We were supportive of The Green Accord when it first launched a number of years ago, and have recommended it to our clients. But recently it has been relaunched and revamped, so we felt it worth championing more proactively once again! The Green Accord is aimed at SMEs: it’s good for business and it’s good for the environment! Our decision to support the scheme and apply for the accreditation ourselves was a no-brainer!
As the Green Accord boasts of its suitability for a range of sizes and types of organisation, we thought… why not Tender Victory? It has always been important to Tender Victory to practise what we preach. Furthermore, with the beautiful beaches of Exmouth on our doorstep, woodlands like Haldon Forest only a short distance away and countryside across our beautiful Devon region, we felt it was our duty to demonstrate our conscientiousness towards our environment and our business values in our everyday action. We thought the cost was worthwhile for us, offers good value, is entry level for the size of our micro business and, if it means an increased chance of winning tenders, we believe that applying for accreditation could be good for your business too. We therefore decided to openly share our thoughts and experiences about our Green Accord journey with you, so that you make an informed choice over whether it is right for your business, using our first-hand experience as a handy guide.
On Wednesday 20th September 2023, we leapt into action and attempted to sign up! Experiencing an initial hiccup at the registration stage there was a slight delay with receiving our registration email, but, aside from this, we found the application process well designed and, if you know how your business is performing in relation to its carbon impact and can evidence what you do, the process is relatively simple. A word of caution however, if you do not have the evidence already in place, you will need to set aside time to go through the application process and action what needs to be done to achieve the highest accreditation award.
When you start your application for Green Accord accreditation, you are taken to a self-assessment tool, which enables you to confirm your approach and upload evidence…
The self assessment tool is easy to navigate and evidence is simple to upload
The self assessment tool is made up of 8 core questions, followed by 16 operational questions that are broken down into four areas:
- energy and water
When you confirm that your business complies with a question’s requirement (it is ‘Applicable’ to you) a comment box and supporting evidence drop down to select files appears automatically with a single click.
- The questions are clearly labelled which enabled us to input the correct evidence where it was needed to support our application.
- It is designed to allow you to navigate forward or backwards at your leisure- it is not a timed response process.
- You can opt to move directly to a specific question so, if you need to add additional evidence at any time ahead of submission, you can do so, with ease.
- We experienced no difficulties in attaching the files that we wanted to submit.
The system assists your understanding and signposts you to links that can develop your business and approach
Another helpful feature of the self-assessment tool that we were impressed with are the suggested websites linked to each question. These are in place to support your understanding of what you can do to meet the requirements for accreditation, including some helpful ‘how to’ resources for generating an environmental policy and creating a carbon reduction plan. These will be helpful to lots of businesses aiming to achieve best practice examples in their industries – not just those going for Green Accord accreditation.
Whether you decide to go through the entire process and make payment for submission or not, the self-assessment process is beneficial: it supports your own reflections on your business’s carbon impact and how you can further showcase your commitment to reducing your carbon impact in your tenders.
Levels of accreditation:
To assist you to achieve the highest level of accreditation, we have put together the following to support you ahead of the self-assessment process. If there is something you do not have in place, that you want to develop, but don’t know where to start- it’s worth looking at the helpful resources provided within the Green Accord self-assessment tool. We will also be releasing further updates and support in upcoming blogs.
- Commitment to reducing carbon emissions declared and publicly visible
- Environmental policy (within last 2 years)
- Staff training on environmental sustainability and carbon impact
- Staff member responsible for environmental management and evidence of their initiatives
- A carbon footprint calculation for the organisation and details on the tool used
- A net zero target in place.
- A net zero strategy/ carbon reduction plan
- An environmental management system (EMS) e.g. ISO 14001, EMAS, ISO 14005 which is in date and verified
Why did we decide to join?
The Green Accord website states that it is: “An affordable route to improving environmental performance, reducing carbon emissions and business costs.” At the submission and payment stage, the final costs vary dependent on business size (not including VAT, it is £200 for 0-5 employees, £400 for 6-250 employees and £600 for 250+ employees). For Tender Victory, we thought that the benefits outweighed the cost.
Our decision to join (which we would make again in a heartbeat) was simple: we wanted to show our environmental action, reduce our environmental impact, gain access to the valuable guidance Green Accord provides on how we can improve our sustainability. We also wanted to be able to lead the way for many of our clients by sharing our experience-driven best-practice.
We will keep you updated on our progress!