It is a commonplace to perceive the term ‘auditing’ only in a business where it refers to the process of investigating and analyzing any of the aspects in the given area. The term itself is used more extensively than just to mean the ‘investigation and attestation of accounts’. Evenly, varied references to attestation are purposeless without an obvious goal of ‘to what’ as well as ‘to why?’ (Gray, 2000). In regard to social and environmental auditing above-indicated commonplaces are considered to be principal. However, ‘social auditing’ as well as ‘environmental auditing’ are applied in different ways to indicate diverse things. The activities concerning social and environmental auditing focus on observing and monitoring the improvement attempts towards society as well as environment.
Social auditing evolved an existing observing and monitoring processes, made by private sector corporations, which were considered to be inappropriate to such community organizations. Social auditing superseded the business plans, schemes and methods used as the leading ones. Social auditing placed reliance on the business plan approach, but at the same time it placed more important center of attention on appealing varied client groups in creating their own requirements and diverse action plans for accomplishing sustainable advantages and superiorities. Prosperous corporations have a completely clear vision what way they need to choose and how they are going to get there. The social audit process assists these corporations determine and then attain perspicuity of purpose and effectiveness of procedure.
Although social auditing has been around in various forms, but since before the start of the 20th century it is conventional to accentuate current social auditing from the 1970s. Social auditing drew appreciable and significant attention during the early to mid-1970s. Albeit, ‘social audits’ were briefly developed, their guidance to other companies was extensively available. The social audits which were produced independently became a peculiarity of a certain company as well as organizational life and found various standards.
In general, there is no acceptable definition to the process. However, in order to provide more in-depth idea to the given concept, several different definitions are introduced below:
In accordance with ‘Green Paper on prompting a European framework for CSR of the EC’ social audit is systematic evaluation of the social influence of a particular organization in compliance of set standards and expectancies (Ahmed, 2012).
In accordance with ‘Social Enterprise Partnership’ social audit is a certain method which is used by various organizations for planning, managing as well as calculating their non-financial activities. Thus, these organizations can control and monitor both the external and internal outcomes of the social as well as business performance of the organization.
In accordance with ‘Social Economy Agency Northern Ireland’ social auditing is a relevant process that permits varied agencies and organizations to evaluate and reveal superiorities and restrictions of the social as well as environmental activities and their performance in the community. It is a way to measure the capacity to which a certain organization is in congruence with the shared principles and objectives which it has carried out to embody and promote.
In accordance with ‘The New Economic Foundation’ social auditing is a certain process in which the organization can inform its social performance as well as inform and enhance varied accomplishments. It evaluates the social influence and ethical behavior of a certain organization concerning its objectives and stakeholders.
Environmental auditing started from the proclamation of the US National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) in 1969. However, in general it started its developing process at the beginning of 70s of the 20th century in the United States of America and in the Western Europe.
Early records on environmental auditing commenced to appear in the mid 80s and various management consulting companies and agencies started to motivate their clients to assume environmental audits. In that period varied developed countries were adopting the environmental legislation in order to decrease the adverse consequents of the companies' and agencies’ actions and activities that had affected the environment.
Varied kinds of organizations are engaged in attaining as well as demonstrating environmental performance by controlling the influences of their activities, products and services on the environment. They create strict legislation, various economic policies and make decisions on measures to promote environmental protection and interests of different parties concerning environmental matters and further sustainable development.
Environmental audit is considered to be as a certain type of social audit to estimate the environmental influence of the varied facets of the business. It is regarded to be as a general term to indicate varied estimations which are intended to determine environmental compliance as well as management system.
Environmental audit is a certain process by means of which an organization’s environmental performance is put to the test against its environmental policies as well as strivings. These policies and strivings need to be precisely identified and documented.
The most considerable outcomes concerning environmental audits are recommendations how a certain company can decrease the harmful influences on the environment in an effective and cost-benefit way, and how it can in a long-time save finances by applying environment technology. The realization of the environmental audits is not obligated for the companies and organizations. However, it demonstrates high recognition and awareness on their social liabilities and a general outlook towards the environment (Have We Lost Our Way? A Sequel, 2011, p.1).
Social as well as environmental auditing is considered to be comparatively a recently developed field of study. Thus, there are great deals of free gaps of doing varied investigations in the given sector. The investigation can be done to realizing and implementing social and environmental auditing. New system of methods can be developed to determining social as well as environmental cost of a certain company or organization.
Ahmed, A. 2012. Social and Environmental Auditing; Some Basic Concept. [pdf] Available at: http://poseidon01.ssrn.com/delivery.php?ID=560120086072066005023122079084000005063062020029025039112121121081030088076002068068060031127103104029043092071117076094069115051020006028053097126067090127117094091000007041083081126012009123027098091064085108078084097017111084078127127009023000085085&EXT=pdf [Accessed 21 January 2016]
Gray, R. 2000. Current Developments and Trends in Social and Environmental Auditing, Reporting & Attestation: A Personal Perspective. [pdf] Available at: https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/media/csear/discussion-papers/CSEAR_dps-socenv-curdev.pdf [Accessed 21 January 2016]
Have We Lost Our Way? A Sequel. 2011. EHS Journal. [online] Available at: http://ehsjournal.org/http:/ehsjournal.org/lawrence-cahill-robert-costello/ehs-audits-%E2%80%93-have-we-lost-our-way-a-sequel/2011/ [Accessed 21 January 2016]