There is a lot of talk these days of sustainability – becoming sustainable, achieving sustainability, creating sustainable products, and so on. Sustainability can have different meanings, depending on what you are talking about. If your organization is interested in gaining sustainability notoriety, you might be interested in The Institute for Sustainable Development’s Green Plus program. It is a sustainability education program and certification for small businesses and nonprofits. It helps smaller organizations create a sustainability road map based on the triple bottom line, (people, planet, profit), and rewards them for their efforts.
To participate and become certified, companies follow these steps:
Step One: Diagnostic survey
The survey is an 86-question, comprehensive assessment of your organization in the areas of people, planet, and performance.
Step Two: Feedback/Diagnostic Report
Upon submitting the questionnaire, companies receive a Diagnostic Report within 30 days. The report contains targeted, custom feedback from Sustainability Fellows on your organization’s sustainability performance, strengths, weaknesses, and areas of opportunity based on your responses to the survey.
An average score of 40% is required to become a Green Plus Mover and be listed in the National Directory. To qualify for Green Plus certification, you must achieve an overall score of 80% or higher and at least 70% in each category of people, planet, and performance. Additionally, your organization must demonstrate the following: 1) communication of sustainability practices to stakeholders, such as customers and suppliers, 2) employee involvement in sustainability (i.e. incorporate sustainability into the business culture), and 3) mission, vision and values must include a commitment to sustainability. (If your organization meets all conditions so far, it can jump to Step 5.)
Step Three: Create a Sustainability Plan
If an organization falls short in one or more categories, the next step is to review the survey questions and answers and develop an action plan to implement new practices.
Step Four: Implement Changes and Resubmit Diagnostic Survey
The organization implements planned changes and logs back in to their account to update answers and resubmit the Diagnostic Survey.
Step Five: Certification (Possible Pre- or Post-Certification Audit)
A final step prior to Certification is verification of practices. The institute requests documentation of practices and may perform further reviews in person or virtually. Documents requested typically include a business plan, strategic plan, work plan, marketing plan, and a gas, electric, water, and sewer bill. You may choose to share full documents or redacted documents electronically or via other means. The full process takes one to three months. Note that the Institute conducts random site visits both to verify an organization qualifies for certification and after certification to audit companies’ ongoing performance. The Institute for Sustainable Development audits at least 20% of Certified Green Plus™ organizations.
Institute for Sustainable Development
Filed Under: Green engineering