Value through Transparency
Certification can provide business benefits, especially in a B2B environment

Eco Certification

The first category of sustainability related communications is ‘eco certification’, whereby external parties certify that the organization complies with a certain standard. Building on the success of the quality focused ISO 9000 standards in the 1980s, the 1990s saw the emergence of the ISO 14000 series of standards, focused on environmental management.

Today, ISO 14001, which provides guidelines for the establishment or improvement of an environmental management system, is applied by over 220,000 organizations worldwide. Other relevant standards in the 14000 series include 14020 on environmental labels, 14040 on life cycle analysis, and 14064 on carbon footprinting.

The ISO 14000 standards are focused on processes. Being certified does not necessarily result in improved environmental performance. Nevertheless, certification can provide business benefits, especially in a B2B environment, where certification may be needed to comply with customer requirements. Given the prevalence of the ISO 14000 standards, however, certification is rarely a source of competitive advantage.