GBCI Announces New Safety First Pilot Credits for SITES and TRUE Rating Systems in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

Published on
24 Jun 2020
Sarah Stanley
GBCI Safety First Credits

New guidance connects sustainability and health as part of economic recovery and response

Washington, D.C. – June 24, 2020 – Today, Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI), the premier organization independently recognizing excellence in green business industry performance and practice globally, announced the release of Safety First pilot credits for its SITES and TRUE rating systems in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The new credits enable projects committed to sustainable landscape development and those pursuing zero waste goals to maintain those commitments while adapting practices and procedures in light of the current public health crisis.

GBCI administers project certifications for some of the world’s leading green business programs, including LEED, SITES, TRUE, RELi and others. It is committed to supporting projects pursuing certification in adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic. The new guidance for TRUE and SITES complements the Safety First pilot credits released by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) for LEED earlier this month.

“With the global economy in distress, we must do everything we can to support sustainable solutions that contribute to a stronger economic recovery, while ensuring people feel safe and secure as we move toward re-opening our buildings and communities,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president & CEO, GBCI. “We know that healthy people in healthy places equals a healthy economy and GBCI is committed to ensuring that sustainability, health and wellness, and equity are grounded in our COVID-19 recovery strategies.”

SITES, or The Sustainable SITES Initiative, promotes best practices and establishes performance measures for the sustainable development of parks, corporate campuses and other green spaces. The new SITES Safety First Pilot Credit encourages projects to undertake a risk assessment using the National Recreation and Park Association’s (NRPA) Risk Assessment Tool, as well as create an updated operations and management plan. The plan must address several factors, including physical distancing, cleaning practices, impact on equity and inclusion, worker and visitor safety, signage and communications, and more. With 70 certified projects in the world, SITES serves as a framework for protecting ecosystems and wildlife habitat, enhancing landscape resilience and expanding green infrastructure.

TRUE enables businesses and organizations to define, pursue and achieve zero waste goals for their facilities. The new TRUE Safety First Pilot Credit focuses on eliminating adverse health impacts on personnel with regards to hazardous and non-hazardous solid waste management. It encourages the adoption of more stringent health and safety measures, such as the use and proper disposal of Personal Protective Equipment, as well as risk management and mitigation training for employees working with solid waste. A TRUE-certified project’s goal is to divert all solid waste from the landfill, incineration (waste-to-energy) and the environment. There are nearly 180 TRUE-certified projects around the world.

In addition to releasing the SITES and TRUE Safety First Pilot Credits, GBCI is also approving the use of the new LEED Safety First Pilot Credits for RELi projects. RELi takes a holistic approach to resilient design and is used to assess and plan for acute hazards that buildings and communities may face during unplanned events. The application of the LEED credits are intended to further assist RELi projects in adapting to the pandemic, while continuing to maintain critical life-saving services in the event of extended loss of power, heating fuel or water.

“All of GBCI’s green business programs are built on a foundation of trust, integrity and data,” added Ramanujam. “We are working across our entire suite of programs to ensure that we learn from the present crisis so that we can maintain a commitment to a healthy, sustainable future for all while better preparing for mitigation moving forward.”

The SITES and TRUE pilot credits announced today, as well as the four previously announced for LEED are based on current, known information. GBCI will continue to refine its recommendations in line with new data and public health advisories.