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Sustainability & Certification
What Delta is Doing
Where Do You Want to GO Next?
Sustainability planning and related services are tools for businesses, state and local governments, and communities to reduce negative environmental impacts and improve efficiency in their operations, programs, and products. A sustainability program addresses energy, water, building and construction, pollution prevention, waste management, air quality, transportation, economic development, local food policy, open space and conservation – setting measurable goals for improvement in each area. Sustainability ultimately saves money, conserves resources and ensures that a business or community is “meeting its present needs without compromising those of future generations.”
Third-party certification by a credible standard is a way of signaling that a measured, recognizable level of sustainability has been attained in some aspect of the operation. The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is one of the best known and widely used certifications for green buildings. Certifications used in Green Purchasing, such as Green Seal and GreenGuard, are other common examples.
Over the past decade, hundreds of U.S. corporations have outlined measureable sustainability goals and invested in specific strategies to meet them. Communities throughout the Great Lakes region are engaged in comprehensively integrating sustainability into their economic development plans. Regional groups are integrating sustainability into their planning process as well.
Expectations that businesses and institutions make a commitment to improve sustainability and chart their progress publicly are rising among customers, employees, shareholders, community residents, government and private funders, and other constituents. Increased public attention in this area has spurred the development of eco-labels and sustainability certifications (some more credible than others) sponsored by various industries, public entities, nonprofits and for-profit companies. Nevertheless, the lack of a clear, overarching standard has produced a chaotic and confusing certification marketplace that can be difficult for businesses to sort through.
What Delta Is Doing
The Delta Institute acts as a trusted filter for organizations and businesses interested incorporating sustainability throughout their operations. Delta is:
• Leading sustainability planning for businesses and municipalities, including assessing current practices, helping set goals, establishing action plans, developing metrics, and assisting with plan implementation.
• Identifying potential funding sources and helping secure financing for corporate, government, and community sustainability initiatives.
• Staying abreast of developing certifications in various industries and fields and acting as a credible, independent filter for understanding and using green claims and standards.
• Helping businesses and communities assess and achieve certifications beneficial to their competitive growth and development.
• Working to reduce market barriers to sustainability by convening stakeholders, establishing groups and coalitions, identifying barriers, engaging in productive dialogue, and developing actions plans for overcoming challenges.
Where Do You Want to GO Next?
• Green Building
To explore additional green opportunities, visit our Green Economy Navigator.