Green Certification, Accreditation, and Standardisation
A significant factor in museums becoming more sustainable is reducing their greenhouse gas emissions, their “carbon footprint”. There are several methods and tools to help museums do this including through accreditation, training, certification, and standardisation schemes. This page highlights options available to museums.
Green Tourism Scheme
Green Tourism is an awards certification programme that aims to recognise tourism businesses which demonstrate a commitment to or actively working to becoming more sustainable. They state their aim is to promote a greener, cleaner environment for people, places and our planet.
Green Tourism highlight five top reasons for joining:
- Gain independent certification that’s respected by the customer
- Achieve distinct market advantage to attract leisure or business spend
- Build your brand with Green Tourism’s monthly campaigns
- Stand out from competitors
- Access bespoke action plan to improve and save costs.
They offer advice and guidance on issues including:
- Reducing energy use
- Saving water
- Efficient & eco-friendly waste disposal
- Ethical buying
- Staying local & seasonal
- Minimising food miles
- Promoting biodiversity
- Adopting a smart, sustainable outlook from top to bottom.
Different levels of certification are available. Progression is possible and encouraged to stimulate improvement in operations. Annual fees are associated with this scheme and are dependent on the size and type of your organisation. Museums are categorised in the “Visitor Attraction, Hostels and other Tourism Business” section.
Further information can be found on their website: Promoting sustainable business tourism | Green Tourism – Green Tourism
Creative Green Certification - Julie's Bicycle
Julie’s Bicycle is a not-for-profit organisation aimed at climate action within the arts and cultural sector. The Creative Green Certification is an award programme designed specifically for the arts and culture industries. Organisations which apply for this certification will be assessed on a framework which awards points on the following criteria:
- Commitment: Integration of environmental policies and procedures, including procurement, programming and communications.
- Understanding: Assessment of your organisations monitoring and insights into areas of environmental impact.
- Improvement: Assessment of your organisation’s achievements and environmental impact reduction.
Based off this assessment, the submitting organisation will be awarded between one and five stars for the certification.
Participation in this scheme, along with certification, grants the organisation access to:
- An independent assessment of your environmental performance.
- A detailed report with your results, highlights and tailored recommendations.
- Invite to two annual workshops with speakers.
- Receipt of a newsletter with case studies and resources every two months.
- Invitation to the Creative Green Awards Ceremony.
Further information can be found on their website: Creative Green Certification | Julie’s Bicycle | Sustainability Training
Green Key is an international voluntary organisation that award an eco-label to mostly accommodation-based tourist organisations but also to other attractions, including museums. To obtain this certification, an organisation must demonstrate adherence to a set criterion as stipulated by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE).
There is a significant criterion a museum must adhere to in order to gain Green Key certification with certain “Imperative” and some “Guideline” criteria. Full details of which can be found at: THE GREEN KEY
A summary of the areas of focus include:
- Staff involvement
- Environmental management
- Guest information
- Washing & Cleaning
- Food & Beverage
- Indoor Environment
- Green Areas
- Green Activities
- Corporate Social Responsibility
The application process for joining consists of three parts, further information at: Green Key application process.
There are costs for participating in the Green Key programme in Scotland. Further information can be found at: Green Key — Costs
Earth Check is an international organisation prioritising scientific benchmarking certification and advise for the travel and tourism sector around sustainability and climate performances. In comparison to the other certification/accreditation schemes available Earth Check offers a wider range of services encompassing a wider ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) and sustainability issues. For the climate and sustainability issues that this section is researching, the most relevant services for museums appear to be:
- Decarbonisation and Resilience: provides ways to lower greenhouse gas emissions and increase resilience to climate impacts
- Zero Waste: reduce the amount of waste your organisation produces to, or close to, zero.
- Climate Check: development of a climate change strategy
- Earth Check Certified: a certification programme based on your environmental footprint
- Earth Check Evaluation: an entry level program to assess an organisations economic, social and environmental impact
- Event Check: a service which helps to set up, manage, verify and market your events as sustainably as possible.
Costs for each service vary and are dependant on the type and size of the organisation. For accurate quotes, Earth Check has to be contacted directly at their website.
Recognised standardisations of environmental performance can help to improve your organisations sustainability efforts by aligning to set targets and parameters. These provide concrete goals to aim for, internationally recognised certification and can help your organisation to continuously improve and stay on top of its environmental impact. In general, an organisations emissions are divided into three areas:
- Direct emissions from controlled or own sources such as on-site energy use for heating or powering machinery and the emissions from fleet vehicles. These are known as Scope 1.
- Indirect emissions from the generation of your purchased electricity, steam, heating or cooling which are consumed by your organisation. These are known as Scope 2.
- Emissions caused by indirect action from your organisational operations such as supply chain, staff/volunteer travel, and anything else upstream and downstream of your operations. These are known as Scope 3
PAS 2060- Carbon Neutral Certification
PAS 2060 is the British Standards Institution (BSI) certification for carbon neutrality- for legitimate claims to be carbon neutral it’s expected an organisation is certified as PAS 2060. The term carbon neutral is defined as the sum of the greenhouse gas emissions (CO2e) produced by an organisation offset by carbon sinks and/or carbon credits.
It was set up in 2009 with the objective of increasing transparency of carbon neutrality claims by providing a common definition and recognised method of achieving carbon neutral status. There are several benchmarks and requirements that an organisation must reach to achieve this certification. These include:
- Carbon footprint measurements include 100% of Scope 1 and Scope 2 and all Scope 3 emissions that contribute more than 1% of the total footprint
- Develop a Carbon Management Plan containing a commitment to carbon neutrality and outline the timescale of reductions, specific targets, planned means of reduction and how residual emissions will be offset
- Any emissions present at the end of a reduction period are offset by high-quality, certified carbon credits which must meet the following criteria:
- From one of the PAS 2060 approved schemes such as the Gold Standard, UK Woodland Carbon Code or Verified Carbon Standard credits for offsetting
- Genuinely additional- i.e., reductions that would not have happened anyway under a business-as-usual approach
- Verified by an independent third party to ensure reductions are not temporary, displaced or double counted
There are several different organisations that can verify your carbon reductions and offsetting and award the PAS 2060 certification for a fee. These include:
More information can be found at PAS 2060 – Carbon Neutrality Standard and Certification | British Standard Institute
ISO 14000 series: Environmental Management
ISO (International Organisations for Standardization) 14000 are a series of International Standards for environmental management. The aim of the series is to help organisations minimise how their operations negatively impact the environment, comply with applicable laws, regulations and other environment based requests and to continually improve the previous two issues.
There are several different ISO’s in this series which may be of relevance to museums and their aims to become more sustainable, however the main one is ISO 14001. The most recent version was released in 2015 and is named “ISO 14001:2015”. This defines criteria for an environmental management system (EMS). It does not state requirements for environmental performance but rather maps out a framework that a company or organisation can follow to set up an effective EMS and focuses on areas such as procurement, storage, distribution etc with the aim of becoming more sustainable in day-to-day practices. If an organisation is following this standard, they can be certified as such.
An EMS such as ISO 14001 is comprised of the policies, processes, plans, practices and records that define the rules governing how an organisation interacts with the environment. Having one which is certified ISO 14001 demonstrates an adherence to an internationally recognised standard of sustainability and environmental care.
At an overview level, ISO 14001 is divided into the following topics which must be addressed:
- Context of the organisation. This seeks to understand what an EMS in your organisation will look like
- Leadership. Senior management is required to be instrumental in the implementation of the EMS
- Planning. Ongoing planning must be conducted for the function of the EMS
- Support. This details the requirements needed for the carrying out of the EMS including competency, awareness, communication and information.
- Operation. This aspect deals with all issues of the environmental controls needed by your organisations processes, identify potential emergency situations and plan responses
- Performance evaluation. The need to demonstrate an ongoing monitoring of the EMS and process measuring, compliance assessment and internal audits.
- Improvement. This section includes the requirements needed to make the EMS better over time.
ISO 14064 is also part of the 14000 series and provides organisations with a complementary set of tools for programmes to quantify, monitor, report and verify their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. There is support within this standard to participate in both regulated and voluntary programmes such as emissions trading schemes and public reporting.
This standard is divided into three sections:
- ISO 14064-1:2018 specifies principles and requirements at the organisation level for quantification and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions and any removals.
- ISO 14064-2: 2019 discuss the principles and requirements for and provides guidance at the project level for quantification, monitoring and reporting of activities that cause emissions or removals.
- ISO 14064-3:2019 specifies principles, requirements, and guidance for those conducting or managing the validation and/or verification of GHG assertions.
There are other standards within the 14000 series which may be of interest to museums seeking to become more sustainable, such as:
- ISO – ISO 14063:2020 – Environmental management — Environmental communication — Guidelines and examples
- ISO – ISO 14090:2019 – Adaptation to climate change — Principles, requirements and guidelines
To become certified to any of these standards, an organisation must purchase the standard which details all the steps, tools and guidance which are needed to become certified. These can be bought from a range of providers including ISO themselves.
From there, once the steps within these standards are followed and the requirements met an organisation can either self certify, or bring in an independent third party to conduct an audit to award certification.
Further information on the ISO 14000 series can be found at: ISO – ISO 14000 family — Environmental management.