Sustainability and reporting frameworks

There are a large and growing number of sustainability and reporting frameworks, standards and certifications, aimed at different markets, target audiences and level of service. All the frameworks provide a structure for creating a strategy and they may offer a reporting framework and certification system. Each framework has its own pros and cons. All have value but some issues that can arise out of the use of any specific framework which include:

  • Encouraging Actions which gather certification points or credits rather than Outcomes of genuine benefit

  • Having accreditation levels or targets which are not aligned with the needs of the planet

  • Using checklist, points-based systems which can stifle the creativity and authenticity of Plans

  • Addressing particular Outcomes, rather than being holistic, and boundary setting which can mean major impacts are omitted.

When choosing a framework it is important to ensure that it matches the context of your project and organisation and that you are aware of its limitations. For example are you sure that you are meeting health and well-being Outcomes in a way that doesn’t undermine Zero Carbon Outcomes.

OnePlanet enables you to use multiple frameworks, so that, for example, you can meet the requirements of a specific certification while ensuring that you are covering a wide range of issues, contributing holistically and delivering genuine overall benefit.

Examples of frameworks include:


  • One Planet Living, Sustainable Development Goals

Buildings and construction

  • LEED, HQE, DGNB, BREEAM, GreenStar

  • WELL, Living Building Challenge

  • Considerate construction

Carbon accounting

  • GHG protocol

  • Energy performance ratings


  • BCorp



  • Global Reporting Initiative

  • Sustainability Accounting Standards Board

  • Integrated Reporting Initiative


  • Sustainable Development Goals

  • City initiatives; C40, ICLEI


  • Green Key, Green Seal

  • Global Sustainable Tourism Council


  • IUCN Green List

One Planet Living®

While the OnePlanet platform can be adapted to include any framework the One Planet Living® framework is offered free to all users.

The One Planet Living® framework was developed by Bioregional together with WWF, following Bioregional’s involvement in the creation of the BedZED eco-village in South London in 2002. BedZED was designed to make sustainable living easy and informed by the concept of ecological and carbon footprinting.

Using ecological and carbon footprinting to account for environmental impacts, One Planet Living recognises that finding a way to live happily and healthily within the means of our one planet and avoid catastrophic climate change will involve going beyond incremental improvements. It will also mean regenerating many of the eco-systems which we have damaged to date. It will mean transforming how we all live, work and play so that we are in harmony with natural systems.

The One Planet Living framework comprises ten intuitive One Planet Principles that can be used by anyone – personally and professionally – to imagine, plan, do, and communicate about deep sustainability. They were an inspiration for the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

One Planet Living is backed up by detailed Goals and Guidance documents that provide advice and ideas on the goals, actions, targets and indicators you could set to enable you to achieve One Planet Living – in other words, a sustainable ecological and carbon footprint which is consistent with earth system science.

The One Planet Living Framework can help you think about what you would like to achieve

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the core of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015. The 17 SDGS are an urgent call for action by all countries - developed and developing - in a global partnership. The Goals, which are backed by 169 indicators, recognise that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.

The SDG’s were established through an intergovernmental process involving national governments, and they are mostly aimed at a government audience. As a result not all SDG targets are appropriate for local government or companies. Although some SDG topics are relevant for local government and companies the underlying targets are not always. For example, SDG 3, ‘Good health and wellbeing’ focus on issues like ending epidemics (AIDS and malaria) rather than well-being at home or in office, or health and safety issues.

Local governments and companies can still use the SDGs by focusing on the business-relevant targets and indicators that sit under each Goal.

Need a custom lens?

You may have your own sustainability framework, or want to create one.

Get in touch and speak to us about your requirements