The top 13 sustainability certifications for UK businesses

With the world’s governments increasing focus on redressing the climate emergency, growing pressure is being placed on the business community to help transition to a new climate economy.

The problem? Most business owners don’t know where to start.

Governments are enacting new legislation to mandate net zero targets. The UK’s commitment to be net-zero by 2050 will, ultimately, require organisations of all sizes and sectors to transition to zero net carbon emissions as soon as possible,

In June 2021, the G7 nations agreed to mandate climate reporting in line with the recommendations of the global Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). Initially, this would apply to companies with more than 500 employees and more than £500m in annual turnover but many believe it’s a matter of time before all businesses are legally required to set and publicly announce their own targets.

Many of the UK’s six million small to medium-sized companies want to be sustainable but they don’t have the time, expertise or resources to understand and address their social and environmental issues, or carbon emissions.

Business owners already have their hands full with the day-to-day of running their business. Asking them to then transform their whole business model to one that’s sustainable is daunting for many, even when they are willing in theory.

But the pressure on businesses to address their impact is coming from all sides – government, customers, employees, investors, and the community. As a result, more business owners are turning to sustainability certification bodies, such as B Corp, The Ethical Company Organisation, Planet Mark, FutureFit Business, and similar, for guidance.

These organisations offer businesses a roadmap to measure and mitigate their social and environmental impact, with the end goal of being carbon neutral or, even better, carbon negative (which means your company removes more carbon from the atmosphere than it emits via sequestering schemes such as planting trees, mangroves and sea grass). As well, these certifications offer a ‘badge of honour’ so the business can then advertise their sustainability credentials.

What then are the top over-arching sustainability certifications for UK businesses? Here are the Greener Matters top picks, as of August 2021:

(Do you know of a certification body that should be in this list? Let us know!)

Want the links? Here they are:

B Corp, The Ethical Company Organisation, Planet Mark, FutureFit Business, Social Value UK, Good Business Charter, Impact Group , GHG Protocol , SDG Compass , ISO 14001 , UN Global Compact , Responsible 100

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