Hidden Values of the ROW Stewardship Accreditation
Derek Vannice, Chair, ROW Stewardship Council and President & COO, CNUC
One of our greatest opportunities to expand the Right-Of-Way (ROW) Stewardship Accreditation is communicating the value of accreditation relative to the costs. There are the obvious costs of the accreditation fees and reimbursing the auditors, and the more subtle costs of making lasting changes to your ROW vegetation management program to meet the necessary certification criteria.
So, how do we show the value exceeds the costs? One advantage of the accreditation is that benefits are determined, documented and verified by a non-biased independent auditor team. The auditors’ recommendation is then approved by the council, which is made up of stakeholders representing all impacted by ROW vegetation management practices – including private citizens.
So, what kind of truthful marketing claims can be made by accredited utilities? There is certainly the traditional benefit and savings of a well-run integrated vegetation management (IVM) program, which can lead to reduction in maintenance costs by establishing a compatible plant community. There are also environmental benefits by increasing plants that attract pollinators. These aims are at the core of the ROW Steward Accreditation.
I would like to highlight some rarely discussed benefits of accreditation by reviewing three of the principles outlined in the ROW Stewardship Council’s Accreditation Standards for Assessing IVM Excellence.
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