Culver City Certifies Sustainable Businesses

Culver City kicked off its new Sustainable Business Certification Program last March, and one year later, is still looking for local business who want to get their official  ‘green’ recognition. The program, which was developed under guidelines established by the California Green Business Network. The Certification Program is Culver City’s next bold step toward attaining its sustainability goals.

“We are pleased that one dozen Culver City businesses took advantage of the opportunity to receive hands-on assistance to become more sustainable! The City believes this initiative will help them improve the health of their employees, customers, and the community,” said Culver City Mayor Jeffrey Cooper. These businesses were recognized by receiving commendations from the City Council for their environmental stewardship at an awards ceremony.

In this inaugural year of the Certification Program, the following businesses became “Certified”:

Hi-Lo Liquor Market
Röckenwagner Bakery Café
Fresh Paint Art Advisors
Novecento Pasta & Grill
Rush Street
A la Carte Thai Bistro

The following businesses became “Certified Innovators”:

Appliances Plumbing Design
Technicolor Moving Picture Company
Sole Society

Local consulting organizations Sustainable Works and Balanced Approach partnered to develop and administer the customized Certification Program for Culver City businesses, which targets the retail, office, and restaurant sectors. Sustainable businesses actively implement best practices and policies that reduce energy and water use, prevent pollution, reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with single occupancy vehicle ridership, and divert waste from landfills.

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.”

Businesses that meet the first, basic level criteria of the Certification Program become “Certified” while businesses that meet the second level criteria become a “Certified Innovator.” Certified Innovators are businesses that are exemplary employers and demonstrate innovative practices in environmental conservation, community engagement and social responsibility. These certified sustainable businesses now proudly acknowledge their achievement and commitment to being sustainable by using the Certification Program logo and certification seal in their promotional and printed materials and on their website.

As part of the Certification process, participating businesses were guided through a comprehensive on-site sustainability assessment of their building and operations. The assessments included a review of their energy and water use, waste management, procurement, transportation and community engagement. Upon completion of their assessment, a team of sustainability experts develop a customized Sustainable Business Action Plan. The Action Plan provides a list of measures that optimize operations, streamline eco-procurement, and provide free turn-key tools that lower costs, reduce energy and water use, and create a better working environment. Many of these pilot businesses became qualified to participate in Southern California Edison’s Direct Install program, where they received up to $15,000 in building upgrades, such as lighting retrofits and high-efficiency toilets.

Culver City joined 15 counties and 13 cities in California that participate in 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.

Photo – Certification Awardees from Fresh Paint Art Advisors: Paul Dahmen, Chloe Amelia, Josetta Sbeglia, Helene Brown, Norma Ibarra

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