FAQ

Getting started

How can I find out more? What's the next step?

Have a good look through our website and give us a call with any questions you have. We can prepare a proposal for membership if you are interested or alternatively you can complete your own online proposal using our automated proposal service. When we have received your signed proposal, we will set you up in our database, invoice you and email you with start-up information. We will also post confirmation to you by mail.

How much of my time/resources will I need to allocate to this?

The time it takes to progress through the Enviro-Mark levels varies from business to business, mainly related to how well developed your existing systems are when you start. As a rough guide a few hours per week by a person with some systems knowledge would see a small to medium-sized company progress to Enviro-Mark Gold in about two years. If you wish to move faster it's just a matter of putting extra resource into it, either internally or by using the Enviro-Mark consultancy service or other service providers to help you. Our consultant can discuss your particular situation with you and help you develop a realistic project plan to guide your progress though the five levels.

Who is the best person to coordinate this programme within my organisation?

Appointing an Enviro-Mark coordinator or project manager is an important step and can make all the difference to achieving your environmental management goals. Good communication skills are required; an understanding of systems and standards is advantageous, e.g. quality, safety and environmental standards; middle management is ideal if your company is big enough; prior environmental knowledge is useful but not essential. We highly recommend training for all key people involved. See our training schedule for more information on training workshops near you.

What does it mean to be a primary contact?

The primary contact is the person within your organisation who has overall responsibility for coordinating your environmental management programme. We may have a number of contacts (often referred to as site contacts) within an organisation but the primary contact is the key person who we contact for membership renewals, booking of audits and communicating any updates or changes to the programme.

How much does it cost?

Membership subscriptions are based on the number of physical locations (or sites) that your organisation has. Auditing costs are additional andbased on the time required by the auditor to complete the on-site audits. So both costs vary depending on the number of sites and how prepared each is for their audit. As a ballpark figure, membership for a single site is $2,100 per year and audit costs average out for such sites at about $2,000 per year (assuming that the auditor does not need to travel long distances to your location). If you need a more accurate idea of costs, please contact us.

We've got more than one branch/site; can we still join?

Yes

Does the whole organisation need to progress at the same rate? What's the best way to implement this if I have multiple sites/branches?

The choice is yours. You can structure your membership to have each site progress at the rate that suits them best or you can coordinate it as a corporate system and have the entire business progress through the Enviro-Mark levels at the same rate. For larger companies with a range of divisions and operations in different geographic locations you can choose whether you would like a companywide certification or have operations progress at their own rate. You can discuss the relative merits of each approach with our Environmental Advisor.

What's the first thing I should do once I've joined and received my materials?

Relax; no need to tackle all five levels at once! Have a read through the checklists and guidance notes, particularly the Bronze level, and make a note of any questions as you go through. You can ringus onour 0800 ENMARK free phone (0800 366 275) during business hours to speak to one of our Enviro-Mark staff members, or our Environmental Advisor, or email us on enviro-mark@landcareresearch.co.nz anytime. If possible, book for the next workshop in your area. These workshops are designed to be hands-on and provide you with the support and guidance you'll need in order to make progress.

What do I do if I get stuck?

We highly recommend all members attend an initial workshop/training session to get a good overview of the programme and what is required to progress through the levels. Once you have done the training you can refer to your Enviro-Mark guidance materials, phone our 0800 number with your query, or book a phone appointment to discuss your questions with our Enviro-Mark Environmental Advisor. One of the great things about Enviro-Mark is that you are supported to develop your EMS and we are here to help you along the way.

What can I do to progress more quickly?

Some businesses want to fast-track their progress and get certified at a high level pronto. The Enviro-Mark team can provide you with a tailored proposal for consultancy assistance built around your particular needs. Just phone our 0800 number (0800 ENMARK / 0800 366 275) and ask to discuss this option with our Environmental Advisor.

Auditing & certification

What does being certified mean?

Certification to an Enviro-Mark level means your environmental management progress has been independently verified as being up to (or above) the standard for that level. This means your clients can have confidence that you have achieved that standard. Systemsthat promote some form of self-certification are of doubtful value in the same way that self-diagnosis will never be as useful as a visit to the doctor.

How long will it take to get certified?

The rate at which you progress is dependent on several factors: your current situation (e.g. quality, safety and environmental) and the resources you can put to the project. Most businesses work towards Bronze and achieve that in their first year and then decide at what rate they want to progress after that. We have had businesses go to Diamond in their first year, so it's really up to you. To get a better idea of how long it will take your business, phone for a detailed discussion with our Environmental Advisor.

Why are there five levels to the programme. Do I have to start with Bronze?

The task of developing impressive, comprehensive environmental credentials can seem rather daunting. The Enviro-Mark programme divides the necessary work into five logical steps. Enviro-Mark Bronze deals with the starting point of understanding your health, safety and environmental obligations, i.e. the stuff you already should be doing.

Can I be audited for more than one level at a time?

Yes. You should first read through the checklists and guidance notes we supply for each level, to ensureyou meet the requirements, and also have a chat to our advisor to assess your preparedness. When booking your audit we'll need to ensure the auditor is able to spend additional time on site if required. Please alert us to your plans and the level of certification you are aiming for. Generally, we only issue a certificate for the highest level achieved at the audit, but sometimes our members like to display the full range of certificates, so additional copies of the certificates can be arranged on request.

I'm already doing lots of green stuff in my business. Can I go straight for Gold?

Depending on the state of your existing systems you may already be doing many things that contribute to the sustainability of your business and these may relate to Enviro-Mark levels. If you are legally compliant with all environmental and health and safety requirements then it is possible you could meet the requirements of Enviro-Mark Bronze. The Enviro-Mark programme helps you identify and manage environmental risks. Even though you may have lots of green initiatives, that may not necessarily equate directly to the Enviro-Mark levels as Enviro-Mark is based on the systems you have in place and not just on the initiatives you may be involved in, e.g. recycling.

Do you certify my products as being good for the environment?

No. We certify your systems for managing environmental risks, not that your products or services are better than someone else's. However, comprehensive certification takes into account your products/services (production, distribution, and disposal thereof).

How often do I need to be audited?

You need to be audited at least once a year once you have achieved Bronze, whether you wish to progress up a level or not. Your certification generally lasts a year from the date of your last audit and is only valid while you are a current member of the programme. You can be audited more frequently if you wish to progress at a faster rate.

How do I book an audit?

To book an audit, please phone Sue Taylor on 03 321 9702 or email sue.taylor@enviro-mark.com. You should book your audit well before you are due for recertification. As much notice as possible is required as our auditors are usually booked about six to eight weeks in advance.

What happens if I don't pass my audit?

It is not unusual for a company to have some outstanding items they need to address after an audit. You have a six-week time frame from the date of your audit report to address any Corrective Action Requests (CARs). We call this the CAR's period, and when you have addressed the requirements you provide the information directly to your auditor. Depending on the complexity of the CARs another visit may be required by the auditor to confirm all the requirements have been met. If it is a minor issue then close-out of CARs can occur by exchange of information without an on-site reaudit. If you cannot address the CARs within an acceptable time frame you may be considered for certification to a lower level if appropriate.

Why do I need to be a member? Can't I just pay for the audits?

Membership is the core of Enviro-Mark. Members receive guidance on the process of developing, implementing, and maintaining their environmental practices. We provide members with resources, training opportunities, and advice to smooth the way. Just getting audited would be like trying to run an ironman race without having done any training. You're unlikely to achieve what you want.

Promoting your credentials

How can I promote my certification?

Each level of certification in Enviro-Mark has its unique logo, which shows your level of achievement. We encourage our members to promote their certification by using the logo on advertising, letterheads, displays, and (once they have achieved Gold or higher) on product labelling.

How widely recognised is Enviro-Mark? In New Zealand? Overseas? By governments and councils?

Enviro-Mark is widely recognised within New Zealand. Both central and local government have been involved with Enviro-Mark from the start. Enviro-Mark is not so widely recognised overseas, and while we have no immediate plans to start certifications outside New Zealand, we do expect to do so in the future. When we do, we expect to start in Australia.

In addition to the Enviro-Mark programme, we can help your organisation understand and manage environmental impacts with a range of simple, effective and credible services and tools. To learn more about this range of solutions click here to download a flyer or see our parent company website for more information: www.enviro-mark.com

Enviro-Mark and ISO14001

I've heard of ISO14001; how does the Enviro-Mark programme relate to this?

Enviro-Mark contains all the requirements of ISO14001. We also include some additional requirements around legislative compliance at the time of your audit. It is a five level certification, each level building on the last until all the criteria of the ISO14001 standard are fully expressed at the Enviro-Mark Diamond certification level. The only difference in content is that the Enviro-Mark programme requires evidence at audit that the organisation is compliant with their regulatory obligations, where ISO14001 requires only identification of obligations and that they be “taken into account” when developing the environmental management system. Therefore, as Enviro-Mark Diamond certification contains all the requirements of the ISO14001 criteria along with additional assessment of legislative compliance, we consider it to be a more robust and relevant standard than that set under ISO14001.    

But, more importantly, the approach taken by the two programmes are significantly different.

  • ISO14001 is a very “hands off” process which needs either existing in-house expertise or the hiring of consultants to help your staff implement the systems required by the standards. 
  • ISO14001 is an all-or-nothing certification, while Enviro-Mark recognises when you have achieved each step along the way.
  • Enviro-Mark Diamond provides a mentored approach to the process of implementing the systems. Our approach concentrates on up-skilling your staff to establish, implement and maintain the in-house systems needed by the standard. In addition, the Enviro-Mark programme requires the participants to be able to prove compliance with New Zealand most commonly applicable Health, Safety and Environmental legislation. Therefore an ISO14001 certified organisation might not meet the Enviro-Mark Diamond criteria, but an Enviro-Mark Diamond certified organisation will meet the ISO14001 standard.

When I reach Diamond, do I automatically get ISO14001?

No. These two certifications are quite separate and are issued by different organisations. When you reach Enviro-Mark Diamond you will have satisfied the requirements of ISO14001 but you will need an audit carried out by a qualified ISO14001 auditor and registration with the appropriate certification provider. A number of our Enviro-Mark Diamond members hold both certifications (i.e. are also ISO14001:2004 certified). To enable them to hold both certifications without “doubling up” on auditing we arrange a single (dual) audit by a suitably qualified auditor. If you would be interested in speaking with a client who holds both certifications, to understand what benefits they see in holding both, we would be happy to provide such an introduction.

Miscellaneous

Will having an EMS save me money?

That's like asking if having a fast car will get you to work on time! Most organisations do find significant savings come from focusing on their environmental performance but not everyone does. Not all organisations have cost-savings opportunities and many join the Enviro-Mark programme for other reasons (help with compliance, requirements for tendering, for competitive advantage, and corporate responsibility being a few of those reasons).

Can I pay our membership fees by direct credit?

Definitely! Please contact us for our bank account details or refer to the bottom of your invoice.

What is the difference between Enviro-Mark and carboNZero certification?

Enviro-Mark helps organisations to develop good internal systems to manage all their significant environmental risks. The carboNZero programme helps businesses manage their greenhouse gas emissions, which can be a significant environmental risk for some organisations. 

I've taken over from someone else. What do I do?

Firstly, you'll need to get your head around what has (or hasn't) been done. Your organisation should have copies of the Enviro-Mark guidance notes and checklists somewhere so look out for these and make sure you have access to them. Then, make sure you let us know so that we can update our records and make you the new primary contact. We can update you on your organisation's current Enviro-Mark status and help answer any questions you might have and provide you with additional copies of any guidance notes and checklists. If you haven't been involved in improving environmental performance before, you should look at attending one of our workshops as soon as possible so that you can get up to speed with what it's all about.

How will the new Health & Safety Reform Act impact my organisation?

The Health and Safety Reform Bill is expected to focus on improving the proactive Health and Safety performance of organisations. The Bill has received over 6000 submissions during its Select Committee stage, and changes to the content of the Bill are still being made. Once the Bill returns to Parliament, we expect it will be passed into law swiftly and become active before the end of the year.

While the exact details of the final Act are not currently known, we are able to make some educated guesses (based on the Australian H&S legislative model that our lawmakers have stated they have used to guide their thinking). We expect regulations will drive enhancement through:

1.       More active involvement of governance bodies (Boards, Directors, and Partners) in ensuring appropriate Health and Safety systems are active in your organisation, and

2.       Ensuring active staff involvement in the Health and Safety system, and

3.       Ensuring Health and Safety systems covering shared environments are appropriately integrated.

As soon as the new Act’s details are clear we will begin working with our members to achieve compliance going forward.

Where does Landcare Research fit in all this?

Landcare Research is a New Zealand Crown Research Institute specialising in sustainable management of land resources, optimising primary production, enhancing biodiversity, increasing the resource efficiency of businesses, and conserving and restoring the natural assets of our communities. As of 1 July 2013, Enviro-Mark has been integrated with carboNZero and CEMARS under the banner of Enviro-Mark Solutions Limited.  The new company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Landcare Research.