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Article
Publication date: 6 March 2007

Susan M. Harris

The purpose of this paper is to describe a sustainability certification system and label based on an independent, full life cycle assessment of conventionally produced…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe a sustainability certification system and label based on an independent, full life cycle assessment of conventionally produced goods from “cradle to grave”.

Design/methodology/approach

The design approach used comprised five phases: review of presently available third party environmental certification systems regarding their suitability for use as a sustainability certification tool for conventionally produced goods; identification of desirable scientific and consumer design criteria for a sustainability certification system and label; identification of key performance indicators for sustainability; description of an independent sustainability certification system based on the desirable design criteria, in particular an independent full life cycle assessment; and market trials of the sustainability label to test consumer reactions and commercial benefits of independent sustainability certification using two commercial case studies in Australia and New Zealand.

Findings

None of the third party environmental certification systems reviewed was suitable for use as a sustainability certification tool. Desirable design criteria for a sustainability certification system centred on an independent, full life cycle assessment of operations from “cradle to grave”. A total of eight safety and 12 sustainability key performance indicators were proposed to specifically assess sustainability performance. An instantly recognizable logo comprising a “Green Tick” inside a circle, reminiscent of a government “stamp of approval”, was used as a sustainability label. Market trials of certified household products and lamb meat in Australasia confirmed positive consumer reactions to the “Green Tick” label, and considerable commercial benefits for the companies that used it on their products.

Practical implications

The “Green Ticksustainability certification system and label addresses an identified gap in the market by providing an easily recognizable, independent, life cycle based sustainability certification of consumer products. Market trials indicated that there was measurable consumer support for independent sustainability labelling, and significant commercial benefits for companies whose products qualified for sustainability labelling.

Originality/value

The paper describes the world's first‐ever independent sustainability certification system and label. It is based on third party, full life cycle assessment of products, in accordance with the European Commission's view that sustainability labelling should be based on independent, full life cycle assessments of products. Market trials of the label in the Australasian FMCG sector indicated that consumers responded positively to an easily recognizable, independent sustainability label, and that independent sustainability certification and labelling have significant commercial potential for manufacturers of genuinely sustainable products.

Details

Management of Environmental Quality: An International Journal, vol. 18 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-7835

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Article
Publication date: 10 May 2013

Alessandro Banterle, Eleonora Cereda and Melanie Fritz

The purpose of this paper is to focus on two aspects. First, to analyse the spread of labelled environmental certification in food products, considering both private…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to focus on two aspects. First, to analyse the spread of labelled environmental certification in food products, considering both private labels and producer brands with reference to the Italian and German markets. Second, to outline how environmental certification can affect the vertical organisation of food supply chains.

Design/methodology/approach

The method used is based on an empirical analysis carried out in two sample cities: Milan for Italy and Bonn for Germany, examining ten and seven retailers, respectively, using the case studies approach, through an ad hoc questionnaire. The authors analysed two cases related to fruit and vegetables and ichthyic products, in order to assess the effect of the standards provided by the sustainability certification on the vertical organisation of the supply chains.

Findings

The certifications focus on three main areas: ichthyic products; tropical products; and fruits and vegetables. They are much more widespread on private label items, rather than on the industrial brands. The German market is more “sensitive” to sustainability issues than the Italian market. Environmental certification leads to a reorganisation of the supply chain relationships, determining a higher bilateral dependency among the supply chain agents, a reduction in product uncertainty, and an increased degree of vertical coordination.

Originality/value

The paper analyses, through a new perspective, the environmental issues of food products, quantifying the spread of labelled environmental certification and comparing Italy and Germany. The vertical reorganisation of the supply chains involved the adoption of production rules, connected to environmentally‐friendly practices, and the introduction of a new form of transaction governance.

Details

British Food Journal, vol. 115 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0007-070X

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Article
Publication date: 28 October 2013

Edgardo Bastida-Ruiz, María-Laura Franco-García and Isabel Kreiner

The paper suggested a sustainability indicators framework for industrial parks in contexts where information is weakly reliable or insufficient. The authors tried to cover…

Abstract

Purpose

The paper suggested a sustainability indicators framework for industrial parks in contexts where information is weakly reliable or insufficient. The authors tried to cover those gaps and construct an indicators framework by answering the following research questions: can a combination of “adopted international” certifications be locally implemented in the Mexican context to reflect the level of regional sustainability of clusters of companies? How sustainable individual performance can be extended to a cluster of companies through collaborative strategies? What is the level of agreement on key success factors for implementing voluntary certification scheme in Mexican Industrial Parks? The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

In order to provide a more realistic set of sustainability indicators for Mexican Industrial Parks, the authors first carried out an analysis of secondary information sources for matching sustainability indicators with available related data which is reported by companies along their certification processes. The main purpose of doing this was to construct the indicator framework, which was explored empirically in the second phase of this research. During such phase, the authors validated the indicators framework by means of surveys and interviews to gather the perceptions of Mexican business managers selected from United Nations indicators which were coupled to available certifications in Mexico.

Findings

It has been observed that the sustainability indicators framework can be adopted from international structures to the local/regional situation when companies have framed their performance under international certifications allowing to count with a minimum of indicators to be used for sustainability development tracking.

Originality/value

Sustainability indicators in industrial parks is not an addressed topic in Latin America. Mexico can be taken as an example for the other Latin American countries in sustainability trends and shows the current context of the use of this tool for measurement.

Details

Management Research Review, vol. 36 no. 12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8269

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Article
Publication date: 13 August 2018

Georgia Warren-Myers, Madeline Judge and Angela Paladino

Rating tools for the built environment were designed to engage consumers and enhance sustainability and resilience. However, the intended outcomes of these rating systems…

Abstract

Purpose

Rating tools for the built environment were designed to engage consumers and enhance sustainability and resilience. However, the intended outcomes of these rating systems appear to have limited implementation in the residential new housing market in Australia. The purpose of this paper is to investigate consumers’ motivations and experiences who have purchased houses that are situated in a sustainability-based certified development and will have been required to comply with mandatory dwelling certification.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper explores the awareness and perception of sustainability ratings and whether the motivations for purchasing in the sustainably certified development have heightened their awareness of sustainability and the resilience of new housing. This has been investigated through a pilot study of consumers who have purchased land in a certified estate and built a new home, through an online survey.

Findings

The findings reveal that the rating systems are at present not having the desired influence as first thought; that is, to inform consumers of the sustainability of a dwelling or property and to instigate trust of the environmental credentials of the property.

Research limitations/implications

This illuminating case study of participants who have purchased a sustainable rated development demonstrates that regardless of their concern for environmental issues, consumers have both low awareness and trust in the ratings. Despite this, consumers do seek value from these credentials to the overall property.

Originality/value

This study aims to illustrate the disconnect in engagement between developers, builders and new home buyers in relation to sustainability certification and implementation.

Details

International Journal of Building Pathology and Adaptation, vol. 36 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-4708

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Article
Publication date: 11 November 2013

Guoyou Qi, Saixing Zeng, Haitao Yin and Han Lin

This research aims to empirically investigate the influence of stakeholders on the corporate decision of ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and OHSAS 18001 certifications and how that…

Abstract

Purpose

This research aims to empirically investigate the influence of stakeholders on the corporate decision of ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and OHSAS 18001 certifications and how that influence differs across different certification types.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper utilizes a survey of 1,268 industrial enterprises in China, using logistic regressions to analyze corporate decision towards management standards use.

Findings

The results show that stakeholder influence varies across different management standard certifications. Foreign customers and neighboring community are significant drivers for ISO 9001 certification. Foreign investors, being publicly listed, and neighboring community each demonstrate a significant impact on ISO 14001 certification. Only being publicly listed shows significant explanatory power for certifying with OHSAS 18001.

Research limitations/implications

This study does not touch upon performance issues. The relationship between stakeholder pressure, certifications, and performance would be interesting to explore.

Practical implications

Information disclosure may be an effective tool to motivate firms to be more responsible for environment and society. Furthermore, measures should be taken to raise stakeholder awareness of corporate occupational health and safety (OH&S).

Originality/value

Although sustainability management demands attention to the three pillars of sustainability, empirical research tends to focus on only one aspect of it when studying standardized management practices use. This study investigates all three pillars using a unified framework. Furthermore, existing studies have focused predominantly on developed countries. The paper conducts research in China, one of the major developing economies. Lastly, the paper utilizes firm-level data on corporate sustainability management, which is hard to obtain in China.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 51 no. 10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2016

Carl-Alexander Graubner, Andrea Pelzeter and Sebastian Pohl

The purpose of this paper is to present the development of an action and assessment framework to make sustainability in German facility management (FM) transparent…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present the development of an action and assessment framework to make sustainability in German facility management (FM) transparent, measurable and assessable.

Design/methodology/approach

The underlying research project’s approach to develop the new action and assessment framework consisted of a three-step methodology: to define and substantiate sustainability in FM, to operationalise and quantify sustainability in FM and to validate the developed system draft through an initial pilot study.

Findings

The main result of the presented research project is a set of 24 criteria, organised into the separate areas of environmental, economic and sociocultural quality, as well as the quality of FM organisation and the sustainability of building/contract-specific facility services. The assessment methodology reflects the strategic approach of a plan–do–check–act loop to create a transparent and objective appraisal and a practical action framework.

Research limitations/implications

The outcome of the study is initially only a measurement and assessment framework. To transform the finalised system draft and assessment tool into a certification system, further steps of development are necessary.

Practical implications

The newly developed action and assessment framework is able to cure the blind spot that the relevant players (building owners, users and service providers) suffer from while developing, purchasing and comparing concepts for sustainable FM. The results and practical experiences of its initial pilot study show that this new framework can make the building operation phase and its processes transparent, measurable and assessable.

Social implications

The guideline is also able to establish a crucial basis for the development of corporate sustainability strategies and sustainability reporting. This is an important step in closing the existing gap in numerous corporate social responsibility reports.

Originality/value

Due to its assessment methodology and the calibration of its criteria, this new action and assessment framework both diversifies and completes the range of existing sustainability certification systems.

Details

Facilities, vol. 34 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-2772

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Article
Publication date: 4 June 2018

Ray Green, Piyush Tiwari, Jyoti Rao and Ricki Hersburgh

The purpose of this study was to explore strategies used by developers of master-planned housing development projects in Victoria, Australia, for obtaining certification

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study was to explore strategies used by developers of master-planned housing development projects in Victoria, Australia, for obtaining certification under the Urban Development Institute of Australia’s (UDIA) EnviroDevelopment (ED) sustainable development certification programme. To be awarded ED certification, a development must demonstrate that it meets the assessment criteria within at least four of the six ED “leaves”. These leaves relate to its performance in terms of energy, water, materials, waste, community and ecosystems. This study explored how developers make choices regarding sustainability features they build into the planning, design and management of their developments to gain the leaves needed for ED certification. Having this certification is valued by developers as it can be used to demonstrate the sustainability credentials of their developments to potential house buyers, the validity of which is backed up by a trusted independent non-profit organisation (UDIA).

Design/methodology/approach

The study sought to quantify the preferential weightings of nine developers in selecting ED “leaves” and the strategies they use for meeting the assessment criteria needed to obtain selected ED leaves. This was done using a novel data collection and analysis method, the analytical hierarchical process (AHP), which relies on respondents, in this case, developers of ED certified development projects, making pairwise comparisons between choices of different development factors associated with the different ED “leaves”.

Findings

The most highly preferred ED leaves were found to be community, energy and ecosystems. “Community facilities” and “on-site transportation” were the two most highly weighted factors associated with the community leaf. Energy, the next most preferred leaf, was most highly weighted on “saving on operational costs” for the consumers (home buyers). Here consumer demand factors seem to be driving preferences. The ecology leaf was the next most preferred, with “existing site conditions” being the most highly weighted factor for this leaf. For sites that already contain significant areas of indigenous habitat, such as wetlands, selecting this leaf would seem to be an attractive, and potentially lower cost, option. Existing ecologically significant natural areas that are preserved, and where necessary enhanced, can be used for marketing purposes and serve in fulfilling planning open-space contribution requirements. The developers were more indifferent to the water, waste and materials leaves; however, the water leaf was rated slightly higher than the other two and was most strongly associated with “recycled water” and opportunities for “water conservation”, another example of demand factors driving preferences.

Originality/value

The results of this study reveal the preferences of a small sample of developers in terms of how they weigh different factors in making decisions about acquiring sustainability certification for residential master-planned development projects through the UDIA’S ED programme. The findings provide insight into the types of decisions developers make in the process of seeking ED certification, which includes considerations of site characteristics, costs, predicted effectiveness of different interventions and usefulness for marketing and other factors in terms of which ED leaves to pursue and how to acquire them to gain ED certification. The study also tested the AHP method as a methodological tool for addressing this question. Modifications in how data are collected using the on-line survey can be made to allow the method to be more easily used with larger respondent sample sizes. Collection of more focussed data elicited from respondents with specific areas of expertise, for example, specialists in energy, water, landscape architecture and planning, ecology and other relevant areas of knowledge, should also been considered.

Details

International Journal of Housing Markets and Analysis, vol. 11 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8270

Keywords

Content available
Book part
Publication date: 1 May 2019

Søren Wandahl, Louise Lund and Hasse Neve

The aim of this study is to develop a framework that incorporates social aspects of housing refurbishment when evaluating the sustainability of refurbishment projects. The…

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this study is to develop a framework that incorporates social aspects of housing refurbishment when evaluating the sustainability of refurbishment projects. The research examined whether the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB) certification yields a holistic approach to social sustainability.

Approach

A framework for social sustainability was established from values identified through reviews of certification systems, published literature and from interviews. The target is to better assess and value holistic and soft parameters like social sustainability when assessing the overall value creation of projects.

Findings

The result was a more transparent and systematic structure, which revealed that the DGNB certification had shortcomings in a holistic approach to social sustainability. Counteractions for these shortcomings are discussed.

Research Limitations

Researchers are still discussing how to include more soft aspects like social aspects with the more hard measures like energy consumption and initial cost in the same equation for addressing sustainability in a more holistic framework. This research contributes to this.

Practical Implications

Considering the current climate situation and the amount and the state of existing European building stock, sustainable renovation is inevitable. In Europe, the DGNB certification is one of the most applied certification systems of sustainability. It approaches all parts of sustainability. Yet, social sustainability has been criticised for being neglected.

Originality/Value

A review of literature concerning the concept suggests that it is a concept in chaos. There have been a number of attempts to impose some order to this; however, the attempts have all been made differently and with limited success.

Details

10th Nordic Conference on Construction Economics and Organization
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83867-051-1

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Article
Publication date: 3 February 2020

Cordula Hinkes and Günter Peter

Sustainability certification of agricultural commodities might be one measure to ensure deforestation-free supply chains. The purpose of this paper is to add to previous…

Abstract

Purpose

Sustainability certification of agricultural commodities might be one measure to ensure deforestation-free supply chains. The purpose of this paper is to add to previous assessments of soy certification systems with respect to “zero deforestation” criteria by focusing on the aspect of traceability.

Design/methodology/approach

A conceptual framework for assessing certification systems is proposed based on a literature review. This concept is applied to 16 soy certification systems, considering previous studies and available chain-of-custody certification options.

Findings

Among the sample, five certification systems may contribute to ensuring deforestation-free soy supply chains, as they have relatively high “zero deforestation” and assurance requirements and support at least segregation. Other chain-of-custody systems are insufficient in terms of traceability, but still dominate the market.

Research limitations/implications

The assessment considers only certification systems that have been benchmarked according to criteria developed by the European feed industry. Regular updates and further assessments of certification systems for other commodities are recommended.

Practical implications

Supply chain actors and policymakers are informed about certification systems that may ensure deforestation-free sourcing. However, different factors influence the implementation of zero deforestation commitments, such as adverse effects, economic trade-offs and new certification and traceability concepts.

Social implications

The implementation of deforestation-free supply chains should contribute to achieving sustainable development goals. Potential adverse social effects need to be considered.

Originality/value

This study focuses on the so far rather neglected but essential aspect of traceability, which is required for ensuring deforestation-free sourcing along the whole supply chain.

Details

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, vol. 11 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8021

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Article
Publication date: 20 November 2009

Mirja Mikkilä, Jussi Heinimö, Virgilio Panapanaan, Lassi Linnanen and Andre Faaij

The purpose of this paper is to outline a comprehensive picture of the coverage of various certification schemes and sustainability principles relating to the entire…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to outline a comprehensive picture of the coverage of various certification schemes and sustainability principles relating to the entire value‐added chain of biomass and bioenergy and comparing them accordingly.

Design/methodology/approach

A tri‐dimensional approach (sustainability issues; technical biomass conversion routes; physical trade flows) was developed for testing the coverage of various sustainability dimensions in different phases of the value‐added chain with the chosen certification schemes and sustainability principles.

Findings

Using the tri‐dimensional approach, a comparison of the chosen schemes and principles demonstrated that the application of existing schemes and the development of new ones have placed a major emphasis on the primary production of biomass. Economic and social dimensions related to biofuels and bioenergy processing and trade were either emphasised less or they were covered inadequately. In view of this, the schemes sometimes seem to ignore that the utilisation of renewable energy as such guarantee no positive or neutral climate impact and may not be economically sustainable, especially when bioenergy can often be more expensive than energy generated from fossil energy sources.

Originality/value

The analysis showed that the tri‐dimensional model is an applicable framework that could facilitate policy makers to formulate policies that comprehensively take into consideration the various sustainability dimensions throughout the entire value‐added chain, now and in the future. It can be applied to the future outlining and completion of certification schemes and sustainability principles for biomass and bioenergy, as well as in the testing of their applicability in the implementation.

Details

International Journal of Energy Sector Management, vol. 3 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1750-6220

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