Audit of the Environmental Management System points in the right direction

Nils Lindh, Administrative Officer for sustainable development, says, “The audit went very well and shows a strong commitment to sustainable development in our organisation and that the deviations noted in last year's external audit have largely been corrected. This means that when feedback has been given to RISE on corrected measures in response to the deviations, the university will continue to be entitled to environmental certification in accordance with ISO 14001: 2015.”

Fewer deviations and suggestions for improvement

At last year's audit, ten deviations were found; this year, only six minor deviations were found.

The auditors from RISE contributed four suggestions for improvement.

“Together with the deviations and improvement proposals established by the university's own internal environmental auditors, the audit constitutes an important part of the university's work to develop the work for sustainable development,” says Nils Lindh.

The following was noted during the audit:

  • It is difficult to navigate the website for information about sustainable development, the environmental management system with routines, goals, and more. The information is not completely up to date and comprehensive. In addition, it is unclear who is affected by what.
  • There is no risk noted of fire and flood in the list of environmental risks.
  • Significant environmental aspects are not clearly identified in the environmental aspects list.
  • In the environmental aspects list, there is a column for the life cycle perspective where formulations are missing relevant to the standard.
  • Deviations and conclusions from internal audits are handled locally at Faculties, Professional Services, and the Executive Office. The overall evaluation at the university level of internal audits is less meaningful if information from all departments' evaluation reports is not available.
  • Minutes from the management's review lack conclusions on whether the environmental management system is still appropriate, sufficient, and effective.

Information about improvement measures from the auditors was, among other things, that the follow-up and application of set goals vary at the university and that in some places it is difficult to break down the goals into concrete activities, as well as keep goals alive and developing. A continual need for competence development for employees, as well as to inspire students to get involved early on in sustainability issues, was also communicated.

It is primarily the Professional Services/Campus Facilities and Sustainability Office that can work to remedy the deviations.

The audit was performed by RISE. The next external audit will be carried out in the autumn of 2021.

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The international standard ISO 14001 sets requirements for and provides guidance in management systems in the environmental field. The purpose of the environmental management system is for the university to be able to continuously work to reduce its total environmental impact.

The audit report is available from the Registrar’s Office, see Reg. 1023-20.