The significant cost of environmental clean-up/rehabilitation, regulatory compliance with statutory provisions and best practice standards are paramount to, inter alia, business transactions. Companies are often exposed to hidden liabilities in a target company’s assets, because of their past and present operating practices. Environmental liabilities, especially those caused through long-term gradual contamination can remain for extended periods of time and can result in significant costs.

An environmental due diligence audit is a procedure for investigation, evaluating and making conclusions on actual or potential environmental liabilities and risks in a transactional setting. Environmental Due Diligence is both a legal and technical exercise which entails a site and organisational assessment of historical operational and legislative records; current operational activities, site survey and authorisations; historical and current legislative framework for the operation(s); interviews with employees; and competent authority requirements.

A due diligence allows for the following:

  • Identifying, at an early stage, environmental issues and risks;
  • Evaluating the likely costs and determining whether to proceed with the transaction, and to identify the grounds upon which to do so;
  • Revealing how, from an environmental perspective, the target was managed
  • It is an invaluable tool, as the information obtained can be used in the on-going management of the target; and
  • Identifying, not only current environmental issues, but also those that will cause future responsibilities.


The objectives of a due diligence audit are to investigate all matters or issues, which have the potential to impact on a decision to purchase the target company’s assets. The objectives include:

  • Assess and allocate risks associated with environmental aspects;
  • To quantify the identified environmental risks; and
  • To establish a baseline environmental condition of the area in question.

GCS’ employees are accomplished environmental scientists and are well equipped to give an organisation the best advice in terms of environmental due diligence investigations. GCS has the skills available to assess the organisation’s operations and identify and/or assess the relevant environmental aspects and impacts of the operation in order to advise on environmental liabilities and risks.