The Green Leaf™ Eco Standard (GLES) is a series of modules specifically constructed as sustainability and certification assessment tools for the performance management of any international organisation or property. In its name, “Green Leaf™” stems from the symbol representing the philosophy of people and place in environmental leadership and conservation of the Wilderness Foundation. “Eco Standard” is an integrated concept which promotes the synergy of environmental, social and economic systems to facilitate behavioural and material adaptations in a business beyond the triple bottom-line.
The Standard was born out of a collaboration between UK Tourism Operators and the Wilderness Foundation, seeking a standard for African tourism accommodation which was impartial, robust and meaningful. The founders of the Green Leaf™ Environmental Standard in 2007 were Andrew Phillips (CEO: Green Leaf Environmental Services) and Andrew Muir (CEO: Wilderness Foundation). The Green Leaf Environmental Trust was and is the custodian of GLES, the trustees being Andrew Phillips and Andrew Muir. The simple vision of the founding GLES was “to enable and certify the balance between business and nature”. More on the history of GLES can be found here
The GLES is defined by a modular structure which is specific to each relevant business sector (e.g. GLES 101 for Tourism, GLES 102 for Business, GLES 104 for Manufacturing, etc.). For each sector, certification comprises three Spheres of Influence: an initial CORE phase, followed by RESPONSIBLE and RESTORATIVE phases. The initial CORE phase establishes the basic requirements for sustainability certification, and is a prerequisite for both the RESPONSIBLE and RESTORATIVE phases. For a schematic on the GLES process, click here.
The requirements of the GLES were established by a Technical Committee of sustainability experts in industry and academia. The custodians of the GLES are the Green Leaf Environmental Trust, who manage the technical review of the Standard through appointment of a Technical Committee
and also review the suitability of GLES Accredited Facilities
Organisations wishing to be certified under the Green Leaf™ Eco Standard (GLES) undergo a consultation, audit and verification process through one of the GLES Global Verification Agencies
(GVAs). These GVAs are fully-trained in the GLES protocols, have suitability-qualified staff and act in an impartial manner to ensure full third-party certification of GLES. The GVAs are also responsible for maintaining compliance and certification validity at amongst their clients’ organisations. Sustainability organisations around the globe have the opportunity to act as local franchisees of the GLES – further information can be found here