Enterprises wanting to become an Eco-Lighthouse undergo a certification process lasting between 3 and 6 months. In collaboration with an authorised Eco-Lighthouse consultant, the enterprise establishes an internal environmental group and completes an internal environmental analysis.
This analysis starts out by looking at the enterprise’s environmental impact in the areas of energy, waste, transport, procurement and work environment. Subsequently, an action plan is created that includes measures to be implemented in the enterprise in order to be awarded environmental certification.
When these measures have been implemented and the enterprise fulfills branch requirements, an independent assessor approves the enterprise as an Eco-Lighthouse, which is then issued an Eco-Lighthouse diploma.
The Eco-Lighthouse certificate is valid for three years before it must be renewed through a re-certification of the enterprise.
Becoming an Eco-Lighthouse
Becoming an Eco-Lighthouse is a good start. Being an Eco-Lighthouse means taking environmental responsibility on a daily basis.
Head Office model
The Head Office model is the recommended certification model for large organisations wanting to introduce environment management using the Eco-Lighthouse certification scheme. The Head Office model capitalises on the fact that large organisations often have centralised roles and responsibilities.
The model is divided into five phases, of which this short version presents a general overview. The tasks related to each phase are described in more detail in the model description:
Phase 1: Organisation and entrenchment
To ensure broad-based, sound entrenchment of environmental management, it is important that management be involved and that it is set goals. This applies to all levels of management throughout the organisation. Different Eco-Lighthouse criteria are addressed and met in different areas within the organisation, some centrally and some locally.
The applying organisation is expected to submit a startup list to the Eco-Lighthouse Foundation to enable it to offer the best possible guidance. It must also submit an organisation chart covering all units in the organisation.
Based on this information, a meeting is arranged between the process participants to ensure a best possible certification process for all units. A list of elements (see the model) that ought to be covered at the meeting.
Phase 2: Implementation and fulfilment of criteria at the head office
This is the phase when the work begins on fulfilling criteria. The whole process begins with the head consultant, along with representative(s) from the main office, reviewing and assigning the criteria according to whether they will be met by the head office on behalf of all units or by individual units. Thereafter, the head office completes an environmental review, and the main certifier reviews and approves it prior to rollout at the subsidiary units. Once this is done, the main certifier has simultaneously approved the assignment of criteria so that the other units can start work on their environmental reviews.
Phase 3: Implementation of environmental management at subsidiary units
Once the main office is certified and responsibility for the criteria is assigned, the subsidiary units should start work on certification activities. Up to this point in the process, a main consultant must be used. Once the main office is certified, this is no longer required as long as further rollout is executed by an internal consultant or another external consultant.
In principle, implementation of the Eco-Lighthouse scheme in subsidiary units is conducted in the same manner as in enterprises not using the Head Office model. The difference is that subsidiary units have fewer criteria to address, since some criteria are addressed elsewhere in the organisation.
Subsidiary units may be certified using one of three alternative methods: physical certification, remote certification, or document control.
Phase 4: Annual monitoring of environmental management
This phase is called the operational phase, and involves planning, execution, control (measuring) and correction. After this, new measures must be added to the action plan, and these must be viewed in the context of achieved results and historical trends, as well as short-term and long-term goals. This must be done by each subsidiary unit and by the main office on behalf of the whole organisation.
An important item in this phase is an annual meeting between the main certifier and the main office. This meeting must ensure that environmental management be monitored and that environmental routines/procedures be centrally entrenched and monitored throughout the organisation.
Phase 5: Recertification
Recertification is essentially the same as initial certification. The head office and the subsidiary unit must be able to demonstrate that they meet the applicable certification criteria. Division of responsibilities and the Head Office environmental review must be approved by the main certifier before the environmental review for the head office is updated. One of the criteria is submission of an annual climate and environmental report, and the three most recent climate and environmental reports make up part of the basis of certification. The certifier recertifies all units in accordance with the plan and expiry date.