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Environmental Site Assessments

Assessing the environmental, health and safety issues associated with a site or business

Increasingly, clients are requesting that sustainability, social and governance topics are included as part of their environmental, social and governance commitments

The need to understand the environmental, health and safety issues associated with a site or business can arise for many reasons.

It may be as part of a real estate or corporate transaction, or when arranging insurance, taking or surrendering leases, applying for or surrendering permits, or planning redevelopment works. It may simply be a part of internal risk managementplans or performance improvement initiatives.

Identifying and quantifying environmental, health and safety issues at particular sites has traditionally been achieved by undertaking Phase I Environmental Assessments (“Environmental Audits”). If required, Phase II Environmental Assessments can also be completed.

Increasingly, clients are also requesting that as part of their environmental, social and governance (ESG) commitments, assessments additionally include climate change and other sustainability, social and governance topics.

Phase I Environmental Site Assessments

Phase I Environmental Assessments are designed to provide an initial understanding of whether a site:

  • Has been subject to soil and groundwater contamination
  • Represents a risk of causing future contamination or pollution
  • Contains hazardous materials such as asbestos
  • Is at heightened risk of flooding.

If required, the Phase I Assessment can also include a Limited Compliance Assessment that examines the compliance of the site and its operations with current and reasonably foreseeable environmental, and if requested, health and safety legislation.

Phase I Environmental Assessments include a desk study element. This comprises a review of pertinent historical maps, aerial photographs and records, as well as current regulatory information. Where appropriate, a site visit may also be carried out to gain first-hand understanding of its operations and condition.

Our assessments undertaken in the USA typically follow the requirements of ASTM E1527, to which due regard is paid as relevant in other jurisdictions.

We ensure that the issues we identify are put into context by explaining the likelihood of the issue arising, timescales and the potential cost implications.

Phase II Environmental Site Assessments

In some cases, Phase I Assessments uncover actual or potential contamination of soil or groundwater, and/or development planning or regulatory processes require a baseline on current site conditions. Anthesis can clarify the nature and extent of that contamination risk by undertaking a Phase II Environmental Assessment.

This comprises an intrusive investigation of soil or groundwater, or both if needed. These assessments involve the physical sampling of soils, ground gas and surface and groundwaters, followed by chemical testing and the completion of quantitative risk assessments.

Similarly, Phase I Environmental Assessments may identify risks associated with floods, materials that may contain asbestos, or other potential liability issues. Anthesis can undertake further assessments to clarify the inherent risks.

Anthesis are experienced at delivering such assessments to a consistent standard across the world, often as part of large multi-jurisdictional portfolio assessments. In doing so, we leverage our experience spanning almost every commercial and industrial sector. The sector-specific expertise of our wider Anthesis colleagues allows us to understand new regulatory drivers, such as those covering energy and chemicals regulation.

We also understand the commercial setting into which our reports must fit. The reports are therefore backed by appropriate levels of Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) cover, and disclosure and reliance arrangements. 

Related Insights


I have worked with Anthesis for many years. They have a depth of ESG understanding and expertise, allowing real analysis and advice on the emerging issues that are becoming increasingly material to our clients. What sets them apart is their willingness and ability to apply this, together with technology solutions, to enhance the quality and speed of their reporting.

Paul Davies
Partner, Latham & Watkins
Latham & Watkins

We wanted the ESG screen as we were keen to understand the definition of ESG and to see the criteria you would be using. We were also interested to see how others would view us through this lens. The Anthesis screen provided us a with a “mirror”. The value to Neste was that it confirmed we are on a right track to addressing ESG issues. It also helped us to identify some potential improvement opportunities, several of which we are working on, and others that warrant further evaluation.

Employee, Neste
Neste Corporation

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Anthesis has offices in the U.S., Canada, UK, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, South Africa, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, Andorra, Finland, Colombia, Brazil, China, Australia, Switzerland, Singapore, the Philippines and the Middle East.