The Wildlife Habitat Council has been certifying voluntary management of natural resources on corporate lands since 1990. Over time, there’s been an evolution in standard setting and expectations from its certified programs, driven by changes in both what our members are doing and the practices and priorities of the broader conservation community.
Although improvements to the WHC certification rubric were made during its first two decades, WHC and its members began to recognize the need for a more radical transformation of the standard. Starting in 2014, WHC began the process of redesigning its certification standard to better reflect those changes, relying on the expertise of key stakeholders to help shape it.
The new standard was developed with three key elements – accessibility, credibility and change making – which are the essence of an effective certification effort. To this end, WHC engaged with the ISEAL Alliance, which works to strengthen sustainability standards to make them more credible, accessible and able to drive change.
With the redesign of the standard came the implementation of a modern online platform that provides a more streamlined application process and better captures information about our members’ conservation and conservation education efforts.
These efforts culminated with the official launch of WHC’s enhanced standard – Conservation Certification – at the annual Conservation Conference. The full standard, including the Conservation Certification website and supporting materials such as the Project Guidance documents, was made public in early 2016.