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4 July 2018

Are Sustainability accreditations worth the bother?

I spoke on the phone yesterday to the Sustainability Director of a major worldwide brand. She was exasperated as she was in the middle of a four month annual slog to complete the returns for a number of Sustainability accreditations to which the corporation has committed. We mused on the fact that every year was split into 8 months of delivering Sustainability projects and 4 months justifying what they had done. This is clearly an unhealthy ratio of action:bureaucracy.

So why bother?

This topic came up in passing at Monday's Corporate Sustainability Mastermind Group. The consensus of opinion was that standards and accreditations cannot drive Sustainability, but they provide a backstop against backsliding. After all, which board member wants to see a certificate removed from the head office atrium, leaving behind the bright rectangle of shame?

However that breaks both ways – once you are in, you're in, so choose which accreditations to pursue carefully as you don't want the tail wagging the dog for evermore.

 

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7 July 2017

How to choose a Sustainability Accreditation

pencil figure checklistYesterday the Sustainability Masterminds were ensconced in the plush Boudoir of Acklam Hall in Middlesbrough to discuss the thorny topic of Sustainability accreditations – ISO14001, CDP etc. There was a discernible amount of accreditation fatigue in the room. These schemes are a huge drain on resources in terms of approval fees, gathering data and the auditing process. One member joked that he was permanently in one of three states:

  1. Preparing for an audit;
  2. Being audited;
  3. Recovering from an audit.

So it is very important to choose which accreditations to go for carefully. Some are essential, some add value; in some the tail is wagging the dog; others are ill-disguised income generators for Sustainability think tanks, but they all suck up time, money and effort. Another member set out a list of three reasons to plump for a particular accreditation:

  1. Legislation requires it;
  2. An important customer requires/expects it;
  3. It will drive change within your organisation way above and beyond what you could do without it.

If it doesn't meet at least one of these criteria, then forget it – there's no point in collecting expensive badges for the sake of it.

 

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