Culver City is kicking off a new Sustainable Business Certification Program developed under guidelines established by the California Green Business Network (CAGBN). Culver City is one of the first municipalities in California to incorporate social well-being indicators into its sustainable business certification program, which the City’s Public Works Department will oversee. The Certification Program is Culver City’s next bold step toward attaining its sustainability goals.
“We hope that Culver City businesses will take advantage of this opportunity to receive hands-on assistance to become more efficient. The City believes this initiative will help businesses improve the health of workers, customers, and the community, and we will publicly recognize them for their environmental stewardship,” said Culver City Mayor Jeffrey Cooper.
Local consulting organizations Sustainable Works and Balanced Approach have partnered together to develop and administer a customized Certification Program for Culver City businesses that targets the retail, office, and restaurant sectors. Sustainable businesses actively implement best practices and policies that reduce their energy use, conserve water, reduce pollution, and divert waste.
According to Shea Cunningham, Certification Program Lead Consultant and Executive Strategist of Balanced Approach, “Businesses that become more sustainable often reap significant benefits beyond reducing their environmental footprint, including reduced utility costs, increased sales, customer loyalty, improved employee retention, and maintaining a competitive advantage in the marketplace by staying ahead of increasingly stringent environmental requirements.”
As part of the Certification Program, participating businesses will be guided through a comprehensive on-site sustainability assessment of their building and operations. The assessments will include a review of their energy and water use, waste management, procurement, transportation and community engagement. During the first year of the Certification Program, the first 15 businesses will be provided with a free assessment. Upon completion of the assessment, a team of sustainability experts will develop an Action Plan. The Action Plan provides a list of measures to implement, which will optimize a business’s operations, purchasing, and equipment to lower costs, reduce energy and water use, and create a better working environment. Qualified businesses will also have the opportunity to participate in Southern California Edison’s Direct Install program, where they may receive up to $15,000 in building upgrades, such as lighting retrofits and energy-efficient appliances.
The first 10 businesses to complete their Action Plans will become certified at no charge. Additional businesses will be required to pay a fee based on their square footage and industry type (ranging from $225 to $450). Businesses that meet the first, basic level criteria of the Certification Program will become “Certified” while businesses that meet the second level criteria will become a “Certified Champion.” Once certified, a business can proudly acknowledge their achievement and commitment to being a sustainable business by using the Certification Program logo and certification seal on their promotional and printed materials and on their website.
Culver City joins 15 counties and 11 cities in California that have already joined the CAGBN. Thus far, over 3,500 businesses have become CAGBN-certified in California. Collectively, these businesses have saved over $33 million, reduced CO2 emissions by 800,000 metric tons, saved over 333 million kilowatt-hours of electricity, saved 150 million gallons of water, and diverted over 400,000 metric tons of waste from landfills.
For more information about the Certification Program and to sign up to participate, please visit: www.culvercity.org/ccsbcp.