Sustainability Audit

Learn all there is about a sustainability audit, from why you need to perform one to how to perform one effectively.

employee outside their workplace conducting a sustainability audit with a tablet

What is a Sustainability Audit?

Sustainability audits are systematic evaluations of a company’s environmentally friendly practices to assess if the practices are responsible, sustainable, economically viable, and aligned with the company’s overall sustainability goals. While these audits include financial metrics, they look beyond that to get a full picture of an organization’s sustainability efforts and determine areas of improvement, non-compliance, and how far along the company is to reaching its goals.


Sustainability audits are critical in giving companies a clear idea of their sustainability efforts. This gives the organization the data it needs to find ways to reduce its environmental, social, and economic impact. This includes assessing energy consumption, waste generation, and carbon emissions. That way, companies can identify inefficiencies or areas of higher consumption and determine how they can address the issues and create more sustainable practices overall.

These audits are also crucial in proving environmental compliance. Certain jurisdictions like the UK require regular and accurate sustainability reports. Accurate audits paint a clear picture of a company’s sustainability, which they will need when reporting their consumption and green efforts to regulatory bodies.

Lastly, sustainability audits give companies the opportunity to improve  and implement innovative practices that can reduce their carbon footprint. Through sustainability audits, organizations can take a proactive approach in the fight against climate change and other environmental issues, which is increasingly important in this day and age.

How to Perform Sustainability Audits

Companies must perform sustainability audits according to their unique needs and practices. Your organization may perform certain activities that require special attention or data gathering techniques, which are important to consider when creating your methodology for your audits. However, here are some of the essential steps that are a must when performing sustainability audits.

Preparation and Planning

The process begins with meticulous planning. Organizations identify key areas to be audited, set objectives, and establish the scope of the audit. Clear communication with stakeholders is crucial to ensure transparency and cooperation.

Data Collection and Analysis

The next step is collecting data, ranging from energy consumption and waste generation to social engagement metrics. Advanced analytics tools may be employed to derive meaningful insights from the data.


Once the data is gathered, auditors must analyze and evaluate the data and assess the company’s energy efficiency, carbon emissions, water usage, and the overall ecological impact of operations. Another critical aspect to evaluate are social responsibility assessments. This involves scrutinizing workplace practices, diversity and inclusion initiatives, and community engagement efforts.

Reporting with Recommendations

The last step in a sustainability audit is developing a comprehensive report that includes all the data and the analyses found during the audit. This part of the audit also provides actionable recommendations for improvement. This will then allow for a venue for stakeholders to plan an action.

Best Practices for Sustainability Audit

Sustainability audits look different for every organization. However, there are multiple best practices that organizations should strive to follow. These include the following :

Top-to-Bottom Commitment

It’s critical to get the entire organization engaged in your sustainability audit. Since these assessments are comprehensive and dig through a lot of data, getting the entire team from decision makers to frontline workers on board is essential.

Continuous Improvement

Regular audits ensure that the organization is continuously improving its practices and staying aligned with evolving standards.

Integrating Technology

Using the right tools for your audits is essential in gathering the appropriate data and landing on accurate and actionable insights. This is why organizations must adopt new tools specifically designed for gathering data and developing high-quality reports. Not only does this reduce the time it takes to conduct audits, it increases the accuracy of the data.

Leon Altomonte
Article by
Leon Altomonte
Leon Altomonte is a content contributor for SafetyCulture. He got into content writing while taking up a language degree and has written copy for various web pages and blogs. Aside from working as a freelance writer, Leon is also a musician who spends most of his free time playing gigs and at the studio.