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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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14 October 2016

Hey! It's World Standards Day!!!

CalendarHold onto your hats folks, it's finally that one day of the year that we can celebrate the most unlikely of causes, the humble ISO standard. But, hold on, should we not document how we should celebrate before we celebrate?

Now, sarcasm aside, environmental standards do help on the move to Sustainability by raising the game of the poorest performers. But, in the same way you could get an ISO9000 quality standard for a concrete lifejacket (as long as it meets its specification), ISO14001, as one wag put it, lets us destroy the planet in a well-documented manner. Management standards are about process, not results.

It bothers me that they give businesses a false sense of security. This morning I clicked on the 'Sustainability' tab of a local manufacturer and found endless references to ISO14001. That's all well and good, I thought, but where are the results? When I dug around, they had done some interesting stuff, so why not promote that? Why not set out some ambitious Sustainability goals? Or put some product stories first?

Most people take ISO14001 as read in a modern forward-looking company. It's what you do above and beyond that which will make you stand out from the crowd.


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3 October 2014

How Is ISO14001 Changing? Interview with Marek Bidwell

In this very special edition of Ask Gareth, I get to ask the questions! I have been asked about the forthcoming changes to ISO14001, and to cover up my ignorance, I invited my friend, colleague and ISO-geek Marek Bidwell to outline what will happen and when.

You can see all editions of Ask Gareth by clicking here.

If you'd like to send a question to Ask Gareth fire away!


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