The environmental quality mark is all about identifying and promoting businesses which have a passion for the Peak District and all it has to offer. Businesses can apply for recognition by fulfilling the criteria set out by the Peak District Park Authority. Visitors to the Peak District who decide to purchase goods or services from Environmental Quality Mark businesses can know that they are helping improve the Peak District, as well as helping the local community.
One of the first criterions which businesses must attain revolves around protecting both the global and natural environment. This helps ensure that the Peak District remains an area of natural beauty and will continue to do so in years to come. Many types of business can achieve this by ensuring that their activities do not impact negatively on the park, and go a certain way to help the park. Examples may include restaurants that are purchasing foods from local farmers who farm in a sustainable way, to locally produced crafts which help sustain the economy of the area. Of course, businesses such as hotels in the Peak District, B & B’s and attractions are also included, due to their efforts to reduce the environmental impact of their activities.
Businesses are also given the quality mark by contributing to the local economy. This may include businesses who invest in jobs in the local area, to those who ensure they are supporting local jobs by purchasing materials from within the park. Many restaurants which have been awarded the mark purchase their foods from farmers within the park.
Of course, by achieving the mark businesses can be sure to gain a range of substantial benefits. The first of these is official recognition by the Park Authority of a business’s active contribution to the park as a whole. This recognition grants select businesses the option of using the quality mark on their websites and any other medium aimed at attracting business. This often makes businesses far more popular with visitors to the park, who place a great deal of importance on preserving the outstanding natural beauty of the area.
The first port of call for many potential visitors to the Peak District is the official website. Businesses granted the quality mark will be listed on the website which provides both visitors from the official site, as well as boosting the businesses Google ranking.
Another key benefit centres on businesses being able to improve themselves, and the way in which they go about running their business. Members of the quality mark club become part of a network of like-minded businesses which can then work together to help each over improve. Information is provided for new businesses to the club which shows them how more established businesses are succeeding, with great opportunities for learning being available. Furthermore, awards and promotional activities make being a holder of the quality mark an attractive prospect.
When it comes to applying for the quality mark, businesses must convince an independent panel that they are achieving the Environmental Quality Mark Criterion. The panel is made up of a range of different organisations which include the friends of the Peak District, Visit Peak District and Derbyshire as well as Natural England. Businesses can begin the application process by registering themselves online.