Environmental Impact Assessment and Audit

Program Presentation

In the 70s, companies began to consider the environmental aspects within their production processes. Until then, the damages caused to the environment were not internalized and the environment was considered as an interference, an obstacle within the production process. Nowadays, an organization cannot afford a one-dimensional vision of its productive process, but must take into account a multitude of environmental, social, economic and ethical factors. In this context, due to the existence of normative instruments increasingly rigorous, and also, to the growing tendency to consider the environment as a business opportunity and a marketing tool to differentiate itself from the competition, companies are increasingly investing in their efforts toward the environment protection and sustainable development.

In this sense, the environmental management and auditing and the evaluation of environmental impact assessment (EIA) are the tools most commonly used by companies to ensure their commitment to the environment. Environmental management includes the environmental costs within the company’s production costs by means of an integrated management system in order to optimize the resources and protect the environment, while auditing is a diagnostic tool of the environmental management system. Moreover, the environmental impact study (EIS) is a forecast of the consequences that an activity may cause on the environment from the planning phase of the project up to the stage of dismantling.

From a practical approach, the specialization in Environmental Impact Assessment and Audit provides an ideal example for organizations that require to train comprehensive specialists in the management and evaluation of environmental impact, understanding sustainability, also, as a business opportunity through the resources’ optimization. In particular, guidelines for effectively implementing an Environmental Management System in the company according to the ISO 14001 will be provided and an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) of its activity will be performed through different methodologies, according to the stages established in the legislation in force.

Who is the programme for?

The specialization in Environmental Impact Assessment and Audit is specially designed to satisfy two types of groups:

  • People without a university degree who, because of their personal characteristics or due to their experience, may wish a quality training in this field.
  • Graduates who, in addition to their basic training, want a practical specialization in ISO 14001, ISO 19011 audits and Environmental Impact Assessment in order to be able to expand their career opportunities.

Diploma

Successful completion of the Program will enable you to be awarded the degree in Environmental Impact Assessment and Audit.

After successfully completing the Program, the student will receive the degree as awarded by the University where they have enrolled.

Program Structure

The estimated duration of the specialization in Environmental Impact Assessment and Audit is a minimum of 400 hours (16 credits).

Regarding time distribution:

  • Since it is an on-line specialization, it does not have a specific starting date, so that the student can register at any time, provided that there is enough place.
  • The maximum time available to complete this specialization is six months. During this period of time, the student must have submitted the evaluation tasks that correspond to the three subjects.

The credit and hours structure of the specialization in Environmental Impact Assessment and Audit is shown in the following table:

  ECTS CREDITS DURATION (MONTHS) HOURS (MIN)
Subjects 16 6 400

Objectives

General Objective:

  • Setting the basis for the successful implementation of an environmental management system and to acquire the knowledge necessary to perform an audit and evaluation of environmental impact in any type of business.

Specific objectives:

At the end of the course, the students must be able to:

  • Recognize the importance of integrating the environmental variable in business activities in order to adopt good environmental practices
  • Know subsystems that make up the environment and identify the key aspects to achieve a sustainable development
  • Know the rules, stages involved and documentation necessary for the implementation of ISO 14001 in the company
  • Know the legislative framework and administrative procedure referred to in the EIS and its adaptation to the reality of each country
  • Know the utilities of the environmental audit as a diagnostic tool and the existing types of audits according to the business’ needs
  • Identify the best approach for the implementation of the environmental management system
  • Describe the characteristics of each phase of the audit process according to ISO 19011
  • Know the different types of EIS and identify the elements of process and other technical aspects referred to in stages of the study.

Career Opportunities

Some of the career opportunities of the program of Environmental Impact Assessment and Audit are the following:

  • Responsible for the implementation of an EMS ISO 14001 in the company.
  • Environmental consultant or advisor in topics related to ISO 14001.
  • Technical evaluator of Environmental Impacts.
  • Environmental Technician in city councils.
  • Independent environmental consultant, advisor or specialist.
  • Teaching.

Study Plan

The specialization in Environmental Impact Assessment and Audit is composed of three subjects, including case studies related to this field.

The subjects enable to know and understand, in the first place, the theoretical, conceptual and historical sites involved in the company's environmental management and evaluation of the environmental impacts and, secondly, its organizational, social and technological implementation.

The goal is to get students to acquire a global vision of the company and of the ways of evaluating the environmental impacts, from the sustainable point of view, through different multidisciplinary topics.

The corresponding subjects and hours of the specialization are shown in the following table:

SUBJECTS ECTS CREDITS UNEATLANTICO HOURS (1 CR=25H)*
Environmental Impact Assessment 10 250
Environmental Management System ISO 14001 4 100
Environmental Audits 2 50
TOTAL   400

(*) In the case of the European University of the Atlantic (UNEATLANTICO), 1 credit is divided into 10 hours of classroom work and 15 h of homework.

 

Description of the Subjects

  1. ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT

    It provides a series of definitions necessary to relate and quantify, within the legislation, the different impacts that an activity may cause on the environment, the different classifications of the impacts on the basis of multiple criteria, and according to the ratios that characterize them, the most common methodologies, which will enable to study the possible environmental alterations and, finally, the references to the administrative procedures to be followed for the environmental impact statement.

    SUBJECT CONTENT DESCRIPTORS
    Definitions. Conceptual framework for the evaluation of environmental impact: factor, appearance, and environmental impact. Intrinsic elements in the EIS. The environmental impact study: introduction, project description and consideration of alternatives, impacts identification and assessment, establishment of corrective and preventive measures, monitoring plan and environmental monitoring, and synthesis document
  2. ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT SYSTEM ISO 14001

    Environmental Management Systems (EMS) are described as a tool, which aims to organize and formalize the procedures that the company makes when takes into account the environmental aspects in all its activities. In addition, the steps required for the implementation of this instrument of environmental management are set out in a didactic and clear way. This instrument is aimed at the environment protection and the reduction of the international trade barriers.

    SUBJECT CONTENT DESCRIPTORS
    Business and environment. What is an EMS? What is it for and why is it implemented? Who can implement an EMS? Parties involved in an EMS implementation. How are they implanted? EMS phases: project definition and communication. EMS design. Initial environmental review. Environmental policy. System planning. EMS installation. EMS implementation. Checking the EMS adequacy and compliance. Audit, review and certification. EMS election. ISO 14001. EMS documentation: environmental management manual. Procedures. Instructions and records. Documentation control. Similarities and differences between the Environmental Management System ISO 14001 and the European Union's EMAS Regulation. Global balance of the ISO 14001 implementation. Case Studies. Didactic study of an implementation.
  3. ENVIRONMENTAL AUDITS

    In this topic, the most common terms and concepts used to refer to the Environmental Audits (AMA) are studied. After knowing this instrument of analysis of the environmental management, its objectives, scope, as well as the different types of audits are described. The phases to carry out an Environmental Audit are studied, and an audit manual, which is a very useful tool for handling large amounts of information, is provided to students so they are able to generate their own papers and adapt them to each particular case.

    SUBJECT CONTENT DESCRIPTORS
    Brief history of environmental audits. What is an environmental audit? Why to conduct an environmental audit? Environmental audit objectives. Extent of an audit program. Types of environmental audits. Who performs environmental audits? Disqualification of auditors. Relations between the environmental audits and the environmental impact study. Audit preparation phase. Execution phase. Technical environmental sub-audit. Legal environmental sub-audit. Safety and hygiene environmental sub-audit. Economic-financial environmental sub-audit. Management environmental sub-audit. Information or report phase. ISO 19011. Case study: audit in a company dedicated to food industry. Audit manual.

Management

  • Dr. Eduardo García Villena. Director of the Department of Environment at the International Iberoamerican University (UNINI)

Teaching staff and Authors

  • Dra. José María Redondo Vega. Holder teacher of the Applied Economics Department at the University of Leon.
  • Dra. Cristina Hidalgo González. PhD in Economic and Business Sciences at the University of Leon. Holder teacher of the Applied Economics Department at the University of Leon.
  • Dr. Víctor Jiménez. PhD in Projects Engineering: Environment, Safety, Quality and Communication from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. Teacher at the International Iberoamerican University.
  • Dra. Izel Marez. PhD in Projects Engineering: Environment, Safety, Quality and Communication from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. Teacher at the International Iberoamerican University.
  • Dra. Olga Capó Iturrieta. PhD in Projects Engineering: Environment, Safety, Quality and Communication from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya Responsible for the Area of Projects of the Instituto de Investigaciones Agropecuarias (INIA), Chile.
  • Dra (c). Lina Pulgarín Osorio. PhD in Projects from the Iberoamerican International University (in process). Master’s Degree in Integrated Management: Prevention, Environment and Quality at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. Program coordinator and professor of FUNIBER.
  • Dra (c). Carmen Lilí Rodríguez Velasco. PhD in Education from the Iberoamerican International University (in process). Master’s Degree in Labor and Organizational Psychology at the University of La Havana, Cuba. International Academic Coordinator of the Management Development, Business Organization and Human Resources Area and teacher at FUNIBER.
  • Dr (c). Diego J. Kurtz. PhD in Engineering and Knowledge Management from the PPGEGC - UFSC (in process). Master's Degree in International Business at the Wiesbaden Business School, Germany. Researcher at the Núcleo de Gestão para a Sustentabilidade (www.ngs.ufsc.br) and Junior Researcher of the Proyecto Dynamic SME (www.dynamic-sme.org). Program coordinator and teacher at FUNIBER.
  • Dra (c). Diana Patricia Cortés Díaz. Doctorate in Projects, by the Iberoamerican International University (in process). Master’s Degree in Human Resources and Knowledge Management, University of Leon, Spain. Specialized Consultant in Labor Law and Social Security. Program coordinator and teacher at FUNIBER.
  • Ms. María Eugenia Luna Borgaro. Master’s Degree in Human Resources and Knowledge Management, University of Leon, Spain. Expert in Human Resources and Leadership Skills Management. Teacher at FUNIBER.

FUNIBER Training Scholarships

The Iberoamerican University Foundation (FUNIBER) allocates periodically an extraordinary economic item for FUNIBER Training Scholarships.

To apply, please fill out the information request form that appears in the web of FUNIBER or contact directly the Foundation’s headquarters in your country that will inform you if you need to provide some additional information.

Once the documentation is received, the Evaluation Committee will determine your application's eligibility for the FUNIBER Training Scholarship.