Last month’s Gibraltar Sustainability Awards led by The Nautilus Project, in collaboration with Gibraltar Federation of Small Businesses, demonstrated how local businesses, both small and large, can implement simple, yet effective ways to achieve environmentally-friendly working practices.
However, in order to have real impact, businesses must go further than installing LED lighting, feature recycling bins and have their staff participate in Clean Up the World days.
One of the most effective methods to create impact is for businesses to undergo an Environmental Business Operations Framework. This framework makes the transition to sustainability a simple but effective process, allowing businesses of any sector or size to measure, manage, minimise, and continually improve their operational environmental footprint.
Monitoring provides organisations with regular data on their position within their industry against environmental or social criteria. This data has the ability to be extremely valuable in transition to sustainability. Furthermore, access to this information allows businesses to have bespoke data on how they compare to their competitors and influences these organisations to change from within.
Benefit Business Solutions is able to assist businesses in formulating their own framework. The framework consists of five modules, each of which offer specific rewards and contributions to the overall outcome of continual improvement, and allow businesses to approach the substantial framework in manageable steps. Furthermore, together with our specialist environmental consulting partner, we provide all the information and tools your business will need for each module and is available for advice, support, and consultation throughout the process.
Following completion of the modules, businesses will have met the environmental standard, and will receive the Environmental Business Operations certificate. Achievement allows a business to demonstrate its commitment to addressing environmental concerns to clients, employees, regulators, customers, and stakeholders.
The 5-Step Environmental Framework includes:
1. “Getting Started” Stage
Create an ‘environmental team’ consisting of specific champions responsible for: waste and water; energy and buildings; procurement and supply chains; and education and awareness. You also have the option here to understand your business’s environmental and carbon footprint through measuring: waste, energy, water, travel, procurement, and supply chains.
2. Policy Adoption and Commitment
Develop environmental policies and commitments aligned with your business’ mission and goals, together with international targets and goals such as the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Utilise the documents in the dedicated resource library to construct and enact environmental action plans and policies.
4. Measure your Impact
Calculate your environmental impact to receive a rich understanding of how your business’s operations may affect the environment with regards to waste, energy, water, travel, procurement, and supply chains.
5. Sustainable Transition
Build a consciousness of continual improvement and set up systems and commitments that allow for these processes to continue effectively.
Following completion of the framework, organisations will receive a carbon footprint report. The report provides an opportunity for organisations to gain an in-depth understanding of where their emissions come from. Significant sources of emissions are flagged throughout the report as well as areas where emissions are lower than expected.
Useful charts and graphics are included within the report to help organisations to better comprehend the components of their footprint, including which emission sources make up the largest proportion of their environmental impact. For organisations measuring the footprint of multiple offices, the report provides interesting visualisations comparing locations and their emission sources.
Anonymised data from other businesses using the framework is utilised to provide organisations with useful benchmarking data and industry comparisons. This allows organisations to understand how their environmental impact compares to others’ in terms of tonnes of CO2e per employee.
Organisations that wish to regularly measure their footprint are able to do so by continuing to submit data in the framework. This data is used to provide annual carbon footprint reports for the duration of the organisations enrolment.
Verification and Award
Submitted information will undergo independent verification by qualified environmental specialists. This process includes confirmation of utility information used for understanding the business’ carbon footprint, evidence of fulfilment of your environmental management assessment, and success of your policy commitments.
Following this process, participating businesses will receive a certificate of compliance, which can be displayed on the organisation’s website and other online and offline channels. If your organisation chooses to continue to measure and input its footprint data, it will receive regular benchmarking data on its performance.
The overall result would be that businesses in Gibraltar will have a much more methodological and measurable approach to sustainability which can be monitored, compared and improved on from one year to another.