Raw data should only be the starting point of your environmental review. You may find that you get a much better understanding of your business' environmental performance by talking to key staff, such as senior management and those responsible for environmental management, finance, marketing, operations, facilities, etc. Their perceptions and thoughts about the operations and environmental impacts of the business can help make your review more effective.
Subjects covered by the interviews may include:
- Site information - the size, type, use, number of employees, layout, etc of the premises, and details of maintenance and refurbishment carried out. This should help you to compare your environmental performance against similar organisations.
- Corporate policy and strategy - the main drivers behind environmental improvement, stakeholder pressures, future growth plans, key environmental targets and indicators, and strategy for complying with legislation. This should help you to understand how environmental issues fit into your business' overall strategy.
- Environmental initiatives - current environmental policies, environmental and quality management systems, environmental reporting, stakeholder expectations, environmental aspirations of senior management and regulations affecting your business. This enables you to understand the key drivers behind improving environmental performance.
- Pollution control - measures put into place to prevent and control pollution, such as secondary containment systems, abatement equipment and staff training. This is essential to reduce the risk of pollution incidents and prosecution.
- Resource efficiency - main uses of energy, materials, water and transport, contracts for utilities and waste, and data analysis. This should help you to identify who is responsible for each resource and to set targets to cut their use.
- Communication - current staff engagement techniques, responsibilities for environmental matters, staff feedback and requirements, and any bonus schemes and incentives. Staff engagement is key to improving environmental performance.
- Marketing - strategy in relation to environmental issues, brand image, competitive advantage and external communication issues. This should help you to consider how your business can market its environmental credentials to external stakeholders.
- Investment and procurement - current procurement standards and their effectiveness, and investment criteria for internal projects. This should help you to understand what criteria and standards apply when making environmental improvements.
In all cases, you should have clear objectives for the interviews which are understood by both parties.