The EcoLighthouse scheme offers a more comfortable start for enterprises to greener their activities and thereby increase their competitiveness.
The main idea behind the scheme was to make it easier for SMEs and public institutions to transform into green business and increase competitiveness through certification.
The City of Kristiansand initiated EcoLighthouse in 1996 and established in 2004 the Eco-Lighthouse Foundation as a non-profit organization together with local and central government’s main trade organizations and labor associations.
The Eco-Lighthouse is a valuable tool for authorities and businesses in the quest for sustainability and eco-efficiency. Eco-Lighthouse certified enterprises work towards satisfying requirements and implementing environmental measures on a systematic and ongoing basis to establish more environmentally friendly operations and safer work conditions, to transform into green business and increase competitiveness.
The scheme fits for most enterprises; there exist over 80 applicable industry-specific criteria, divided into 14 groups classified according to the Norwegian Standard Industrial Classification.
The Eco-Lighthouse certification scheme is one of three environmental schemes eligible to apply in public tenders. Eco-Lighthouse is deemed a recognized environmental management system in Regulation (EC) no. 1221/2009, article 45.
Enterprises seeking Eco-Lighthouse certification are required to obtain a qualified Eco-Lighthouse consultant to prepare for the certification process. Only authorised experts can approve the certificate. Post-certification, continuous monitoring of the companies environmental performance is demande
Evidence of success
Based on survey results among 5000+ organizations, certified enterprises experience improving their environmental performance, significantly contribute to the green transition, increase their competitiveness, reduce their costs and sick leave. In numbers;
- 77% experience large-scale environmental improvements
- 50% experience greatly strengthened competitiveness.
- 64% experiencing reputation improvement.
- 39% experience significantly reduced costs.
The transition into green businesses and competitiveness depends on the market. It is a necessity that the market requires that enterprises are certified and continuously improve their environmental performance.
Potential for learning or transfer
The scheme has proven to be a sufficient tool for Norwegian local governments to create a more sustainable community. About 300 Norwegian municipalities are using the certification scheme.
The scheme started as one project in one municipality in the late '90s and is now standard practice in Norway with more than 6600 valid certificates.
In 2007 around 1000 businesses were certified. Now there are 6600 valid certificates.
As for many European SMEs, environmental management and certification are still complicated, costly and time-consuming, Eco-Lighthouse represents an easier path for enterprises to greening their activities and thereby improving their competitiveness.
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