Before you begin your environmental review you should decide who is going to carry it out, the exact scope of the review and what information is going to be gathered.
The review should cover key environmental information including:
- What legislation applies to your business and how well you are complying with it.
- Future legal requirements that pose risks and opportunities to your business.
- Past and present pollution incidents and potential pollution risks.
- Raw materials - including materials used in production processes and those used in the day-to-day running of the business, such as paper and plastic cups for vending machines. Consider the cost, type and quantity of materials you use.
- Packaging - including whether packaging is needed at all, how it is used, how it is made, how much it costs and how much disposal costs.
- Waste - including how much your business produces of different types of waste, size and number of containers, costs of waste removal and frequency of waste collections.
- Energy - types of energy used, how much is being used and at what cost.
- Water - look at where and how water is used, the cost involved (including effluent disposal), waste and potential for savings.
- Transport - including number of each type of vehicle, mileage per vehicle, type and amount of fuel used as well as the CO2 and other polluting emissions produced by your vehicles.
You should also record basic information about the site - size, type (office, factory, etc), number of staff and sales figures.
The information sources you need will depend on the type of your business and the scope of the review, but could include:
- documentation such as waste transfer notes and utility bills
- licences and permits
- monitoring information and data, such as meter readings
- policies, procedures and strategy documents
- walk-round surveys and site inspections
- interviews with key staff
You should record your information in a report or spreadsheet and include at least two years of data if possible. Make sure the information is considered by relevant people in the business because it will provide the benchmark for future performance.