Environmental Auditing in a Nutshell – The Role of the Icelandic National Audit Office in Environmental Auditing

The purpose of this report is to introduce environmental auditing and to form a basis for the Icelandic National Audit Office’s continued work in this policy area. The report provides a thorough account of the nature, history, methodology, projects and various characteristics of environmental auditing. Among other things, it describes the three basic categories of environmental auditing: the assessment of what has been achieved in particular environmental projects, of their economy and of the enforcement of law and regulations concerning this policy area.
It is natural that the Icelandic National Audit Office performs all of these chief environmental auditing functions. The National Audit Act No. 86/1997 stipulates the Office’s authority to examine “to what extent the government implements plans, legal instructions and obligations within the scope of environmental affairs”. The environmental audits performed by the Icelandic National Audit Office in recent years include, among other things, an audit of Iceland’s performance as a member of the OSPAR Convention for the Protection of the Northeast Atlantic, an audit of the Icelandic Forest Service, and an audit of legislation regarding green accounting and its implementation. Forthcoming environmental audits will deal with regional forestry projects and salmon farming.

As environmental auditing is an international discipline, the report describes, to some degree, the manner in which other countries have implemented it and related projects. Particular attention is paid to countries that have been instrumental in the development of the discipline, are at its forefront, and are geographically closest to Iceland. It is natural for the Icelandic National Audit Office to take account of the experience of these countries. At the end of the report, a list is provided of Icelandic laws and regulations concerning the environment, environmental standards, the international environmental agreements to which Iceland is a party, and important international conventions.