a) What is the Environmental Audit.
The Environmental Audit as an instrument of environmental policy, whose operation is commissioned through the National Environmental Audit Program (“PNAA”), is a method that evaluates the processes of a company regarding pollution and environmental risk, compliance with applicable regulations, of the international parameters and of good practices of operation and engineering (hereinafter, the “Audit”). One of the benefits of carrying out the Audit is the obtaining of a certificate, which can be: 1) Certificate of Clean Industry, 2) Certificate of Environmental Quality, or 3) Certificate of Tourism Environmental Quality (for purposes of this memorandum, to any of these three certificates, shall be referred to as the “Certificate”), in accordance with the provisions of the General Law on Ecological Equilibrium and Environmental Protection (“LGEEPA”) and regulated by its Regulations.
The Audit is a voluntary and different route to the inspection and surveillance actions, it promotes the identification of opportunities for improvement, as well as the implementation of projects that reduce pollution and increase competitiveness.
The purpose of the Audit is to know and examine the situation of the company, identify areas of opportunity for adjustments and corrections where there are conditions that damage or can affect the environment, promoting the improvement of the environmental performance of the facilities of the companies.
The environmental audits revise two aspects:
- The compliance of law and the implementation of good environmental practices. As result of this revision, the Federal Attorney’s Office for Environmental Protection (“PROFEPA”) grants the Certificate, as long as the facilities of the company, subject matter of the Audit, operate in optimum conditions.
- On the other hand, as a technical tool, it identifies the environmentally critical areas of a business facility and its processes, allowing the formulation of appropriate technical and management solutions.
The Audit serves as a systematic, documented and objective evaluation of the effectiveness of the actions taken to comply with the environmental legislation and to achieve a superior performance demanded by the same; it must be independent and capable to identify present and future problems. The basic steps of an Audit are the obtaining of environmental information, the evaluation of it and the establishment of conclusions that include the identification of aspects that need to be improved.
b) Modalities of the Audit.
The modalities for the facilities to obtain the Certificate are the following, which in each case require different times and requirements.
Modality A: Audit prior to application, without action plan.
Modality B: Audit subsequent to application, without action plan.
Modality C: Audit subsequent to application, with action plan.
c) Stages of the Audit.
First. Planning of the Audit.
The following are the steps related to the first stage of the Audit:
- Select an environmental auditor, registered in the record established by PROFEPA.
- The Environmental Auditor hired, will be responsible for preparing the Certificate request, in which the schedule of the audit is established.
Second. Execution of the Audit (On field works).
The following are the steps related to the second stage of the Audit:
- The environmental auditor performs a thorough review of both processes and documentary evidences to verify compliance with the environmental regulations.
- The auditor prepares a report in which the findings detected during the audit are reported in the environmental items corresponding to:
2.1. Water (potable and waste water)
2.2. Emissions to the Atmosphere
2.3. Solid Waste
2.4. Hazardous Waste
2.5. Environmental Emergencies
2.6. Environmental Risk
2.7. Soil and Subsoil
2.10 Natural Resources
2.11. Wild Life
- The auditor prepares an action plan for the compliance and correction of such findings or areas of opportunities (the “Action Plan”).
Third. Post-Audit Works.
The following are the steps related to the third stage of the Audit:
- A Commitment Letter or Agreement is signed with PROFEPA, by means of which the audited company undertakes to comply with the Action Plan.
- Then enters a stage to follow up on all the agreed in the Action Plan, i.e. preventive and corrective actions and activities, are carried out to correct the findings or areas of opportunity detected in the Audit.
- Once all the commitments established in the Action Plan have been fulfilled, the Certificate is issued, which as previously mentioned, can be of: Clean Industry, Environmental Quality or Tourism Environmental Quality (the corresponding one according to the company type) for a period of validity of two years (this term is renewable).
d) Environmental Benefits derived from the Audit.
One of the fundamental benefits of the Audit is that is updated and adapted to the compliance of the national environmental legislation. It mainly mitigates and controls aspects in the different areas in the environmental matters above mentioned.
e) Economic Benefits derived from the Audit.
The implementation of Action Plans derived from the Audits generate economic benefits, which derived from the economic savings distributed in the following areas:
- Payment of insurance premiums.
- Saving by efficient use of electric energy consumption.
- Savings by the reduction in the consumption of water supply and payment for discharges.
- Improving of public and commercial image.
To carry out an Audit is proposed as an option to verify the level of compliance of the companies, with respect to the measures established by the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources, as well as PROFEPA, when obtaining the authorization of construction and operation of the specific project of each company, and also, to verify in which areas this compliance is being limited. Complying with the Action Plan or, if applicable, obtaining the Certificate, mitigates the possibility that sanctions may exist by the corresponding authorities, due to violations of environmental standards.
Note: This document is a summary with disclosure purposes only. It does not constitute a legal opinion and may not be used or cited without our prior written consent. We assume no responsibility for the content, scope or use of this document. For any comments regarding this Memorandum, please contact any member or attorney of Consulbaja S.C.