Organizations choose to become “certified” sustainable for many reasons. Here are four –

Desire to follow a globally accepted standard

Desire to maximize profit, via the revenue gain from market acceptance

Desire to impact valuation

Desire to enhance employee performance, health and happiness

Years of seeing ads saying “Our toothpaste will give you the whitest white” have numbed us to exaggerations in promotion and advertising.  Regardless of the type of claim, according to Nielsen, +80% of us no longer believe an organization’s claims if not accompanied by 3rd party certification.

Given that corporate sustainability is in such demand by consumers, the number of organizations exaggerating their sustainability status is significant.  Consumers tend to be sensitive to corporate sustainability claims and reject organizations that claim to be sustainable, if they do not have a certification.

Here is an easy way to evaluate sustainability certification programs.  If you desire any of the above four objectives, you should seek:

  • A certification program that uses a 3rd party to audit the work. A sustainability certification program that does not use a 3rd party to audit and verify the work is seldom recognized by the market.
  • To certify your business, not just your building.  Your organization is an entity, a brand. You want to promote your organization’s achievement, not a building’s achievement.   
  • A program that is broader than just energy reduction.  It needs to include how people and the environment co-exist, in order to be a sustainability program and maximize the consumer response to you.
  • A program that requires progressive improvement and renews annually.  One-off programs, that do not include progressive improvement, are not well regarded by the market.
  • A globally-recognized program that is used around the world.  We are a global society. You want your sustainability certification to be acknowledged and appreciated by everyone.

If you follow this guide, and become certified with a sustainability program that meets these criteria, you will be pleased with the internal and external benefits as you will be following a globally-proven standard that is successful, credible, and rewarded by the global community.

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