Skip to content

Environmental Auditor

Environmental auditing involves comparing an organisation’s environmental performance against a set of rules, which may come from a code of practice, a company procedure, legislation, or an ISO standard. The work typically includes visits to sites to determine how well the requirements are being met. On site, the Environmental Auditor will interview staff and review documentation.

An Environmental Auditor may work internally for a company in any sector, often having other responsibilities, or may be employed by a consultancy or a certification body, where auditing is the primary remit. The Auditor may audit their own company, a supplier, or provide an independent audit of another company. The level of knowledge and experience needed varies accordingly.

Woman in a hijab looking at a clipboard in a field with wind turbines in the background

The information in our job profiles aims to give a general overview of the role and a guideline to what it involves. The content is not intended to be exhaustive and roles will vary depending on the organisation and sector. The salary ranges are a guide only, as these are dependent on the size and location of the organisation.

Entry level range
£20k – £30k
Experienced range
£31k – £49k
Audit management range

How does this role align to the green agenda?

Companies are increasingly setting themselves goals to improve their sustainability performance across their own activities and throughout the value chain. Developing net zero strategies and plans is becoming particularly important. Environmental Auditors have a key role to play in assessing how effectively these and other sustainability initiatives are being implemented within their own companies or by suppliers. Many organisations rely on environmental or integrated management systems to deliver these goals, and management systems auditing provides confidence to stakeholders that these processes are producing the intended outcomes.

There is a growing expectation that companies will measure and report environmental performance as part of Environmental Social Governance (ESG]), and this is likely to create greater demand for Environmental Auditors in the future. Technology is also becoming more important, both for data collection and in allowing audits to be undertaken remotely.

Three people with clipboards in a solar farm field

Skills and capabilities

Environmental auditing requires a range of skills and knowledge that very much depend on the precise role of the Auditor and the types of audits being undertaken. The necessary depth of knowledge and skills also varies, from general awareness to detailed understanding.

In certification auditing, an in-depth knowledge of ISO 14001, legislation and business management techniques is important, whereas in some corporate auditing roles, compliance requirements and risk management are the principal areas of focus. Participating in a range of audits provides an excellent opportunity for individuals to increase their knowledge and experience over time.

Technical knowledge

  • Relevant environmental sustainability drivers
  • The environmental management techniques for industrial processes or service delivery systems
  • Environmental legislation
  • Auditing principles and techniques
  • Company or client policies and procedures
  • Sector codes of practice
  • ISO 14001 or other standards
  • Familiarity with electronic data management and communications tools

Transferable skills

  • Effective communication, both verbal and written, at all levels of a company
  • Analytical thinking
  • Attention to detail (an ’evidence-based approach’ is important in auditing) and compliance-focused
  • Collaborating and relationship development
  • Project management skills
  • Team management (some audits may involve a team of auditors with the lead auditor responsible for managing the team)
  • Negotiation and conflict resolution.

A day in the life

An internal Auditor might only undertake or participate in audits occasionally, so a typical day will be very much focussed on the individual’s primary role.

In a larger organisation or in a certification body, one or more individuals will have overall responsibility for the audit programme, the arrangements for undertaking audits. This is a management function, and often these individuals do not participate directly in audits, but will ensure that audits are properly resourced, planned and undertaken.

Full-time Auditors (or those with extensive involvement in auditing) are likely to experience a wide range of audit situations and will undertake various auditing tasks, including planning, conducting, and reporting the findings of audits. Depending on the type of audit, they may also be required to support auditees in working to improve their environmental management processes and performance.

3 people interviewing a woman, all sitting at a table

Although most work is desk-based, travel is a regular feature of many Environmental Auditors’ work, either to sites within their own organisations, or to client or supplier locations. In some cases, this will involve international travel, potentially exposing Auditors to a wide range of situations, and the chance to discover different working cultures and languages. Whilst the use of remote communications methods, such as video conferencing, may reduce the need for travel, other travel challenges remain.

Auditors need to develop and maintain their competence, which may involve shadowing or being mentored by an experienced Auditor or formal auditor training, as well as constantly keeping up to date with their knowledge. Experienced Auditors can play a key role in the development of new or junior colleagues.

Entry routes

The are various routes into environmental auditing, with vastly different requirements for formal environmental academic qualifications, training, and experience:

Potential career progression

The following options are open to auditors wishing to develop their careers:

Auditor roles such as:

Lead Internal Environmental Auditor within an organisation

Specialist Environmental Auditor (for example in Environmental, Social and Governance etc.)

Environmental Compliance and Risk Auditor

Management Systems Certification Auditor

Integrated Management Systems Auditor (internal)

Related roles that Environmental Auditors may move into include:

Supply Chain Auditor

Environmental Programme Manager

Relevant sectors

Environmental auditing is undertaken across all sectors, including public and private, primary, industrial, and service sectors.

Auditing skills can be transferable across sectors, but knowledge requirements can be quite different.

Photo of a wind turbine up close, next to a crane

Learn about the green agenda across different sectors

Information kindly supplied by:
Leehane Environmental Consulting logo
Leehane Environmental Consulting Ltd.

Specialises in environmental management, auditing, and training. 

Success stories

Created by

IEMA is the membership body for environment and sustainability professionals