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Home » Sustainable Living » Sustainability certification is the first step on a business’s path to net zero

Jonathan Withey

Director of Transformation and ESG, Planet Mark

Businesses increasingly understand that sustainability certification can drive brand value and put them on the path to net zero.

Some companies may have thought of third-party sustainability certification as a tick box exercise: something they needed to pay lip service to society. Those days are long gone, says Jonathan Withey, Director of Transformation and ESG at Planet Mark, an organisation that quantifies and independently verifies a firm’s carbon and social value.  

Domino effect of sustainability 

Now, every forward-thinking company understands the moral and commercial imperative of sustainability certification because it demonstrates a commitment to driving change, supports bids and tenders and communicates a culture of sustainable practice to internal and external stakeholders.  

“The business case for sustainability certification has never been greater,” explains Withey. “First, companies want to do it because they know it’s the right thing to do. Second, there’s pressure coming from bigger players. Smaller companies that work with large corporates are being told: ‘You need to measure and reduce your carbon footprint so that we can hit our carbon reduction targets.’ Third, where there’s carbon, there’s cost — so if a business is measuring and reducing its carbon footprint, it’s also saving itself money.”  

Businesses should find a certification organisation best fit for their needs.

Insights and solutions for decarbonisation 

There’s a fourth driver that is hugely important: legislation. By 2050, every UK business must be net zero by law, so companies must actively work to reduce their carbon footprint. Certification is the first step on that path. 

Businesses should find a certification organisation best fit for their needs and can provide insights and solutions for decarbonisation. They should be prepared to identify and gather data and evidence (found in invoices, fleet monitoring systems, travel expense reports, etc.) so that the certification organisation can discover where environmental impacts are occurring and how they can be reduced.  

“It can be a daunting task for any company that is being certified for the first time,” admits Withey. “But a good certification firm will be able to guide them through the process and, when they are out the other side, present them with a comprehensive, engaging and valuable report that gives them a holistic view of their social and environmental impact.” 

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