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In general, an environmental auditor assesses the impact of a business on the environment. As each business affects the planet in different ways, the specific duties of this individual are largely dependent on the type of business in which he or she is employed. These auditors may be voluntarily hired by companies that are particularly environmentally conscious. In many cases, however, the position is necessary to comply with regional environmental impact regulations.
It is exceedingly difficult to find a business that produces no garbage. As such, an environmental auditor is generally involved at some level with waste. Programs such as waste reduction and recycling are generally developed or implemented by this individual. These programs can be as small as a paper recycling program in an office or as large as scrap metal recycling at an automobile plant.
In many cases, waste disposal is a secondary concern of an auditor. For companies that produce very harmful refuse, waste may be the primary reason for the environmental auditor job. Hospitals, for example, often produce garbage that is tainted with biological matter that could cause disease. In this instance, an auditor might be employed specifically to ensure that this waste is disposed of properly.
Likewise, an environmental auditor at a water treatment facility is also concerned with human waste. That focus is logically more directed at the quality of water in this case. Here, regular examinations of treated water on a microscopic level would probably be required.
Additionally, environmental auditors are often called upon to design programs that reduce energy and water use with an organization. These programs are often mutually beneficial both to the finances of the company and the environment. This is particularly true for companies wishing to appeal to “green” consumers.
Environmental auditors reasonably can expect to do a fair amount of traveling. It is common for businesses to have more than one operating site. Each site is generally regularly inspected to assure compliance with environmental protocols. If an auditor is working within a government capacity, travel is likely more frequent as inspections generally comprise the bulk of the job requirement.
In some areas, specialized two-year courses are available for those wishing to become environmental auditors. Usually, however, a four-year degree is preferred. Popular degrees within the field are technical science, environmental science, and engineering. Auditors in some locations are also required to pass an exam and become licensed before employment.