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Environmental and social risk management

Environmental and social risks are generally managed within the organisation's wider risk management framework. Information about HNO's business risk management can be found on the HIP risk page and the HNO project management risk page.

Environmental and social risk can be defined as 'a combination of the probability of a certain hazard occurring and the severity of impacts resulting from such an occurrence. Environmental and social impacts refer to any change, potential or actual, to (i) the physical, natural, or cultural environment, and (ii) impacts on surrounding community'[1].

Environmental and Social impacts can have significant effects both to the natural environment and human communities concerned as well as negative reputational and legal effects on the Agency.

Project development

Consideration of risk and the application of risk management should begin at the earliest possible point in the project lifecycle. We have developed the following tools to help identify environmental and social risks during project development:

  • The environmental and social responsibility screen must be completed during the indicative business case and updated during the detailed business case.
  • MapHub maps can help identify the location of important human health, ecological, and heritage features. 
  • Technical assessments completed by subject matter experts should also help identify environmental and social risks during project development. 

Depending on their associated severity and probability, environmental and social risks identified through the above tools may require the risk to be included in the projects Activity Risk File. SM030 and SM032 require the provision of a risk management related contract deliverables from the supplier. These are defined within Z/44 and are to be held within the Activity Risk File (ARF).

Project implementation and maintenance

During project implementation (for a capital project) and during operation and maintenance activities. Environmental and social management plans are an important tool we use to manage environmental and social risk. Similarly, environmental and social risks identified may need to be included in the projects Activity Risk File in the case of a capital project and the environmental risk register contained in the NOC ESMP for maintenance contracts. Legal compliance is managed through the Transport Agency’s Consent compliance management system (CSVue).

Accidental discovery protocols

Accidental discovery protocols can help ensure that the correct procedures are followed if there is a discovery of heritage, cultural, ecological (ie threatened species) or contamination significance. These protocols will generally be included in the relevant environmental and social management plan. However in some circumstances should be directly referenced in contract documentation

Further guidance

The role of the EUD team is to provide technical support in the development of these tools and review of outputs where appropriate (eg review/audit ESMPs or project risk registers/activity files).


[1] Based on International Finance Corporation Environmental and Social Performance Standard 1: Assessment and Management of Environmental and Social Risks and Impacts. January 2012. http://www.ifc.org

For further information contact environment@nzta.govt.nz.

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