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EcoLighthouse Program for SMEs


Detailed description of the Good Practice

The “Eco-Lighthouse” concept was born in 1996, when Kristiansand was selected along with six other municipalities to participate in “Sustainable Communities”, a Norwegian Local Agenda 21 pilot program.
Kristiansand started out by offering a deal to nine firms representing branches as diverse as a hotel, a housepainter, an icecream factory, and a wood products company, to mention a few. The city would pay a consultant to do an eco-audit of the firms, and to draw up a three-year plan for reducing their resource consumption and environmental load in co-operation with
workers and management. Focus would also be set on work environment. In return, the firms undertook not only to carry out the plan, but also to disseminate their experiences to other firms in the same business. Based on the audits, criteria for local environmental certification schemes -specific to the kinds of businesses involved- were also worked out. The original “lighthouse” firms became eligible for certification once the first measures in the consultant’s plans had been carried out. The scheme has since been expanded to encompass 55 branches, and some 124 firms have been certified in the Kristiansand region alone (April 2003). Nationally, 465 firms have been certified (March 2003). Kristiansand was early encouraged to sell its know-how as an “Eco-lighthouse” package to other municipalities, and
more than 175 have bought it. This success has made the Norwegian Ministry of Environment adapt the concept as a national program aimed at small and middlesized firms. From January 2000, the Ministry granted money to run a National Ecolighthouse Office in Kristiansand, and initiated a national board with representatives from industry and public organisations.
The Eco-lighthouse project has given us a way of getting a dialogue with small and medium-sized businesses in Kristiansand.
We invite the businesses to different Local Agenda 21 arenas. The businesses are doing their own steps towards a more sustainable future, and they are participating in the municipal process of sustainability.
In this way, we are building an alliance between different local stakeholders (businesses,
voluntary organisations and the municipality).

environmental management systems

Objectives of the Good Practice

The objective was to provide a environmental management system suitable for small and medium sized enterprises

Participants of the Good Practice

enterprises from different branches

Target group of the Good Practice

small and medium sized enterprises

More Details of the Good Practice

Documentation and documents


Available files

Contact details

Oystein Holvik

Data sources and references

Baltic Cities Environmental Bulletin 1/2003