Checking involves measurement, monitoring and evaluation of an organisation's environmental performance. Preventive action should be used to identify and prevent possible problems before they occur. Corrective action consists of identifying and correcting problems in the environmental management system. A process for identifying nonconformity in the environmental management system and taking corrective or preventive action helps an organisation operate and maintain the environmental management system as it intends.
Keeping records and managing them effectively gives the organisation a reliable source of information on the operation and results of the environmental management system. Periodic audits of the environmental management system help the organisation verify that the system is designed and operating according to plan. All of these tools support the evaluation of performance.
Defence Environmental Performance Monitoring and Reporting, defines environmental reporting as ‘the information outputs of the system’, delivered in a format to:
Defence’s environmental monitoring activities are driven by the need to fulfil its reporting requirements. Note that on-base monitoring and measurement (e.g. water sampling, biodiversity monitoring) forms only a part of environmental monitoring. The centralised relational database provided by GEMS would allow strategic level stakeholders such as DESI to monitor tactical and operational level workflow data (e.g. is number of ‘very high’ risks reducing or growing?) in order to determine how environmental management processes are functioning. This is an important mechanism for driving the full EMS cycle depicted in Figure 3 (i.e. linkage between both management cycles).