental audits is not obligatory for the companies never the less it shows high awareness of the companies on their social responsibilities and an overall attitude towards the environment.

Greater awareness and understanding of environmental issues have led the supreme audit institutions (SAI) to recognise the key role of the state in defining appropriate measures for reducing the damaging consequences for the environment; for the efficient and effective solutions of environmental problems. The increasing concern has influenced the SAIs to introduce the environmental auditing in the public sector. Environmental auditing in the public sector encompasses independent and objective assessments whether:
  • the governments implement the international agreements on environmental protection,
  • there is a complete and appropriate institutional framework for the efficient protection and preservation of the environment,
  • there is an efficient control over the implementation of the national legislation in order to realise the set strategic objectives of protection and preservation of the environment,
  • there is provided for the appropriate use of public funds for the assessment and for solving of the environmental problems.