Establishing Standards for the eco-consultant Credential
|Audits require a set of standards. Those standards can be very low or require a company to perform at a higher level of compliance. B Lab, for example merely requires a company to " rewrite its corporate governing documents to reflect its social and environmental mission and pay an annual fee of $500."Will Green certification quickly become a race to the bottom to see what firm will offer the easiest qualification requirements?
In another manifestation, many local Green/Sustainability committees that are popping up in cities operate on a borrowed set of criteria that is then disseminated to local business that are "checked off" and returned as a weak kind of voluntary compliance.This community based programs frankly should not become an end to themselves, but participate in a national program that lends credibility and transparency to the locally-recognized program.
It is defensively argued by these low-level commitment programs that voluntary compliance is a "good thing." Agreed, but is one man with a bucket enough to save the Titanic? We are beyond the point of "random acts of kindness." Local programs can create a Keystone Cops-like confusion that does not serve the serious demand for credibility that can transcend county, state, and national limitations.
"Only a mediocre person is always at his best." William Somerset Maugham
"All good is hard. All evil is easy. Dying, losing, cheating and mediocrity is easy. Stay away from easy." Scott Alexander
We have all heard that, "The good is the enemy of the best."In my school days 64% was a failing grade, but not if we could have decided to lower the goal from 100 to 64. An Icelandic proverb states that "Mediocrity is climbing molehills without sweating." If our highest commitment to the environmental crisis is climbing molehills of environmental compliance, we deserve the trouble that now threatens to destroy our society. Local organizations need to see the larger picture and participate nationally to provide the kind of local programming that allow businesses to subscribe locally and nationally to a serious compliance program.
There is a need for a national standard that is not being constantly revised by local committees who think that they have greater insight than the last group that set out their chosen set of Green ideas. One local committee was led by the owner of a framing store who was assisted by a worker at the local chamber of commerce.The result of this ever changing chorus of voices across the American continent that is little more than a cacophony of confusion. Instead of perpetuating confusion, there is a need for national standards to arise, and these standards need not be a government imposition.
The other error to avoid is the "niched solution" to environment compliance.The promoters of solar panels make this the major issue of "Going Green," while those promoting carbon credits claim that becoming "carbon neutral" is the most critical issue for a company to consider. LEED promotes Green buildings as the core solution, Green Seal promotes Green products. The Green Business League believes that a holistic approach includes all environmental contributions and falls under a broad system of "Green Practices."
|By R. Michael Richmond
R. Michael Richmond, is the Director of Development for the Green Business League (http://www.greenbusinessleague.com/) and an avid proponent of Green and sustainable business programs.The Green Business League offers a national certification for Green business that has been broadly received as a leading standard for environmental compliance.