SAIF members scoop eco awards

words: Brendan Day, Greener Globe Funeral Awards
Greener Globe award

The transition away from high-emission practices towards a greener, more sustainable future is the defining challenge of the 21st century. Meeting this challenge head on will require every sector to do its bit to identify, manage and mitigate their environmental impact.

More and more businesses are beginning to step up to the challenge, recognising that, as well as an ethical necessity, sustainable business practices are key to achieving innovation, good reputation and customer trust moving forward.

While the overall goal of net-zero emissions is a shared one, each industry will face a unique set of obstacles and considerations on their journey towards it.

That’s the basis for the development of the Greener Globe Funeral Awards (GGFA), a sustainability framework specifically for funeral directors. Offering a bespoke service to each member, the GGFA provides guidance and support for funeral directors so that they can make a positive environmental impact with the resources available to them. It provides recognition of this impact through a four-tier – bronze, silver, gold and platinum – award system, which enables funeral directors to showcase their achievements to customers, stakeholders, and the broader community.

To achieve the Bronze Award, a business must commit publicly to the GGFA’s ‘Trusted Environmental Policy’, or equivalent, which sets out five objectives for minimising environmental damage caused by the funeral industry. These are:

Transport (with reduced emissions)

Reducing water wastage

Use of sustainable energy

Sustainable supplies and procurement

The management of waste

Having committed to these objectives, the next step is to complete an online Sustainability Audit Questionnaire.

This involves a thorough examination of the organisation and the areas responsible for the greatest environmental impact, including those which may often be overlooked. From here, funeral directors can begin to identify opportunities for changes – big and small – which will help to lead them in a more sustainable direction. Once the audit has been completed and accepted, the business receives the Silver Award.

For the Gold Award, the business is required to adopt and implement a short-term strategy which builds on the opportunities for improvement identified at the previous stage. Here, the focus is on smaller, more manageable steps which can be taken immediately to reduce the business’ carbon footprint. The aim is to achieve a significant impact, without demanding an inordinate amount of time and resources.

The Platinum Award focuses on a more long-term strategy. To receive this, a business must outline and adopt a plan for addressing more fundamental issues relating to its environmental impact.

Since this will likely require a significant amount of investment, it is recognised that a greater timescale will be needed in which to achieve these goals. This final tier therefore indicates to clients that the funeral director is committed to the long-term ambition of a greener, more sustainable industry and is willing to take the steps required to make it a reality.

Working with SAIF members, the first two Bronze Awards have been made and the second stage is now being developed. For more information, or to be involved in the development of this environmental standard, email here.

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