- The Submit Application button is used to move a program’s application into the review process
- This is done from within a program view page (see Website map for more information)
- Check that each section is marked “complete” – projects cannot be submitted unless each section is marked complete
- Once a program has been submitted for review, it cannot be changed until the review is complete
- Invoices can be paid from the WHC Conservation Certification website using a credit card
- Invoices can be printed and paid by check, wire transfer, EFT or ACH
- When payment is received, the program will be officially entered into the review process
The review process has four steps.
- Program applications are considered received when it is complete and all fees are paid.
- Program applications are assigned to an independent Reviewer. A Reviewer will not have any conflict of interest with the company or the program to which they are assigned. Reviewers will score each project using scoring sheets and reviewer guidance. (These documents will be posted online soon.) Scores from all projects are summed for a program score.
- If a program is not certified, the organization may appeal. Every program is entitled to one appeal. As part of the appeal process, organizations may amend their application. In addition, organizations may provide clarifying information to WHC about the application. The appeal process is managed exclusively by the WHC Department of Certification and Technology. Scores may be changed if information was misinterpreted by the Reviewer or new relevant information was added to the application as part of an appeal. Results of the appeal are final.
- Certification is awarded to programs that have at least one qualifying project. The program score is the sum of all project scores. Program scores determine the program tier and term length.
All programs are scored at the project level first. Project scores are added, generating a program score.
Project scores are based on scoring sheets that will be posted online soon. The scoring sheets weigh each question. For example, a project that has a rigorous monitoring protocol will receive more points than a program that has rigorous employee engagement. Project score can range from 0-100.
Each application question generates points that contribute to three principles. They are:
- Conservation impact
- Education impact
- Corporate commitment
For a most project types, these scores weigh heavily on conservation impact (see figure below). For education project types, the scores weigh heavily on education impact. Additional details will be posted online soon.
Along with scoring projects, Reviewers determine a project’s class. They are:
- Qualifying projects meet qualifying criteria and contribute points to the program score. Green infrastructure, invasive species—coordinated approaches, land conservation agreements, remediation and species of concerns project themes do not qualify a program for certification, but they do receive points.
- Contributing projects meet minimal requirements and contribute points to the program score.
- Early projects do not meet minimal requirements but can be developed at a later date.