Creating an Aspect and Impact Register
NQA Lead Auditor Karen Whitby has written this blog article, to help you create and manage an effective Aspect and Impacts Register.
An Aspect and Impact Register is an integral part of any organization’s ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management System. It is designed to identify and give significance to sustainability and environmental efficiencies; which are created as a result of the activities and services provided by the organization.
What does aspect mean?
Environmental aspect is something you will use/utilize/conduct that may consume/emit/discharge to the environment. This could be any of the following:
- Emissions to air
- Discharges to water/land
- Use of fossil fuels
- Consumption of natural resources
What does impact mean?
This is the effect of what you have identified your aspects to be. For example:
- Emissions to air – your emissions through your exhaust ventilation system
- Discharge to water/land – your discharges to local water courses or run off to land such as contamination from storage of transport vehicles etc.
- Use of fossil fuels – could be your gas/electric consumption
- Use of natural resources – your consumption of water
So how do you pull this together?
The most popular way; that is also relatively easy to understand is to draw up a register, that way you can show the Aspect its Impact and then devise a scoring system. This register can also include legislation requirements and the controls you have in place. See below for an example:
Severity and Significance
Severity is the seriousness of the impact e.g. potential damage, legislation implications, poor publicity etc. You can use this calculation to help you identify the severity using the following formula:
Severity Score x Likelihood Score = Significance Score
Once you have the significance you can then work out your controls.
Here you state what you are doing to mitigate the aspect. Examples of controls may include:
- Reduction in paper use – double sided printing, not printing unless necessary etc.
- Use of remote digital meetings such as Skype etc. to reduce use of vehicle fuels
- Installing water meters, duel flush toilets etc.
The legislation column can be used to note down any specific legislation or regulations, which may be applicable to the aspect.
By using your aspects and impacts register and keeping it up to date you may also wish to review this as a part of your compliance review.
Significant aspects may also be seen as good objectives and the setting of targets, such as reduction of: paper use, gas consumption, emissions etc.
Implementing and maintaining an impact and aspect register can help you to manage risks, give a positive impact on your organization and control environmental efficiency.