By Kristina Sink, Green House Data
Environmentally conscious individuals are one thing, but having corporations be sustainability minded is even more significant. Whether they are impacting the environment for the better or, in most cases, for the worse, corporations have a huge effect.
Businesses making an impact for the better can be easily identified by the certifications and partnerships that they have achieved through voluntarily meeting higher standards for the responsibility they have shown, and the transparency they maintained when implementing environmental consciousness practices for their business operations. This distinguishes them as part of the better way to do business.
GREEN BUSINESS BUREAU
This is a green business certification that combines industry-leading online platforms with on-site support for businesses’ green practices. There are many steps that a company must go through in order to prove they are Green Business Bureau certified. The first is they have to complete the rigorous assessment of their company and its practices. Then they must create a corporate sustainability vision statement, display the Environmental Compliance Poster, organize an office Green Team, and conduct a kick-off meeting to review Assessment results and recommendations for the company. Afterwards the company will be provided with step-by-step instruction on adopting specific initiatives to help with their green efforts.
This certification requires businesses to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. It also requires an Impact Assessment, which will assess the overall impact of that specific company on its stakeholders. Businesses seeking this certification must provide supporting documentation demonstrating the practices of the company, and protect their mission by meeting legal requirements to ensure that no changes in the organization will affect its sustainability practices.
EPA GREEN POWER PARTNERSHIP
This is another voluntary program that encourages organizations to use green power as a way to reduce the environmental impact associated with conventional electricity use, which signifies that the company’s green power use meets nationally accepted standards in terms of size, content, and resource base. The assessment qualifications are based upon the company’s base load and how that corresponds to the amount of green energy being used. For example, one of their requirements is that a company with a base load less than or equal to a million kilowatts per hour must, at a minimum, use 20% in green energy sources.
LEADERSHIP IN ENERGY & ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN
LEED is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices. They seek to transform the way people think about how buildings and communities are designed, constructed, maintained, and operated across the globe. Businesses certified through LEED save money and resources while continuing to have a positive impact on the health of residents and promote renewable, clean energy. There are several types and levels of certifications that a company can obtain through LEED, each requiring different prerequisites.
INDIVIDUALS CAN PLAY A PART
Other than these specific certifications and partnerships, there are many others out there, even some specific to countries, states, and cities. They all have diverse meanings and requirements, so make sure to do some homework on a corporation before deciding to do business with them.
Businesses will make it known that they have these certifications by displaying trusted eco-labels and badges on their website or maybe even in their commercial buildings; these businesses worked hard for those badges, and want to ensure that consumers know.
Do your part by purchasing from certified environmentally conscious businesses.