Alameda County Green Business Program: Incentivizing Sustainable Business Practices
Carolina Miranda is the founder of Cultivating Capital and can help your small business improve its sustainability practices. As a Consultant with the Alameda County Green Business Program, she has helped hundreds of small-to-medium sized businesses throughout the county reduce waste, conserve water, minimize pollution, and save energy.
What is the Alameda County Green Business Program?
The Alameda County Green Business Program is an independently operated program that is supported by the statewide California Green Business Network and local program partners, including the cities and utilities in Alameda County. The program assists local businesses in implementing environmentally friendly practices by providing recommendations, resources, and assistance. Certified Green Businesses exceed all environmental regulation, and implement practices to reduce pollution, conserve resources, and protect human health.
What is an example of a typical decision and implementation process for certifying as a Green Business in Fremont?
Businesses choose to get certified for a variety of reasons, but many of them feel that it aligns with their values. The most important decision that a business needs to make is to commit to the process as an opportunity for learning and improvement.
For the implementation, each business will need to complete a checklist with all of the practices in key categories including energy, transportation, solid waste, pollution, and water conservation. The checklist includes Core requirements, such as having energy efficient lighting, as well as Elective measures, such as using Energy Star printers. In addition, a business must be in compliance with any applicable environmental regulations such as for hazardous materials management. You can view the checklist options by scrolling to the bottom of https://greenbusinessca.org/about-us/ and selecting your business type.
Businesses receive personal attention from the Green Business Program, public agencies and utilities in each of these focus areas. Every business that gets certified learns about opportunities for improvement, and the program is designed to support the businesses throughout this process. They’re not expected to do it on their own! Once your business is certified, the certification is valid for four years, after which time a business can recertify for another four years.
Certification benefits include: access to the Green Business Program logo for use in print and online marketing, a marketing toolkit with graphics and social media posts, a listing in the statewide directory of Green Businesses, invitations to local Green Business networking events, and a quarterly newsletter with information about award & rebate opportunities. The City of Fremont also recognizes all new and recertified businesses annually at a public City Council meeting.
What kinds of businesses have received the certification in Fremont?
There are a wide variety of certified Green Businesses in Fremont. They range from environmentally conscious brands, such as REI, to dentist offices, IT firms, and dry cleaners. Any small to medium-sized business can implement eco-conscious processes as a value-add to their operations, creating a win-win for their bottom line and the environment.
Here are a few examples that show the range of local businesses that make a commitment to sustainability:
“We are a progressive and dynamic dental practice and this philosophy applies to all facets so it only made sense that we move and become a Green Certified. Our actions help the environment and all of us will benefit, and because we lead the way, we help impact and influence others.” ~Rodney J. Chew, DDS – Chew Dental Group
“The Little Mud Puddle’s leads by example as a green certified school. We teach our children at a young age about recycling, water conservation and reuse of items, instead of adding to landfill disposal and wasting. The green environmental concepts established at our school enable our children to adopt friendly environmental habits which will continue into their adulthood.” ~Darlene J., The Little Mud Puddles Learning Center, Inc.
“Bjork Construction obtained Green Business Certification so that we could be a better advocate for the community and our clients. Doing so helps us do our part to create a better environment and world.” ~Alyssa G., Bjork Construction
What exciting things does the program have in store for 2020?
$500 rebates! Businesses often ask how much it costs to get certified as a Green Business. The program itself doesn’t charge a certification fee, but there are sometimes costs involved related to making upgrades. The California Green Business Network currently has funds available to help businesses offset these costs and receive Green Business Certification. Not only can a business get certified at no cost, but it can actually get money to help meet the program standards! This is a unique and time-sensitive opportunity. You can learn more about the program here: https://greenbusinessca.org/AlamedaCounty/Rebate
Where can I learn more about applying to be a Green business?