There were two stories in the media this month that I really loved because their timing was so prescient.
The first involves the Paris Agreement, where countries committed to carbon reductions to keep global warming below 2C. Most expected significant dragging of heels and prevarication. Instead, 73 countries have ratified, which is enough to which is enough to reach the 55 per cent threshold needed for the agreement to enter into force.
The second reported that for the first time ever, renewable energy has overtaken coal in having the biggest generating capacity in the world. Industry experts were reporting unprecedented growth based on sharp reductions in the cost of wind and solar energy kit.
What’s exciting is the pace of change. Sustainability has often been considered a long game where decisions can be pushed out. That has never been our view, particularly when it comes to business and this made these stories so relevant right now.
The Planet Mark™
Three years ago we took the bold step to launch a new sustainability brand – The Planet Mark™. We wanted to do our bit to accelerate sustainability by making it easier for organisations to have more positive impacts on society and the environment.
Our mission was to empower organisations and their people to make year-on-year progress in sustainability. We wanted organisations to start now, get going, increase awareness and skills that already exist inside every organisation.
We wanted The Planet Mark™ to help organisations accelerate sustainability and take it to a new level.
We wanted to create a brand that would at the very least talk to people and would ideally inspire them. To do that, we had to position sustainability as something which is achievable, easy to do and aspirational, from a personal and organisational perspective.
Achievable meant a certification to signify a positive impact on society and the planet. We wanted to set achievable targets but make them annual so stretching people each year to keep driving change and being rewarded for their great efforts.
Easy to do
Easy to do meant packaging everything a business would need in one sustainability programme. We embedded CloudApps, the salesforce based sustainability platform, along with online tools and toolkits to help reach targets. And we wanted to create a network, much like a family, to share ideas (and frustrations), to collaborate and deliver a wider inter connectedness.
But really fundamentally, and I think uniquely, we wanted to embed a relationship with an amazing NGO that would lift people to a higher level, so we partnered with Eden Project.
One of the most popular aspects of our certification programme are the 12 annual free tickets to Eden’s UK destination in Cornwall. We thought it would be a good idea, but it’s turned out to be inspired. Companies are rewarding their green teams or having away days at Eden and experiencing something transformational and taking this energy and ideas back into their business.
So, it all sounds great, but has it been a success?
We’re announcing our latest statistics next week but I can reveal that they suggest that it’s working.
Planet Mark-certified customers are achieving significant reductions in carbon, energy, water and waste. They are achieving the certification each year, meeting environmental and business-value targets. And their feedback is that they are enjoying the process.
And so are we. And that’s why we’re pushing forward. We’re using our 3rd anniversary to take The Planet Mark™ to the next level.
We’ve just announced a new partnership with environmental consultancy Low Carbon Europe through our new Associates Programme that will help us accelerate the expansion of The Planet Mark™.
And today we’re announcing an exciting and unique pledge with long-term partner Cool Earth, which sees us commit to protect an Acre of Rainforest with every new business we certify.
We believe it makes being good to society and the planet even easier and more enjoyable.