Sustainability is a major discussion topic across all industries worldwide, being the coworking and coliving industries part of the movement. Many introduce and promote best practices that foster sustainability in all its three forms (economic, environmental and social), but sometimes it can be very hard either to know how to move forward in terms of sustainable transformation or even properly communicating these efforts so that it becomes an actual competitive advantage. Sustainable certifications provide a framework to work upon as well as an accreditation on such sustainable efforts. This article will explain sustainable certifications and list 5 of the most widely recognized certifications worldwide.
Sustainability certifications are accredited by third parties to organizations with the goal of advocating the company’s commitment to sustainability matters (. This is significantly helpful for differentiating from other companies since nowadays’ consumers are more conscious and a certification could be a decisive factor in the purchasing decision, becoming a valuable asset of the company’s value proposition.
Nonetheless, there is a plethora of certifications, labels and seals in the market and it can be extremely difficult to distinguish between them and select them. Here are three factors to consider when choosing a sustainability certification:
- Most recognised in the industry.
- Most important included in corporate/council procurement policies.
- Amount of financial and non-financial resources that must be earmarked for the certification’s achievement.
Although these are not coliving- or coworking-specific, here is a selection of the most widely recognized sustainability certifications worldwide:
“LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. Available for virtually all building types, LEED provides a framework for healthy, highly efficient, and cost-saving green buildings. LEED certification is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement and leadership”.
LEED is a building construction and design sustainability rating system and certification, guiding organizations to save money with efficient use of resources, reduce waste and pollution, and drive innovation.
- Coliving: Niche Living, LEED Gold Certification
- Coworking: Utopicus, LEED Gold and Platinum Certification. One of our projects, with Masdar, has as one of its goals the accomplishment of a LEED certification.
“The WELL Building Standard™ version 2 (WELL v2™) is a vehicle for buildings and organizations to deliver more thoughtful and intentional spaces that enhance human health and well-being”.
This certification program consists of 11 modules: air, water, nourishment, light, movement, thermal comfort, sound, materials, mind, community and innovation. Each module has various indicators, some of which are preconditions and others are required optimizations, varying from building aspects to operations.
3. Net Zero
“A Net Zero Reduction Plan requires you to understand your actual carbon footprint first and then you can make a plan to get to Net Zero that is both realistic and credible. This is where Net Zero International helps by providing you with all the tools you need plus a certificate from a UN approved partner that checks your carbon footprint data, as an independent party, and confirms its authenticity”.
This certification confirms three statements: your actual current carbon footprint, that you have a Net Zero Reduction Plan and your commitment to achieve Net Zero.
4. B Corporations
“B Corp Certification is a designation that a business is meeting high standards of verified performance, accountability, and transparency on factors from employee benefits and charitable giving to supply chain practices and input materials.”
Being a labeled B Corp organization demonstrates a high social and environmental performance, a corporate governance structure that is accountable to all stakeholders (not just shareholders) and exhibits transparency by publishing information regarding their performance measured against B Lab’s standards. Achieving the standard however proves to be a quite rigorous process.
- Coworking: Impact Hub Madrid
5. Active Score
“ActiveScore assesses, certifies and enhances active travel facilities and services in buildings around the world. Using a scientific system developed with industry experts, our certification exists to future-proof assets and set benchmarks for active travel standards”.
The scorecard measures three key aspects: infrastructure (tangible facilities, e.g bike racks), occupier engagement (active travel services available, e.g. laundry services) and future readiness.
- Coliving: Niche Living, Active Score Platinum Certification
Certifications usually entail a registration fee and, depending on the certification level (e.g bronce, silver, gold, platinum) and the company’s dimension, a membership fee. However, efficient use of resources and the certification’s entailed differentiation can oftentimes compensate for the resources used to achieve such. It all comes down to assessing whether the certification is possible in terms of available resources and, at the end of the day, if it is worth it or not.
If you wish to pursue a certification like the ones aforementioned, we can recommend you top-notch professionals that can assist you!
- Sustainable.org.nz. 2022. Sustainability Certifications. [online] Available at: <https://sustainable.org.nz/learn/tools-resources/sustainability-certifications/> [Accessed 17 October 2022].
- Usgbc.org. 2022. Why LEED certification | U.S. Green Building Council. [online] Available at: <https://www.usgbc.org/leed/why-leed> [Accessed 17 October 2022].
- WELL Standard. 2022. WELL Standard. [online] Available at: <https://v2.wellcertified.com/en/wellv2/overview> [Accessed 17 October 2022].
- NET ZERO International. 2022. Net Zero Certification – NET ZERO International. [online] Available at: <https://netzero.international/net-zero-services/net-zero-certification> [Accessed 17 October 2022].
- Bcorporation.net. 2022. B Corp Certification demonstrates a company’s entire social and environmental impact.. [online] Available at: <https://www.bcorporation.net/en-us/certification> [Accessed 17 October 2022].
- ActiveScore. 2022. Certification – ActiveScore. [online] Available at: <https://activetravelscore.com/certification/> [Accessed 17 October 2022].
Featured image: Niche Living, Dún Laoghaire (Ireland)
This article was written by Agustina Paradela.