South Downs

Green South Downs - Sustainability Certification Programme

About Green South Downs

The Green South Downs Sustainability Certification is a bespoke sustainability award programme created by the South Downs National Park Authority in partnership with Green Tourism for businesses based and/or working in the South Downs National Park.

The scheme helps businesses working in the visitor economy, food and drink or land-based sectors on their sustainability journey and get recognition for the work they are doing.

The Certification has three award levels – Bronze, Silver, and Gold – awarded in line with Green Tourism’s industry-leading assessment framework, which provides a holistic review of a business’s sustainability performance based on the three key pillars of People, Place, and Planet.

How to apply

To apply for the Green South Downs Sustainability Certification, complete the online form, and choose ‘Green South Downs’ from the ‘Campaign’ drop-down menu.

About the Green South Downs pilot

Nineteen businesses in the National Park joined the programme pilot – launched in October 2022. They have been able to showcase their work related to these three pillars and look for additional ways to reduce their impact on the environment and find efficiencies in the resources they use.

This is what three businesses that took part in the pilot scheme had to say:

“We are completely thrilled and chuffed to bits with our Silver award and will proudly print and display in the taproom and brewery, on our website and our social media… spreading the word and promoting awareness far and wide.” – Lesley Foulkes, Langham Brewery

“We have found the whole process to be incredibly informative and useful and it’s changed the way that Woodfire works. We’re so pleased to have been part of the pilot.” – Mark Griffiths, Woodfire Camping

“As a micro-business, we found it a really good process to get us thinking about our journey to being a fully ‘climate-positive’ business. We have a much clearer vision and plan to grow ‘in the right way’ which will continue to positively impact our environment and local ecosystem.” – Nathaniel Loxley, Vitality Hemp

Eligibility

The scheme is now open to all businesses directly in or close to the South Downs National Park that are members of Our South Downs. If you are not already a member, join here.

Assessment

Participating businesses are required to complete the Green South Downs assessment by working through the Green South Downs criteria. A Green Tourism assessor will then verify the information provided and give the business a Bronze, Silver, or Gold Award according to performance against the criteria.

It is recommended that businesses allow half a day to complete the assessment process. Progress is saved so the assessment can be completed over time, so long as it is submitted for verification within 12 weeks. Collating the required information before starting will speed up the process.

Benefits

A Green South Downs Certification gives instant assurance to customers of a participating business’s green credentials for it demonstrates that it has been independently assessed against robust sustainable certification standards. This could well be a competitive advantage in appealing to an ever-increasing market of customers and buyers with a preference for sustainable providers.

As part of the assessment, participating businesses will receive expert recommendations and a bespoke action plan for sustainability improvements and efficiencies.

Green South Downs participants will be part of a supportive network of like-minded businesses dedicated to building an economically alive South Downs National Park where nature can thrive.

Green South Downs sustainability certification criteria

If you are interested in joining the scheme but would like to know more about the Certification criteria, please contact us using the online form.

About Our South Downs

Our South Downs is a business-focused network, created by the South Downs National Park Authority, born to bring together the business community across the National Park: aligning goals, shortening supply chains, and sharing experiences; working together towards a net zero and sustainable future.

About South Downs National Park Authority

The South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) is responsible for keeping the South Downs a special place. Home to over 8000 businesses, the 1,627 square km National Park’s purpose is to conserve and enhance the protected landscape, promote the park’s special qualities for the public’s understanding and enjoyment, and foster the social and economic well-being of the local communities within it.