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Is Your Business a Green Business?

The Green Business Program of Santa Barbara County certifies several different types of businesses for their efforts in waste reduction, energy conservation, water conservation, and pollution prevention, such as using alternative forms of transportation and preventing storm water runoff.

Background

Started in December 2008, the Green Business Program of Santa Barbara County (GBPSBC) provides resources and assistance to help businesses achieve certification as "green" businesses. It also publicizes and highlights those businesses so that local consumers can shop green.

The GBPSBC is comprised of approximately 30 partner agencies, which provide funding to the GBPSBC and various in-kind services such as conducting audits, developing marketing and outreach materials, and serving on a Steering Committee.  The County of Santa Barbara Public Works Department, Resource Recovery & Waste Management Division, administers the program. 

Goals and Objectives

  • To help businesses integrate environmental practices into their operations in a sustainable as well as profitable manner;
  • To promote environmental ethics in Santa Barbara County by preventing and reducing the pollution of the air, water, and soil;
  • To reduce consumption of our natural resources and minimize exposure to toxics; and
  • To foster positive relationships among governmental agencies, the business community, and the public.

Certification Process

Currently, businesses in the following sectors are eligible to apply for certification:  office/retail, restaurants, lodging establishments, and automotive shops.  Businesses may apply to become a certified "green" business by enrolling in one of two Green Business Academies held during a year and following this process:

  • Participate in two workshops and two webinars during which the Program Director and partner agencies will provide guidance and information on implementing various mandatory and voluntary measures from an applicable online checklist;
  • Accommodations will be made for businesses that are unable to participate in all of the workshops and webinars.

The Program Director serves as a liaison between a business and applicable regulatory agencies:

  • The business will be provided with the contact information for each auditor to make appointments for audits to be conducted in each of the required areas;  
  • Available incentives (e.g. rebates) that can save the business money will be discussed;
  • Businesses will also meet other business applicants, and have opportunities to exchange information and to offer support to one another;
  • Additional assistance is also available through an online Green Toolkit at the GBPSBC website: http://www.greenbizsbc.org/ .  

Certification Criteria

To achieve certification, an agency must implement certain mandatory measures and a minimum number of voluntary measures in the following areas:

- Waste reduction and recycling;
- Environmentally preferable purchasing;
- Energy conservation;
- Water conservation; and
- Pollution prevention, including prevention of storm water runoff and use of alternative forms of transportation.

Benefits to Certified Businesses

Among the benefits that a business receives by becoming a certified "green" business are the following:

  • Save money by lowering costs and increasing productivity;
  • Receive recognition at the annual GBPSBC Luncheon;
  • Attract new customers through free publicity:
    -- Free advertising in a directory of "green" certified businesses on the GBPSBC website;
    -- A GBPSBC logo for display at the business;
    -- Listings, articles, and other forms of recognition on chambers of commerce and other partner agency websites;
    -- Ads placed by the GBPSBC in print and online publications
    -- Postings on social media, such as Facebook;
  • Serve as a model for other businesses on ways to improve environmental performance; 
  • Improve employee morale by ensuring a safer, healthier workplace; and
  • Foster positive relationships with governmental agencies and the public.

A certification lasts three years, and a business must apply again to be recertified for another three years..

To obtain more information about the GBPSBC, visit www.GreenBizSBC.org, send an e-mail message to coordinator@greenbizsbc.org or call (805) 729-3472.

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