To undertake certain activities, such as vegetation clearing, expansion of roads, set-up of diesel tanks, etc. approval must be first be obtained as stipulated in the National Environmental Management Act. The approval obtained is referred to as an Environmental Authorisation (EA) or a Record of Decision (ROD). This EA or ROD can be received from a competent authority in terms of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) regulations. The EA or ROD approval document sets specific legal management measures for the activity in order to prevent environmental harm. These measures, or conditions, must be adhered to when undertaking the activity. The competent authority requires the holder of an EA or ROD to ensure that these conditions are adhered to. An environmental auditor, as an independent party, can monitor and report on the compliance of the activity undertaken in an objective manner. All conditions and requirements as set in the EA or ROD is reviewed by the auditor and a report is compiled of the status on complying with the requirements as set out therein. The result of this audit process is an audit report that can be submitted to the Component Authority, detailing compliance to the obligations as set for the project. Aspects for improvement is recommended in the audit report to guide the actions of the holder of the EA or ROD towards improving overall compliance to the requirements set for the activity.
To conduct Environmental Compliance Audits in accordance with the requirements of the EMPr and EA as well as set out in Regulation 34(1)-(7) and Appendix 7 of GNR 982 of the National Environmental Management Act (Act 107 of 1998) (NEMA) (as amended).
The Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations of 2014 (as emended in 2017) requires the assessment of an approved EMPr for its ability to prevent, manage and mitigate environmental impacts caused by the activities undertaken. An independent external audit undertaken will identify the level of compliance to the EMPr requirements by undertaking a site assessment, conducting interviews with management and employees and reviewing legal and other documentation.
The audit process is used to evaluate current environmental management and mitigation measures on site and determine whether these are aligned with the requirements and commitments within the EMPr and relevant environmental legislation whilst assessing whether the prescribed measures in the EMPr are indeed applicable and adequate.
The result of the audit process is the provision of verifiable findings in a structured and systematic manner on the level of performance against and compliance with the provisions of the EMPr; and the ability of the measures contained in the EMPr to sufficiently provide for the avoidance, management and mitigation of environmental impacts associated with the activity undertaken.
Water Use Licences (WUL) are required for certain water usage activities such as abstracting water from a borehole and storing it in a reservoir. The holder of a WUL is required to conduct internal and external audits to determine compliance to the requirements of the Licence on a yearly basis. The auditor will monitor and report on compliance to the commitments stated in the approved WUL. The result is an audit report that can be submitted to the Client and in turn the Competent Authority, detailing the compliance status of the project and pertinent recommendations and actions on improving overall compliance.
Environmental Management Plans (EMP) are environmental tools that ensure that avoidable impacts of construction, operation and decommissioning of projects is prevented. To ensure that the management plan is implemented and the conditions are followed, an auditor will assess a project for compliance. The auditor will monitor and report on compliance to the commitments stated in the approved Environmental Management Plan. The result is an audit report that can be submitted to the Client and in turn the Competent Authority, detailing the compliance status of the project and pertinent recommendations and actions on improving overall compliance.
To ensure that the environmental compliance is maintained on a site and that environmental legislation is adhered to, an auditor will assess a project for overall compliance. The auditor will monitor and report on compliance to the commitments, recommendations, best practice and South African Standards of environmental management. The result is an audit report that can be submitted to the Client and in turn the Competent Authority, detailing the compliance status of the project and pertinent recommendations and actions on improving overall compliance.
Environmental authorisations for projects is granted by the relevant authority based on certain conditions being met prior to and during construction of a specific project. One of these conditions required is the client’s responsibility to appoint an experienced environmental control officer (ECO), to monitor and report on compliance to the commitments stated in the approved Environmental Management Plan (EMP) and the environmental authorisation itself. As costs associated with ECO’s are often high, an external ECO contractor can be acquired to conduct the required works, to a minimal cost. The contracted ECO will conduct site visits, monitor compliance with the EMP, ensure that environmental training is conducted and provide overall environmental support to a project. The ECO will also conduct audits to ensure that EMP conditions are adhered to. The result is audit reports (weekly, monthly or quarterly) that can be submitted to the Client and in turn the Competent Authority, detailing the compliance status of the project and pertinent recommendations and actions on improving overall compliance.
South Africa has a comprehensive list of Environmental legislative documents that provide a large number of contains to comply with. To ensure that environmental compliance is maintained on a site and that environmental legislation is adhered to, an auditor will assess a project for overall compliance to the full force and effect of South African Environmental Law. The auditor will monitor and report on compliance to the requirements commitments and full extent of applicable environmental law of South African Standards of environmental management. The result is an audit report that can be submitted to the Client and in turn the Competent Authority, detailing the compliance status of the project and pertinent recommendations and actions on improving overall legal compliance
An environmental due diligence exercise or audit is carried out to identify the extent and nature of environmental risk involved when companies are bought and/or sold. Environmental due diligence audits have developed in response to the numbers of situations where chronic contamination of factory sites and land became a significant factor in determining sales prices, due to the enormous costs of clean up. The issues that tend to arise include illegal or unauthorised toxic or hazardous waste dumps (often consisting of waste chemicals, off-specification products, and hazardous wastes that were deemed too costly to be disposed of by professional waste contractors), workers suffering from occupational illnesses due to poor or nonexistent preventative programmes or equipment, unlicensed or unregulated boilers, chimney stacks, waste treatment works, effluent disposal methods or other methods and procedures that impact negatively on the health of the neighbours or the surrounding environment. Most modern sale agreements that involve land or ‘environmentally unfriendly’ processes now include the requirement for environmental due diligence audits as well as clauses that protect the buyer from clean-up costs of residual contamination if reported within 12 – 24 months of purchase.
For mining due diligence is performed to establish the environmental risk involved when mining companies are bought and/or sold. Environmental due diligence audits on mining companies are performed to establish the level of compliance to applicable environmental legislation and the compliance with the licenses granted to the mining company.
ENVASS has a team of certified Green Star Accredited Professionals to help you with you Green Star Rating of your development! We specialise in office, residential and multi-purpose Green Star Ratings and we are a registered member with the Green Building Council of South Africa. Green buildings are sustainable buildings – energy and resource efficient which are designed, constructed and operated in an environmentally responsible manner.
Why certify your development?
According to the GBCSA, in practice, Green building measures include:
GBCSA has developed various Green Star SA Rating tools which includes various environmental impact categories. The categories are divides into credits which are assessed and a category score is obtained. An environmental weighting factor is applied to each category score which in the end gives you a rating for your building. Four to Six Star Rated Buildings are eligible for certification.
4 Star = Best Practice, 5 Star = SA Excellence, 6 Star = World Leadership.
For more information visit: https://www.gbcsa.org.za/about/about-green-building/
For your Green Star Certification contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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