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Saving the Planet Without Costing the Earth

500 Simple Steps to a Greener Lifestyle

Saving the Planet Without Costing the Earth
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US$ 16.99
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Many of us are concerned about environmental issues and try to incorporate a 'green' approach into our day-to-day lives. This work explains how to carry out an environmental audit of your life in areas such as waste disposal, gardening and home maintenance, food, work and travel to find out how 'green' you are.
Vision Paperbacks; November 2006
256 pages; ISBN 9781433703294
Read online, or download in secure PDF format
Excerpt
When you write a cheque or when you decide the budget for a holiday, you will more often than not take account of how much money you have in your bank account. You will also consider how much your monthly salary is or how much you can afford to put on your credit card and still keep up the payments without too much pain.This is a form of financial self-auditing. Companies by law have to get professional independent financial auditors to examine their books. They examine how much money was made during the previous financial year, how much of that was profitable, how much property and other assets the company owns and how much debt it has.They then produce a financial snapshot of the company at the end of their financial year in a document called the ‘year-end company accounts’.The intention is to allow the shareholders, owners or the company’s bankers to have good-quality and reliable information about the financial health of the company. Environmentalists in the 1980s, searching for ways to make companies more environmentally responsible, came up with the idea of auditing a company’s environmental performance. Using the term ‘environmental auditing’ helped business people understand the process. Environmental auditing looks at each area of activity in a company and assesses to what extent the company is fulfilling best environmental practice. Just like financial accounting, it involves measuring various inputs and outputs and assessing work practices in relation to these. A company’s environmental audit will assess things such as energy, water, transport, waste production and treatment of raw materials.And just like a professional financial auditor’s report, it will list the areas where problems exist and make a series of recommendations for improvement. Ideally, the environmental auditors will speak to both management and staff and the final report should be pre-submitted to the company’s board and then published annually along with the company’s annual report and accounts. The nice thing about environmental auditing is that it is a gentle process. Done properly, it assesses the current situation and makes recommendations for gradual improvement within the management, human resources and financial capacity of the company. It should outline short-term, low-cost recommendations such as introducing recycling, and longer-term, capital-intensive proposals such as water recycling or improved insulation. The list of major companies that now produce annual reports on their environmental performance includes Nike, CocaCola, BT, Guinness, Black & Decker, American Airlines,The Body Shop, BP and Ford.While some may dismiss these as ‘greenwash’, the fact that they are even considering the subject at all is progress. When I initially became aware of how destructive our Western lifestyles are, I resolved to reform my own into one that was more planet-benign. This was a slow learning process, but each area of my life was gradually addressed. My food, water and energy use, transport, waste, recycling etc were each dealt with steadily. It was only later that I came across the concept of environmental auditing and realised that in my own way I had already been carrying out such a process myself.This book enables you to shortcut that learning process, allowing you to implement a ready-made environmental audit of your own life.