The proportion of green consumers who actively seek out and buy green products is on the rise, accounting for more than 20% of the population in the US and the UK, and around 50% in western Germany. Recent research carried out by Defra found that investments in clean technology have been growing globally, led by the US and to a lesser extent the EU. More importantly, research has shown that an increasing number of consumers are willing to pay more for products with green attributes, and the price premium enjoyed by green products could be, for instance, as much as 20%. This could lead to companies considering:
- New methods to attract consumers with environmental concerns.
- Making themselves distinct from other businesses, hence creating a significant competitive advantage.
- Green trends becoming more mainstream also mean a growing market for participating businesses.
- Green practices also mean a business can become more appealing to consumers while at the same time reducing its business costs, thus increasing profits.
- The word "Green" creates enthusiasm among customers looking at environmental friendly goods. This creates a strong and loyal customer base.
- Green advertising also creates a good image of the business in the market place, which is important when looking to expand the customer base and retention.
How do you prove to your clients and staff that you really do have green credentials?
How do you know that your suppliers green credentials are really green?
Green credential claims are found in a wide range of media, including statements about environmental sustainability, recycling, energy and water efficiency or the impact on animals and the natural environment. Companies use the terms "environmentally friendly"; "locally sourced"; "organic" and "sustainable" with little to back up their claims. For example, just stating that supplies and / or materials are local can mean anything from 25 – 500 mile radius according to studies looking at the characteristics of "green-washing".
Really Green Credentials is an industry expert in helping companies demonstrate they really are environmentally sustainable. Accreditation to the Really Green Business Standard™ (RCGBS) has established an important difference businesses can communicate the credible and real changes they have accomplished.
The Really Green Credentials Business Standard™ (RCGBS) is an environmental kite mark available to businesses who wish to demonstrate their environmental commitment to their customers and suppliers. It is a symbol of excellence that is only awarded and displayed after the organisation has undertaken a rigorous annual audit during which its environmental claims are challenged; only then can the coveted 'Really Green Accreditation" mark be displayed. Customers visiting institutions displaying this Green kite mark of excellence can rest assured that the organisation has adopted and implemented sustainable business practises which sets it ahead of its competitors who merely apply a thin coat of green wash to their environmental advertising for commercial gain.
The RCGBS™ standard was developed by Julie-Ann Adams a respected and well-grounded environmental and waste practitioner. The RCGBS™ scheme was born out of frustration after years of encountering organisations that have seen the green environmental agenda as an opportunity to make quick money. All too often these organisations display the recycling symbol on their letter headed company papers, on the sides of their vehicles and on their websites, sadly however when tested or questioned their green claims are all too often found to be shambolic.
Julie-Ann quickly realised that genuine organisations that have genuine 'Really Green Credentials' needed an industry standard that could withstand the rigor of external scrutiny, the rest is history and RCGBS™ standard was born. The organisations that have joined the accreditation scheme to date have all set their environmental stall out for sustainable business practises and the sustainable procurement of their products and services. More importantly they have done this in a way which can easily demonstrate an auditable trail to their claims.
How does it work?
The RGCBS™ is a point based recognition scheme. Organisations must achieve and maintain a minimum number of points, these points are reviewed and renewed each year after an audit by one of its' trained auditors, with the expectation that each audit will see improvements and continued good practice. Each audit is not intended to be an onerous event; it is designed to facilitate an atmosphere of continued improvement, achievement and sustainability.
Points are awarded in the following areas:
- Buildings/ Energy Rating.
- Waste Reduction and Management.
- Recycling, Reuse and Disposables.
- Environmental Compliance.
- Sustainable Procurement.
- Water Consumption/ Efficiency.
- Energy Consumption/ Efficiency.
- Carbon Reduction/ Offset.
- Chemical Control.
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* Research as conducted by Defra, 2009 Survey of public attitudes and behaviours towards the environment. 2009, Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs: London.