What is accreditation?
The number of environmental and sustainable development awards has grown dramatically over the past few years. This has led to problems for potential sponsors and entrants who are often unsure of the quality and validity of schemes and in turn for the organisers.
The RSA Environment Awards Accreditation Scheme has been in operation for the past 10 years, with the aim of helping to differentiate the large number of award schemes currently in existence. It provides a mechanism with which to identify the best from the rest, giving recognition to those award schemes that meet a robust set of criteria and by doing so demonstrate high quality and validity.
The Scheme is committed to improving the design, operation and efficiency of award schemes across the UK and so supporting DEFRA in meeting its overarching challenge ‘to secure a healthy environment in which we and future generations can prosper’.
It does this by accrediting awards to objective standards, ensuring that there is a benchmark for awards that reward real progress towards sustainability. The Accreditation Scheme encourages the creation of new awards and provides guidance and advice on best practice for running award schemes.
It is run by the RSA Environment Awards Forum, whose broad range of disciplines, professional experience and sectoral representation forms the necessary bedrock on which to base an evaluation framework that ensures UK Awards remain robust, credible and exemplary.
Another important aim of the Accreditation Scheme is to provide good quality feeder schemes for the European Commission’s biennial European Business Awards for the Environment (EBAE). The EBAE play a crucial role in demonstrating progress on environmental and sustainable development issues worldwide. The Forum is tasked with selecting the UK entrants through accredited feeder schemes for the EBAE, meaning that the companies that get through are the cream of the crop in terms of UK environmental innovation. The UK is an exemplar throughout Europe due to its success at the EBAE (it has won 9 consecutive rounds, the last one being in 2010 with Findus Group).
Feeder Schemes are entitled to use the European Awards logo on their award literature to show that they are a recognised Feeder Scheme. Projects that are submitted for entry are also permitted to use the European Awards logo to promote their achievements, this benefit has 3 stages; UK entrant, EU finalist, EU winner.
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