The world needs all the environmentally-supportive programs it can get.

That said, this article on the struggles of a small program (approximately 1% as large as our standard) is a good backdrop for us to re-state what we believe in and deliver.

Per this master class, there are 8 components of a sustainability program thta will be successful and make you happy:


  • It MUST include Employee Performance / Health
    • Sustainability is not just about energy savings or ‘Greening Up’, it is about people
    • For most businesses, the employees are one of the biggest costs, one of the biggest risks (mistakes, insurance, law suits) and one of the biggest opportunities (new ideas, collaboration, product knowledge)
    • Every organization suffers from the Big 5 – insomnia, stress, anxiety, physical pain, mental acuity
    • You are losing 5% of your corporate profit/year to the Big 5
    • It takes a lot of LEDs to make up for one worker comp or workplace violence case
    • Make sure your program has a ‘people piece’ that addresses employee performance, health and happiness


  • It MUST certify the business not the box
    • People care about things that involve people
    • Most building (ie, ‘Box’) certifications only care about building energy
    • Building certifications are expensive and hard to market (poor ROI)
    • You want to say, “Buy more of my product because we are a certified sustainable business”
    • You do not get much value from, “Buy more of my product because we are in an energy efficient building”
    • You want the certification on your business, not the building your business is in


  • It MUST have a 3rd party audit component
    • Oversight delivers credibility and trust
    • From passing your driving test, to getting your college diploma, to passing a bar exam, we use 3rd parties to ensure compliance
    • There are many sustainability programs that deliver a certification based on your ‘word’…..and your payment
    • Don’t do it!
    • Make sure the program you choose uses a 3rd party to validate your work


  • It MUST follow a respected and integrated global standard
    • The sustainability industry is maturing and coalescing around few standards
    • The UN has created its SDGs (17 sustainability development goals)
    • 50% of the world’s economies require sustainability reporting
    • Greenwashing lawsuits are growing
    • Don’t pick a program that is not globally respected by, and integrated with, the world leadership groups; and that does not have the ability to integrate the other three legs of the stool – carbon neutrality, ESG and net zero
    • No reason to spend the time and money, then find you are not following the same programs and protocols that the leadership groups have adopted


  • It MUST include promotion of the certification
    • Historically, sustainability has been a cost-side play
    • Most programs and providers have been 100% trained and focused on cost-side measures – energy reduction, carbon reduction, waste reduction, water reduction, travel reduction (ie, engineering)
    • But we know consumers are searching for certified sustainable companies
    • If you don’t talk about being certified sustainable they will never know you are (ie, marketing)
    • You want a program provider that is built to do the cost-side work AND the revenue-side work; and helps you promote your certification


  • It MUST pursue continual improvement
    • Sustainability is not finite. It requires long-term commitment
    • But…change is hard for all of us
    • If the bar is set too high, we can get frustrated and give up
    • You want a program that lets you come as you are and allows you to continually improve
    • This will keep everyone happy and committed year after year


  • It MUST require annual updates
    • Current = credible
    • Sustainability is not finite; we need to continually improve
    • You don’t want a program that does not have a date attached to its certification
    • You want to continually improve, see your success, and annually update your certification to show you are current and credible in your actions


  • It MUST be at a price you can afford and produce a positive ROI
    • We could have started with cost but you need the above seven components at a price you can afford
    • It needs to show a positive and rapid ROI
    • The cost includes both money and time and covers everything – the certification, the 3rd party audit and your work to become certified


As stated, we deliver all eight components mentioned above to our clients.

We enjoy a 100% client renewal rate – every year, every client has a decision to make and every year, every client has renewed.

If you use a program that delivers all of the above, you will probably be happy too.