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Frequently asked questions

Below you will find answers to some of the questions we get asked most often. If your question isn’t on the list, contact us and we will get back to you as quick as we can.

How much does Green Small Business cost?

Getting a Green Small Business in place could cost you nothing if you use our free guide and do the work yourself. The maximum cost, where we do most of the work for you, is GBP499 (plus VAT if in the EU).

If you choose to get your Green Small Business certified, the annual certification cost is a mere GBP199 (plus VAT if in the EU).

See our Buy Now page for more details.

Contrast that with costs of a standard environmental management system – typically between £1,100 and £2,100 per year for small businesses.

What will my Green Small Business EMS cost to implement?

Environmental management systems are based on the concept of continual improvement, i.e. no business is perfect or ever will be, but we can all do better.

Having an environmental management system in place is a way of demonstrating your commitment to getting better but the pace and nature of your improvement is set by you, not by anyone else. So if you want to go slowly and minimise your implementation costs, you can.

However, your environmental management system will probably make your business money. Not only could it open up new markets for your business, but you could also make savings from things like energy use and waste disposal.

Is Green Small Business suitable for my business?

Green Small Business has been designed specifically for small businesses and other small organsiations. Micro-businesses (typically less than 10 employees) will love Green Small Business.

Bigger organisations who are office-based and whose main environmental impacts are associated with travel and purchasing, are also likely to opt for Green Small Business over other certification schemes.

Green Small Business is suitable for a very wide range of business and organisation types, including:

  • service companies (accountants, financial advisers, management consultancies, recruitment agencies, estate agents, retailers etc.)
  • tradespeople (builders, plumbers, electricians etc)
  • entertainment businesses (festivals, events etc).

Manufacturing companies, particularly those which involve the use of any hazardous materials, are probably better suited to traditional environmental management systems.

Currently, we have templates for:

  • service companies (which will be applicable to most office-based service companies)
  • retailers
  • tradespeople (plumbers, electricians, joiners etc)
  • construction company
  • festivals or events

If you’re unsure, drop us a line.

Is formal certification necessary?

The setting up of an environmental management system can be entirely informal. You can design, monitor and implement it yourself.

However, demonstrating independent certification of your system can enhance your credentials and maximise the marketing benefits for your company. It can also help to keep you on your toes – avoiding your environmental management system simply gathering dust on a shelf.

Our pricing options allow for both approaches. If you don’t get Green Small Business certification you can’t then claim to have it, but you can of course tell your customers and potential customers that you have an environmental management system which follows the principles of the Green Small Business approach.

What other certification schemes are available?

The two main environmental management system certification schemes are ISO 14001 and EMAS.

A third, BS 8555 scheme does not provide certification but provides guidance for implementing an environmental management system on a phase-by-phase basis.

In theory, these schemes are suitable for businesses of all sizes. In practice, they’re beyond the reach of many small businesses, requiring significant investment of time and money on an ongoing basis to develop, implement and monitor. Even the simpler BS 855 approach has seven stages in phase 1 alone!

Particularly in the case of office-based organizations who don’t produce lots of waste, consume lots of water or energy or handle hazardous materials, getting ISO 14001 of EMAS certification can feel over-the-top.

That’s where Green Small Business comes in. It’s based on many of the same principles as ISO 14001 but it’s specifically tailored to small businesses.

If I develop my EMS myself, can I still get it certified by Green Small Business?

Yes, absolutely!

If you use the handbook to prepare your environmental management system yourself, you can of course tell the world that you have an environmental management system in place and that you followed the principles of the Green Small Business approach. However, you can’t claim Green Small Business certification.

If you later decide to seek Green Small Business certification, we would be delighted!. We’ll check your environmental management system and provide you with Green Small Business certification – you can pay for certification at the Buy Now page.

How much work is involved in preparing a Green Small Business EMS?

This is a tricky one! It really depends on the type of business or organization you are and the scope and scale of your environmental impacts. Using the Green Small Business Handbook and the accompanying tools, we reckon most small businesses could have an environmental management system in place with around 3-5 hours work.

You can of course let us do the work for you. Choose Option 3 on our Pricing page.