Heather Moore, supply chain technical director for sustainability at LRQA – which is sponsoring the IEMA Connect 2021 member conference – talks to Chris Seekings about her work delivering certification and verification for clients worldwide.
Tell us about LRQA and the services you provide?
We are a leading global assurance provider, made up of technical experts and auditors, who are accredited to deliver certification for clients. We will look at their management systems and certify them against various standards, such as ISO 14001 or ISO 45001. But assurance also involves verification. We verify clients' environmental, social and governance (ESG) claims surrounding their greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption, or waste and energy outputs, also social and safety. We will make sure what they put in their sustainability reports is a correct representation of what they're doing. We also do cybersecurity work and other inspections related to sustainability.
Why is your work so important?
We have been involved in sustainability since the beginning many decades ago, writing bespoke standards and providing verification for clients in the oil and gas, hospitality and manufacturing industries, all over. But there has been this huge explosion in demand for companies to report their ESG data and set targets against it. Even within the last year in the run up to COP26, that has grown exponentially, with clients realising that they need to be aware of their environmental impact and considering it in their risk management. Investors are demanding it from companies, and CEOs know that they need to be looking at sustainability metrics and risks. It is maybe the most critical task of this century.
What is involved in verification?
Clients are typically looking for verification of their greenhouse gas emissions, but also other data. We look at what they have reported, look at their inventory, we do a risk assessment of that inventory and check their data. That could involve looking through invoices, metre readings or calibration records. Similar to financial auditing, there are different levels of assurance we can provide, limited assurance or reasonable assurance. Which one they choose will determine how deep we dive into the data. It can take anywhere from a month and a half, to longer depending on what they need. We review at their audit trail and interview those involved, making sure they have calculated things correctly and are reporting on all their material sources. We will then issue the findings and provide clients an assurance statement, which they typically put at the end of their sustainability reports, on their websites, and use for reporting to CDP and other organisations.
What advice would you give to IEMA members looking to review their company's assurance programme?
IEMA members might be involved in helping their own companies or clients prepare ESG data, which could be anywhere from a simple spreadsheet, to multiple platforms collecting utility bill and energy use data from all their facilities globally. The companies that are most successful are the ones that have defined processes with clear audit trails, even as simple as making sure that the units they use are correct. In almost every verification we do, there is a finding about incorrect units, no matter how mature the system is. Companies that have a system of quality assurance before we get there are generally more successful. It could be as simple as having someone review their work, or having a set of checks and balances within the organisation. The other challenge we see when getting through verification is making sure that any evidence we request is ready and attainable.
Why are you sponsoring the IEMA Connect 2021 member conference?
This event is for environment and sustainability professionals to discuss the latest issues, which is aligned with our focus on supporting clients to build safer, more secure and sustainable businesses. Sponsoring this event will showcase what we can do with environmental management certification and sustainability services. The world is demanding accountability, which is the primary focus of LRQA. The LRQA team is looking forward to meeting as many attendees as possible through the event platform to hear all about your projects, objectives, challenges and thoughts around sustainability, environmental management, supply chain assurance and how we can help you find the right solution for a focus area in your business.
About Heather Moore
Heather Moore, P.E. is LRQA’s supply chain sustainability technical director where she supports sustainability products and helps clients achieve their goals in ESG assurance. She joined LRQA 10 years ago as a lead auditor/verifier, providing assessment and verification services for greenhouse gas emissions and other sustainability data, ISO 14001, and social auditing schemes. She has since held various roles with LRQA related to management, training auditors and verifiers, running second-party audit schemes for global companies, and leading complex verifications.
Her 16+ years of practice experience in the environmental field have taken her to landfills, power plants, cruise ships, upstream and downstream oil and gas operations, chemical plants, hotels, agricultural operations, and various manufacturing facilities. She received a B.S. in civil engineering from Purdue University.
LRQA, formerly part of Lloyd’s Register, is a leading global assurance provider bringing together expertise in certification, verification, cybersecurity, inspection and training – to help its customers negotiate a rapidly changing world. Operating in more than 120 countries and recognised by over 30 accreditation bodies worldwide, LRQA covers almost every sector, helping customers around the world to manage risk.