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Sustainability comes of Age.
EC3 Global
Tuesday, 22nd December 2009
 
The world of sustainability is about to come of age, thanks to the impending launch of the next generation in benchmarking and certification solutions.

Recognised internationally as the science-driven power-house that once underpinned brands such as Green Globe, EC3 Global has quietly evolved into the world's largest certifier of sustainable travel and tourism businesses.

The Australian-based company grew out of a Government initiative and has benefitted from a reported $260 million in research, as well as relationships with more than 16 leading universities and learning institutions. The launch of their Earthcheck product signals a maturing of the market as it facilitates the independent calculating of Scopes One, Two and Three emissions.

In a market that's awash with self-proclaimed "green" or "eco" certification schemes, it's refreshing to know there's one that remains principled when it comes to independent auditing and transparency.

"The Earthcheck Building Planning & Design Standard was like having a peer review that helps to ensure best practice is achieved," explains Arjan De Boer of Alila Hotels and Resorts. "Submitting to third party scrutiny and accreditation is beneficial to our credibility with stakeholders and local authorities"

The Earthcheck logo provides consumers with an effective way to identify organisations that adhere to the highest science-based standards. Only those that have integrated sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) into all levels of business qualify for certification, and can benchmark their success against others in their field.

Despite the challenges of tracking the intangible benefits of certification when it comes to marketing, the misconception still persists that this is where a return on investment is to be found. But for, EC3 Global's 1000-plus members, tangible benefits sit squarely on the triple bottom line.

Thirty per cent is the average energy and waste stream saving typically experienced by Earthcheck users in the first year of use. Water footprints are also reduced, with average savings of 20 per cent.

Alex Fernside, of the City of Melbourne concurs that "Using Earthcheck, we have reduced average water use by 15.3 litres per guest per night. That's equivalent to 25.4 Olympic swimming pools. Over two years, participating hotels have saved the equivalent of 45 Olympic swimming pools in total."

Environmental journalist Michael Grunwald echoed the sentiments of Sir Nicholas Stern when he reported in Foreign Policy Magazine (Sept/Oct 2009) that the fastest way to cut CO2 emissions was to improve the efficiency of how things are done. "Achieve more using less", he espoused, and that's exactly where Earthcheck comes into play.

Optimal performance is the dream of every business manager and this tool acts much like a genie in a bottle. From energy to water, waste to social impacts, Earthcheck takes a holistic view, offering solutions to enhance design and operational efficiencies.

Areas that are in need of attention are quickly identified, and suggestions for improvement given. Enabling organizations large and small, to leverage user-friendly, comprehensive web-based solutions to track and measure resource use and waste output, Earthcheck makes it possible to see where room for improvement exists.

"The challenge facing all communities is to learn to live more sustainably," explains Ron Clarke, Australia's Gold Coast City Mayor. "The Earthcheck program helped benchmark our city in terms of energy, water and waste. This can now become a guide to household behaviour, which will help all levels of Government to improve their environmental-education programs"

With Climate Change issues placing mounting pressure on compliance, risk and legislated reporting, managers are struggling to come to grips with the new skill sets they need to develop such essentials as Sustainability Policies, or put in place Environmental Management Systems (EMS).

In the past, this is when consultants would step into the picture, but few companies can afford to part with tens of thousands of dollars these days. That's where Earthcheck really delivers on value for money, as it comes with a suite of tools and templates that guide users through the process and capacity build from within.

With an ever-growing number of sustainability solutions Carbon Cowboys can be found on almost every corner, it pays to do your due diligence before deciding on a sustainability solution. Be sure to ask for proof that the solution provider can deliver on every one of the following:

1.       Transparent, scientific standards and operational processes that are internationally accepted.
2.       Independent third party auditing and certification that adheres to a recognized international standard.
3.       Evidence-based scientific benchmarking that allows reporting against an industry baseline of best practice.
4.       Technology that enables year-on-year monitoring of sustainability efforts, and supports capacity building within the organisation.
5.       Proven commercial application that has been successfully implemented worldwide by industry leaders in the field.
6.       Compliance with the very latest international GHG emission standards and reporting protocols.

Earthcheck benchmarking and certification complies with the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) Greenhouse Gas Protocol, and the International Organisation for Standardization (ISO) 14064 range of standards for greenhouse gas accounting. 
 
The Earthcheck sustainability software and systems are exclusive to EC3 Global, in order to retain the integrity of the brand.

For more details please visit www.ec3global.com or contact Chantal Dunbar, EC3 Global Communications Manager on chantal.dunbar@ec3global.com
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