The 10 Best Sustainability Certifications for UK Businesses

December 20, 2023
Learn about the top 10 sustainability certifications for UK businesses to boost eco-responsibility and meet environmental goals.

As a way to certify that your business meets sustainability standards, sustainability certifications are issued by independent third parties.

They act as a mark of ethical and sustainable business practices.

What are Sustainability Certifications and Why Your Company Should Have Them

This isn’t a legal requirement; rather, it’s a badge that companies can earn to show that they’re committed to being eco-friendly and responsible.

Sustainability certifications can come from different bodies depending on your preference. There may even be levels that serve as a grade for how sustainable your company is. 

Generally, sustainability certifications help you prove that you’re not trying to ‘greenwash’ your customers.

By becoming certified, a company can boost its reputation, attract investors who care about the environment, and even gain a competitive advantage.

10 Sustainability Certifications for UK Businesses

1. ISSP Sustainability Excellence Associate (SEA) Certification

A global sustainability organization, the International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP), offers the Sustainability Excellence Associate (SEA) course and top sustainability certifications to businesses. 

In addition to being tailored to individuals entering the sustainability field, the SEA course is a good fit for sole traders. As a prerequisite to SEP certification, SEA teaches people how to assess sustainability risks and opportunities, as well as how to apply systems thinking to craft sustainable solutions that address current sustainability issues.

In addition to adhering to best practices, SEA credential holders demonstrate their understanding of sustainability concepts.

2. ISSP Sustainability Excellence Professional Certification

ISSP offers the Sustainability Excellence Professional (SEP) course only after a business has achieved the Sustainability Excellence Alliance (SEA).

So, yes, you can’t have one without the other.

As well as demonstrating extensive sustainability knowledge and experience, the SEP certification is an advanced version of the SEA certification. In addition to demonstrating that your company is committed to sustainable change, adept at implementing sustainable strategies, engaging stakeholders, and implementing core sustainability concepts, obtaining a SEP certification will also demonstrate that your company is an innovator in sustainable change.

Remote or on-site testing is available for both SEA and SEP exams, making the option flexible no matter where you are located.

3. B Corp Certification

A B Corp certification recognizes companies that meet high standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. This involves an in-depth assessment of the impact a company has on its employees, customers, community, and the environment.

Companies’ reputations are enhanced when they demonstrate sustainability.

This also attracts customers and employees who care about ethical and environmental practices and provides a framework for continuous improvement to enhance social and environmental practices.

In addition to boosting corporate image, B Corp certification aligns business practices with sustainability and corporate responsibility, which is good for UK firms. Businesses can stand out in a competitive market, build trust with consumers and employees, and contribute to society and the environment by doing so. B Corps can help businesses make a positive impact, despite the challenges.

4. ISO 14001 Certification

One of the UK’s oldest and most respected sustainability certifications is ISO 14001.

Because of its prestige, it can take a lot of resources to implement the EMS (Environmental Management System) required to pass the certification, which is why ISO 14001 is typically adopted by medium/large businesses rather than SMEs and startups; 

There are no restrictions on startups and small businesses applying for ISO 14001, so this could be a great certification to aim for if you have the resources. 

5. Green Mark Certification

Known for working with many players in the tactile industry, the Green Mark sustainability certification is an ideal choice for businesses of all sizes.

As a compass on the map of sustainability greatness, their certification process uses an environmental management system.

As part of their sustainability certification, they’re not just handing you a roadmap; they’re rolling up their sleeves and working with you directly to make sure you meet future sustainability requirements as well.

6. Cradle to Cradle Certification

A Cradle to Cradle certification ensures that products are safe, circular, and responsibly produced.

In order to receive one of the top sustainability certifications like this, the body considers whether a product has a circular economy champion, a regenerative design, and clean air, renewable energy, and human rights aspects.

An independent assessment body will scrutinize products and if they pass, they will be awarded a bronze, silver, gold, or platinum crown.

7. Environmental Working Group Verified Certification

EWG Verified products are rewarded for adhering to rigorous health standards. To evaluate the safety of all ingredients in cleaning products, cosmetics, and baby care products, the EWG meticulously evaluates them.

An online application is all you need to get an EWG sustainability certification.

A safety rating and certification will be awarded to each of your products by the EWG.

8. Planet Mark Certification

A starter, pro, or enterprise accreditation is available through Planet Mark. 

In addition to certifying your business, Planet Mark will help you create a sustainable strategy and approach.

They work with industries of all sizes but have a proven track record in the real estate industry. 

9. Sustainability and Climate Risk Certification

To qualify for GARP certification, sustainability, and climate risk specialists must possess a wide range of skills and knowledge.

SCR certification comes after thorough assessment and is a trademarked award

Climate change policy, culture, and governance will all be covered as part of the certification, as well as sustainability, climate risk measurement, and management, climate scenario analysis, and green and sustainable finance (instruments and markets). 

10. 1% For The Planet Certification

Unlike other sustainability accreditations, 1% For The Planet works differently.

Rather, this company picks environmental causes to which you contribute at least 1% of your revenue (hence the name!) 

As a reward for contributing to great causes, you’ll receive a certification logo.

You may also be able to partner with other businesses doing good by contributing to the community and network. 

UK Government, Business Sustainability & Sustainability Certifications

The UK government is helping businesses to be more eco-friendly. They started the UK Business Climate Hub to support small businesses. This is part of the UK’s goal to have no carbon emissions by 2050, a target set in 2019.

Small and medium-sized businesses are important for meeting this goal. But, many don’t know how to help. The Hub gives them easy tips and tools. For example, businesses can use a free tool to see how much carbon they emit.

Businesses learn how to work with eco-friendly suppliers, set up electric vehicle charging spots, and install solar panels. It also tells them about money they can get from the government to make their business more green, like loans for energy-saving improvements and ways to balance out their carbon emissions.

If you want to learn more about how to make your business more eco-friendly, don’t hesitate to contact Euphemia Marketing CEO, Effie.