Friday, 2 August 2013

What happens when you sign up to Green Achiever

I thought i'd take this opportunity to 'reboot' the Green Achiever blog and to share with you what happens when you sign up with the Green Achiever Scheme. 

Step 1 - Registration 

Every single business that has had anything to do with the Green Achiever Scheme has to register first. This process involves filling in some details and a short questionnaire about your green practices. Once this is done, the team gets an e-mail that is then processed in order to a) get your details onto our Green Business Directory and to b) compose an 'Environmental Healthcheck'. The purpose of this document is to give you some information on which environmental laws will apply to you to make sure you are compliant. 

This level of membership lasts for three months. We do this because, whilst it is great that you are showing intention to be a green business/gain green credentials, we want Green Achiever businesses to make some progress - with guidance from us of course. 

Step 2 - Self-Assessed Award

Some businesses go straight to this level, however most Green Achievers will be with us as 'Registered' before they take the next step. We charge £120+ VAT for this service because it's more labour intensive for us and, for you, there are many more benefits. 

After payment, we send you a form which is pretty in-depth. It's important that this is answered as carefully and as honestly as possible so we get an accurate idea of where you are with environmental matters. If we get your form back with all boxes ticked, it makes it really tough to judge what you ACTUALLY do and what you've claimed to do. Either way, you probably won't get 5 stars via this route - it would be unfair on all the other businesses. 

Once we get the form back, we do a few things with your answers. First we check out your website to get an idea of what kind of business you are. This is important because we then carry out a 'Star rating' process which determines your overall score. From your answers, we then make an Environmental Declaration of Commitment or a 'policy'.  This is a very handy document. Display online, in a frame on the wall, use it to apply for tenders or keep it for use in employee handbooks. The best bit is that, when you renew your membership the year after, we take into account your progress and this is incorporated into the policy. You also get a certificate, a years listing on the directory plus fortnightly environmental updates. 

Step 3 - Silver & Gold Awards

Silver and Gold awards are for any business that:

  • Is serious about proving their green credentials. 
  • Needs higher level accreditation to compete with others in their industry. 
  • Is aiming for ISO 14001 and wants a 'stepping stone' to help it along. 
  • Seeks cost savings through making changes to environmental operations on a day to day basis.
  • Wishes to benefit from substantial PR opportunities arising from going over and above what is expected from businesses. 
  • Would benefit from guidance, year on year, to continuously improve and reduce its environmental impact and to also stay on top of new legislation. 
  • Trades in an industry where environmental legislation is particularly 'tight' and needs to stay on top of its environmental impact. 
These levels are entirely different from Self-Assessed because we come to you. Our fantastic auditor, Debbie, comes to your site to see what you actually do. This isn't a test, it's just so that we get a thorough idea of how your business works so we can then identify areas in which improvements can be made. This may be small things like "Your waste plasterboard needs segregating from general waste" to bigger actions like "You have a south facing roof - perhaps look into installing solar panels". All these actions are agreed and we set loose deadlines to encourage progress. 

This level costs between £330 and £660 depending on the number of employees you have which is a competitive rate in comparison with other environmental certification/awards/accreditation. 

As long as there is green ambition, continuous improvements year on year and the commitment is real, we are happy to award accreditation - it's as simple as that. 

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