Developed in Scotland, the National Green Standard Award (NGSA) is an independently administered award that can be achieved by schools whose leaders are committed to instilling sustainable practices which result in outcomes to meet the criteria of the award.
Commenting on its introduction, Steve Homer, Head of Business Development at NGSA said: “The award has been introduced to recognise socially responsible, economically viable and environmentally sound practices.
“As well as helping to reduce the exploitation of the Earth’s resources, schools and their communities can gain considerably from working with the NGSA framework and from achieving the Award itself.
“Any organisation can work with the NGSA framework with an aim of achieving an Award. Consequently, unlike more sector-specific awards and standards, the NGSA is more directly relevant and recognisable by all business sectors. It is therefore more open to being respected by a wider range of the school’s stakeholders.”
The award is achieved through a structured model of robust self and facilitated assessment that enables participating organisations to be benchmarked against, and benefit from, world class performance standards. The NGSA model requires policies and procedures to be systematically integrated with organisational benefits and financial savings. Achievement of the award ensures that a school is socially responsible, economically viable and environmentally sound.
The NGSA criteria has transferrable value with a range of industry standards and conversely other standards such as Green Flag can contribute towards the NGSA.
“From market research a gap was recognised in the market to recognise schools on their journey towards a circular economy and promote the Triple Bottom Line concepts of: People, Planet and Profits,” adds Steve. “The NGSA assists with the move towards a more circular economy – where products and materials are kept in high value use for as long as possible. It does this in a managed way, and has been designed to build on progress in the zero waste and resource efficiency agendas.”
A more circular economy will benefit:
- the environment – cutting waste and carbon emissions and reducing reliance on scarce resources;
- the economy – improving productivity, opening up new markets and improving resilience; and
- communities – more, lower cost options to access the goods we need with opportunities for social enterprise.
“Many organisations are making excellent progress in supporting the circular economy but find it difficult to benchmark their progress,” continued Steve. “The NGSA provides a benchmark and a score to compare across others who have achieved the award. Using the principles and metrics of the NGSA will help to link the introduction or development of environmental policy, procedures, and targets to improvements in waste and resource management that will result in savings. However, the NGSA then goes much further by encouraging and subsequently recognising effort to engage with the community on mutually beneficial projects and activities that will promote and provide recognition in the community and the achievements in terms of corporate social responsibility.”