As a business owner in the East Bay, you are in a unique position with the sustainability options available to you.
There’s a sustainability progression that is available to East Bay businesses, and each step along the way provides an opportunity for you to establish a solid sustainability foundation for your business:
- Get started on going green – everyone has to start somewhere, and making sure that you cover the basics is a good first step.
- Work on Green Business Certification – meet the third-party standards of the Alameda County Green Business Program, which addresses energy efficiency, water conservation, pollution prevention, and waste reduction.
- Work on B Corp Certification – build upon your environmental efforts through B Corp Certification, a national certification for companies that harness the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.
- Go beyond and blaze a trail for other triple-bottom line businesses – this is the new territory in which you join other companies that are breaking new ground in reimagining business for the 21st century.
It could be argued that business owners everywhere have access to this same sustainability progression. However, there are a few features that make the East Bay unique:
- Getting started – an abundance of resources exist here that facilitate the process of getting started in the greening process. Looking for free energy audits? Both Smart Lights and the BEST program serve Alameda County. Interested in recycling options? Stopwaste.org can assist with everything from setting up recycling programs to figuring out how to properly dispose of almost anything you can imagine. Would you like to network with other green business owners? Both the Sustainable Business Alliance and the Green Chamber of Commerce can facilitate that. The list of resources that we have available here is quite extensive!
- Green Business Certification – the Alameda County Green Business Program is a robust program with over 500 certified businesses. The program sets clear standards for certification and has developed strong partnerships with utilities and municipalities throughout the county that support the program. In addition, certified businesses go through an audit process that ensures that their practices meet the program standards, which strengthens the credibility for this program over others that forgo confirmation of a company’s practices.
- B Corp Certification – while B Corps exist throughout the US and Canada, the East Bay is home to many B Corps, including Give Something Back, Green Retirement Plans, Numi Tea, Free Range Studios, Cutting Edge Capital, Sungevity, Wendel Rosen, and Scientific Certification Systems, to name just a few. Plus, the West Coast B Corp staff office is just across the Bay in San Francisco. The combination of a local office and numerous certified businesses results in an active community that can provide support to new B Corps.
- Go beyond – the Bay Area is a hub of activity right now around sustainable business, social entrepreneurship, impact investing, clean tech, green building, progressive legislation, and numerous other factors that are paving the way towards new models for the socially and environmentally responsible businesses of the future. If any company is interested in pushing the boundaries of old business models and trying something new and innovative, this is the time and place to do it.
Do you own a business in the East Bay? Where are you in this progression?