Why should a business get an environmental certification in the UK?

In today’s environmentally conscious climate, obtaining an environmental certification is essential for UK businesses aiming to demonstrate environmental stewardship and compliance with sustainable business practices. This step not only enhances corporate social responsibility but also brings numerous operational benefits.

The importance of environmental certification for UK businesses

Environmental certification ensures adherence to environmental management systems, leading to significant energy efficiency improvements and carbon footprint reduction. Certifications also align with UK green policies and provide a structured approach to sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Overview of environmental challenges in the UK

The UK faces a number of environmental challenges, including climate change, pollution, waste management, and biodiversity loss. Addressing these issues requires businesses to adopt eco-friendly business models and engage in sustainable resource use. Environmental certifications help businesses tackle these challenges effectively by implementing structured environmental management systems.

Key environmental legislation impacting UK businesses

UK businesses must comply with various environmental laws, such as the Climate Change Act, Environmental Protection Act, and Waste Management Regulations. Adhering to these laws through environmental certification ensures businesses meet regulatory requirements, thus avoiding fines and enhancing compliance with UK environmental laws.

ISO 14001: The global standard for environmental Management

ISO 14001 is the international standard for environmental management systems, providing a framework for effective environmental policy integration. By obtaining ISO 14001 certification, UK businesses can systematically reduce their environmental impact, improve waste management and reduction, and engage in continuous improvement in environmental performance.

 Understanding different types of environmental certifications in the UK

The UK offers a range of environmental certifications, each catering to specific aspects of environmental stewardship such as:

  • BREEAM: Focuses on the sustainability of buildings
  • ECOsmart: The leading sustainability certification for hotels, meeting venues, serviced apartments and travel and event agencies
  • EMAS: A comprehensive environmental management scheme
  • ISO 14001: The global standard for environmental management systems
  • Carbon Trust Standard: Recognises carbon footprint reduction efforts
  • LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design): Promotes sustainable building practice

The business benefits of being environmentally certified

Environmental certification provides numerous advantages, from operational efficiencies to enhanced market reputation.

Energy saving and carbon footprint reduction

Certified businesses often achieve significant energy savings and carbon footprint reductions through the adoption of renewable energy usage and energy-efficient technologies. This not only contributes to climate change mitigation strategies but also leads to substantial cost savings.

 Enhancing brand reputation and consumer trust

Eco-labelling and green certifications enhance a business’s brand reputation, fostering consumer trust. Customers increasingly prefer companies that demonstrate a commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainable business practices, leading to increased market share and customer loyalty.

 Costsaving benefits of environmental certification

Environmental certification can lead to cost savings in a number of ways:

  • Reduced energy consumption: Implementing energy efficiency in business operations lowers utility bills
  • Waste management and reduction: Improved waste management practices reduce disposal costs
  • Resource efficiency: Sustainable resource use minimises material costs
  • Green business incentives in the UK: Certified businesses can access financial incentives and grants aimed at promoting green practices.

How to obtain environmental certification in the UK: A step-by-step guide

  1. Conduct an environmental risk assessment: Identify key environmental impacts and risks associated with your operations
  2. Develop an environmental policy: Outline your commitment to environmental management and sustainable practices
  3. Implement Environmental Management Systems (EMS): Adopt standards like ISO 14001 or EMAS
  4. Engage stakeholders: Involve employees, suppliers and customers in your sustainability efforts
  5. Monitor and report: Regularly track environmental performance and report findings through corporate environmental reporting
  6. Continuous improvement: Use feedback and data to continually enhance your environmental practices.

The long-term impact of environmental certification on business growth

Environmental certification supports long-term business growth by fostering innovation, improving operational efficiency, and building a resilient brand. It aligns business practices with sustainable development goals, ensuring that the company remains competitive in a market increasingly focused on sustainability.

The Greengage sustainability certification

Greengage stands at the forefront of environmental and sustainability expertise, offering tailored solutions to help businesses achieve their green goals. Their ECOsmart certification helps hotels, meeting venues and serviced apartments improve their sustainability practices, assessing venues on criteria such as energy efficiency, waste management, and sustainable sourcing. By guiding organisations through this rigorous process, Greengage ensures that certified venues not only meet high environmental standards but also implement best practices that promote long-term sustainability. This certification underscores a commitment to eco-friendly operations, enhancing the certified venue’s market appeal and operational efficiency.

 ECOsmart is increasingly recognised as the credible and affordable certification that organisations can display to demonstrate their commitment to environmental sustainability and achievement of recognised standards.

The ECOsmart certification for hotels and meeting venues reviews over 150 criteria and awards a venue from Bronze to Platinum. It involves four quick, simple and intuitive steps:

  1. Registering the venue on the ECOsmart portal and adding the venue’s profile
  2. Completing the online survey using the ECOsmart online system
  3. Submitting the completed survey which is reviewed by Greengage’s team of experts and the award level is confirmed
  4. Downloading the certification and showcasing the venue’s sustainability achievement.

ECOsmart is the only certification that continually recognises a venue’s sustainability improvements, upgrading their ECOsmart certification level accordingly. An ECOsmart account manager is available for questions and advice and plans a regular call with each venue. Additionally, all ECOsmart certified properties receive regular informational and educational communications.

For hotel chains there is a Group function on the portal that enables a head office to input information that is generic to the whole group (for example a documented group CSR policy). All venues are re-assessed every 12 months.

Greengage also has an ECOsmart certification to help travel and event agencies demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and ensure they have the right sustainable proposition in place to satisfy clients and stakeholders. The streamlined process helps organisations navigate the complexities of environmental and social responsibility. From a detailed consultation to comprehensive assessments and tailored sustainability strategies, Greengage supports the organisation through every step of the certification process.

Steps for certification:

  1. Initial consultation
  2. Completion of the ECOsmart survey
  3. Greengage conduct a gap analysis
  4. Agree a plan of prioritised, practical steps
  5. Greengage review the organisations’s progress and advise on further achievables
  6. A tailored roadmap is crafted with clear steps, guiding the organisation towards certification
  7. After a final assessment, a comprehensive sustainability report is produced
  8. The organisation receives their ECOsmart certification
  9. A review and plan update is conducted annually to ensure the organisation stays at the forefront of sustainability.

Success stories of ECOsmart certified businesses

Achieving ECOsmart certification is a significant milestone for venues, highlighting their commitment to sustainable practices and environmental responsibility. This prestigious certification not only enhances a venue’s reputation but also attracts eco-conscious clients and customers, boosting business opportunities. The success stories of ECOsmart certified venues often showcase innovative approaches to energy conservation, waste reduction, and sustainable sourcing. For the organisations, this certification means a tangible validation of their efforts to reduce their environmental footprint, fostering a culture of sustainability and inspiring others in the industry to follow suit. Some testimonials from the many success stories include:

 Helping Inntel on their sustainability journey through ECOsmart Agency Certification and with the Greengage CO2 Toolkit…

“Inntel has been working in partnership with Greengage for two years now and they have been instrumental in accelerating and scaling up our ESG commitments, not only for our own business but for the stakeholders in our sphere of influence; our clients and suppliers. They have been incredibly consultative, and solutions are bespoke to our particular business and targets.”

 Helping arrangeMY on their sustainability journey through ECOsmart Agency Certification, and with the Greengage CO2 Toolkit…

“arrangeMY have been working with Greengage for several years now and are proud to be a certified agency. Brilliant support and advice that is relevant to our industry. Every dealing we have had with Greengage has been knowledgeable and professional. We like working with the team and consider their know-how to be the best in the business.”

Helping Warwick Conferences through the ECOsmart Hotels and Venues Certification…

 “Warwick Conferences have been working with Greengage since 2020. From the outset, it’s evident that Greenage was the right company to partner with on our sustainability journey. The certification process itself was thorough, and the support offered by the Greengage team was excellent. Receiving the ECOsmart Platinum status has already had a positive impact on our team’s morale and motivation. It serves as a source of pride, reinforcing the hard work and dedication that our team has contributed. We are grateful for the acknowledgment and excited about the positive impact it will undoubtedly have on our company’s sustainable journey ahead.”

Helping Manchester City, Etihad Stadium through the ECOsmart Hotels and Venues Certification…

 “Manchester City Football Club recently achieved Platinum level with Greengage’s ECOsmart sustainability certification for the Etihad Stadium. The data collection process was straightforward and efficient, thanks to the ECOSmart user-friendly online portal. The Club was also impressed by the support from the ECOsmart team, including their on-site visit.

One of our key objectives is to expand our events business on non-match days. ECOsmart are able to assist in connecting us with corporate clients through their relationships with event agencies and venue directories. A key feature of the ECOsmart experience is their commitment to ongoing support, which goes beyond ‘just having a certificate’. This aligns perfectly with our own ethos of continuous improvement”.

The true value of environmental certification for UK businesses

The value of environmental certification for UK businesses extends far beyond mere compliance with regulations; it encapsulates a strategic advantage in a progressively eco-conscious market. Certification serves as a badge of credibility, signalling to customers, partners, and stakeholders that a business is committed to sustainable practices. This not only strengthens brand loyalty and enhances market positioning but also drives operational efficiencies through reduced resource consumption and waste.

The journey towards certification involves understanding environmental challenges, navigating the certification process, and continuously improving environmental performance.

With the right strategies and commitment, businesses can make a significant positive impact on the environment while achieving their growth objectives.

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