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Saving Time and Money with ISO 14000 Remote Internal Audits


ISO 14001 has two main categories of audits; internal and external. Internal audits, an ISO 14001 requirement, are both a key component for becoming ISO certified and critical to the success of an environmental management system (EMS). Internal audits can be conducted in two different ways depending on time and financial constraints:

  • On-site audits are performed in full days. The number of days needed for an audit depends on several factors including size, complexity, risk, and nature of an organization.

  • Remote audits may be performed virtually using web meetings, teleconferencing, or electronic verification of processes. Remote audits are less common and but can be just as effective as on-site audits.

Internal audits, either on-site or remote, are a self-examination of an organization’s EMS. Internal audits are used to compare your EMS to ISO 14000 requirements and identify non-conformances, evaluate the effectiveness of your EMS, and identify opportunities for improvement. The internal auditor must be independent of the area being audited to ensure objective results.


An outside consultant often assumes this role to ensure objectivity. Internal audits also have the benefit of preparing an organization for an external (certification) audit.


A remote internal audit is conducted wholly or partially off-site. It involves using IT to gather information, conduct interviews, and “tour” production areas to verify processes. For example, it will invariably involve web meetings. When it is not possible to verify the effectiveness of some processes remotely, a partial on-site internal audit may be scheduled.


Remote auditing is increasingly common. In fact, ISO released guidelines in 2018 for conducting remote internal audits. Inevitably, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of remote audits, but they are more than just a temporary workaround.

Advantages of Remote Internal Audits

Many companies are finding that remote audits save time and money. Conducting an internal audit remotely may also be good preparation for handling a remote, external audit. Among the advantages of remote audits are:

  • Greater flexibility in scheduling audits;

  • Increased focus during audit time;

  • Limited disruption to operations; and

  • Savings on auditor travel expenses

CFR Environmental has been helping industrial clients navigate the maze of compliance procedures for over 25 years. Contact CFR if your organization is interested in discussing an internal remote ISO 14000 audit that will save you time and money.