Chapter 10. Monitoring and Review

So far, you’ve formed or assigned a team to lead the effort. You have developed your ESMS and started to implement your action plans in response to the risks and impacts you identified. You’ve started to train people. The next step is to monitor the effectiveness of your ESMS and your action plans and make the necessary adjustments.


average working hours and wages paid;
wages levels;
incidences of child labor;
incidences of disciplinary complaints; and
employee demographics matching access to training, jobs, and wages.

Monitoring measures intent, implementation and effectiveness


1. Are the nine elements of the ESMS in place?


2. Are the action plans being carried out?

3. Are procedures being followed?


4. Are you in compliance with laws and regulations?

5. Are you making progress toward your overall objectives and targets?

6. How is the environmental and social performance of the company in general?



A key aspect of monitoring is defining relevant indicators. These are quantitative or qualitative measures of progress against set goals. Some indicators might focus on performance, evaluated against the criteria defined in your environmental and social policy.

Some examples of key performance indicators could be:

• emissions to air;

• rawwater quality;

• volume of solid waste disposal;

• water consumption;

• liquid effluents discharge;

• energy consumption;

• accidents, injuries, illnesses;

• emergency response incidents;

• average working hours and wages paid;

• wages levels;

• incidences of child labor;

• incidences of disciplinary complaints; and

• employee demographics matching access to training, jobs, and wages.

You can also use this information when reporting to a wider public on your ESMS performance. When selecting your key performance indicators, you may refer to voluntary guidelines such as the Food Processing Supplement of the Global Reporting Initiative, which provides a list of indicators relevant to the food and beverage industry.

Other indicators can look at the processes or inputs that you use to try to achieve performance.

For example, in your action plan, you might have included worker training as a necessary step to raise awareness among workers about OHS, so that they can help to identify and address key risks and hazards. In this case, you might evaluate your progress against the action plan by tracking the percentage of workers who have been trained, or the percentage of workers who can correctly describe the risk analysis procedure.

Some examples of process indicators include:

• procedures in place for chemical, fuel and hazardous waste handling, storage, and disposal;

• processes analyses for water and energy conservation;

• percentage of workers who can explain the complaint resolution mechanism;

• percentage of workers who can explain the health and safety procedures;

• percentage of workers trained on labor standards requirements; and

• communications from stakeholders.

It is helpful to have a mix of performance and process indicators, to get a deeper understanding of whether you are measuring the appropriate things and whether you are taking the appropriate actions. For example, a performance indicator such as “zero incidences of child labor” does not tell the full story: Was this the result of effective procedures and training or was the system inadequate in identifying and recording incidences?

suitcasesmall.jpg Look at the Monitoring Plans in the Toolkit and Case Studies for more examples of key indicators common in the Food and Beverage industry.



Monitoring and auditing are words that are often used interchangeably, which can be confusing. Auditing is a formal, on-site evaluation against a specific set of criteria. Audits can be conducted internally by your own staff or by outside parties. Monitoring is an umbrella term that includes various methods for evaluating performance. This can include: visual observation, measuring and testing, questionnaires, surveys, interviews with employees and external stakeholders, and document review. It is important to design your monitoring program to get qualitative and quantitative

suitcasesmall.jpg Look at the Toolkit item Auditing Guidance for guidelines on how to conduct an audit.



While your Action Plan monitoring looks at whether corrective actions are being implemented and are achieving the intended results, your ESMS monitoring is looking at the maturity of your system development and implementation. The Action Plan lists new actions you are taking to address risks. But for the new actions to be sustainable, you also need to improve your ESMS. The two need to be linked.

This Handbook’s companion publication ESMS Self-Assessment and Improvement Guide provides you with a practical tool to monitor the maturity of your ESMS. For each of the nine ESMS elements, we provide self-assessment questions that show you the level of your ESMS development and implementation on a scale of 0 to 5 (5 is the highest). Conducting the ESMS self-assessment is an important first step that enables you to see where you stand now. The results form the basis of your ESMS Improvement Plan. The ESMS self-assessment responses should be based on Visual Observation, Measuring or Testing, Document Review and Interviewing People.

Let’s take another look at the nine elements of the ESMS and maturity ratings.




It is important to understand the link between the Action Plan and the ESMS Improvement Plan. The Action Plan lists specific projects and activities. The ESMS Improvement Plan is about making system improvements needed to support the activities and to make the necessary changes in how the company operates.

Improving environmental and social performance and integrating it into your routine business operations takes time. The improvement plan for your ESMS needs to be practical. It needs to be designed with the understanding that people have their core operating responsibilities in your company. You cannot improve everything at once. The ESMS Team plays the critical role of leading the improvement effort. Prioritizing what to work on first is an important job for the team in coordination with senior management. The ESMS Self-Assessment and Improvement Guide will help you to get started.


The purpose of the management review is to routinely involve senior management in evaluating the development and implementation of the ESMS. The management review is led by the ESMS Team. In the beginning, we recommend conducting a management review every three to six months. Once the ESMS is well-established, once a year is usually fine. It is important to keep a written record (called minutes) during the meeting of the key topics discussed and the decisions made. The minutes should be kept in a central log.

For the ESMS Team, the management review is an important opportunity to keep senior management involved. Remember, the sustainability of the program requires ongoing commitment from senior management.


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