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AN ENVIRONMENTAL AUDIT WHAT IT IS AND WHAT IT IS NOT An Audit is not the same as an Inventory Many people can confuse an audit with an inventory The one vital difference between the inventory and an audit is that the inventory is concerned only with the environment whereas an audit concerns the relationship of a community The main purpose of the inventory is to collect environmental facts Newman et al 1997 An audit relates those facts to a specific community This concern for compliance with standard rules and requirements is also relevant to environmental audits but normally will not dominate the audit as it does a financial audit The environment cannot be reduced to a set of rules such as those that control the preparation of financial statements The report on an environmental audit will be lengthy rather than brief and its findings will tend to be in the form of comments recommendations and suggestions This means that there is scope for disagreement or different interpretations An audit also considers how the past has led to the present situation but it is more concerned with the overall picture than with specific problems Newman et al 1996 An audit Summary Places the emphasis on interpretation rather than on data collection Emphasizes the overall view rather than specific investigation of individual problems Is an activity commissioned by and used by a First Nation not something carried out by or for another body Assists the identification of goals and priorities rather than being a response to problems or opportunitiesDefinitions Environmental Management System The organizational structure responsibilities practices procedures processes and resources for implementing and maintaining environmental management Graff 1997 Environmental Management System Audit A program and procedure that determines whether the environmental management system conforms to the organizations planned arrangements and whether it has been properly implemented and maintained Newman et al 1997 It contributes to managements purpose of the continuing capability of the environmental
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