4 of the best: How to choose the right sustainability certification for your business


Sustainability credentials are a hot commodity, and for good reason. Many businesses are doing brilliant work in the sustainability space, most for the simple reason that they are in a position to help make things better for everyone.

And, crucially, sustainability credentials make for excellent targets to aim for for businesses wanting to improve. Their rigorous standards help businesses who aren’t sure where to start with their ESG efforts set attainable goals and benchmarks to focus on.

With so many out there, though, how do you know which ones are the best for your business? What are the best sustainability credentials to work towards?

Here are four of the best to help you get started:

1. B Corp

The big cheese, the golden stamp, the OG – B Lab is the most widely recognised UK sustainability certification body and their B Corp certification is seen as a mark of the highest approval.

Starting back in 2006, they’ve pioneered a twin approach that first models a new inclusive, equitable, and regenerative economic system. Second, it finds opportunities to establish that system at the government and corporate level.

Part of that means building a community of ‘B Corps’ that put the new system into action through environmental performance, transparency and accountability. And to become a B Corp, they’ve built on of the most rigorous and comprehensive certification processes known to sustainability.

And it’s worth it – find out why on their (very well done, I must say) website.

2. Planet Mark

A purely environmentally sustainable certification, the Planet Mark accreditation is designed to help businesses tackle net zero and other environmental issues.

With over a decade behind them in the accreditation game, they go for a collaborative approach to helping organisations rethink their sustainability approaches. A whole range of services, provided by their transformation teams, help businesses and their buildings trim down their emissions – all to help them reach the Planet Mark Business Certification.

And their sustainability efforts do speak for themselves: 11% cut in absolute carbon emissions each year and 14% carbon saving per employee per year across their collective impact.

3. ISO sustainability standards

ISO is the great grandfather of business standards, with international standards for just about any topic in any industry. That’s over 24,000 different standards and they really go into quite some detail.

So unsurprisingly, there are also ISO standards for sustainability that recognise an organisation’s dedication to sustainable growth. Many of these are tied to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, so you know they’re built on real and verified science.

There are a few to choose from, and full guidance for reaching them is available on the ISO website. Ones to look out for include ISO 26000: Guidance on social responsibility, ISO 14001: Environmental management systems, and OHSAS 18001: Occupational Health and Safety Management System.

4. Cradle to Cradle

Cradle to Cradle is very much focused on the product side of things when it comes to accreditation, based on the idea of creating circular products with extended life spans.

They have a five-point framework that assesses products and materials, covering product circularity, social fairness, water and soil stewardship, clean air and climate protection, and material health. Any product that passes their accreditation process gets a Cradle to Cradle Certified stamp that’s recognised by everyone from Google to the City Council of San Francisco.

As if that wasn’t enough, they’re also part of the 1% for the Planet, dedicating one percent of their annual sales to environmental organisations. Pretty neat.

Still trying to work out how to tell your business’ sustainability story? Earnest has worked on sustainability campaigns for clients across a range of industries. Let us know what you need today.

(Header photo: Pineapple Supply Co. on Unsplash)