Building a Solid Sustainability Foundation for Your Business

When it comes to sustainability for your business, how can you make sure that you’re doing all that you can to improve your social and environmental performance when you’re already busy running your business?

In my work with small businesses, I’ve found that there are two excellent frameworks that you can use.

The Green Business and B Corp Certification programs will provide you with everything that you need to ensure that your business is built on a solid foundation of social and environmental performance.

They are complimentary, with each having a different focus: the Green Business Program looks closely at your facilities and B Corp evaluates the overall impact of your business.

Green Business Certification

The Alameda County Green Business Program is a robust program with over 500 certified businesses. The program works closely with every city in the county as well as with all of the local utilities. In addition, it is part of the California Green Business Network, a statewide network of Green Business Programs that is being used a model by other states looking to launch similar programs.

Green Business Certification will help you to evaluate your facility, focusing on ways to save energy and water and reduce waste and pollution at your company’s office (even if you lease or have a home office).

It will also help you take a close look at your purchasing and operations, from paper to cleaning chemicals to pest control, to ensure that you don’t overlook any opportunities to use natural resources wisely and make sure that you’re not contributing to local air pollution.

B Corp Certification 

B Corp Certification is an international certification for companies that harness the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. There are over 1200 B Corps certified in more than 40 countries throughout the world.

B Corps are businesses that are redefining what success means in business. Rather than simply making money at all costs, regardless of whether natural resources are harmed or people are exploited, B Corps believe that business should be a force for good.

The B Corp Certification requires businesses to examine their impact on employees and the local community. It requires that a business evaluate its business model to ensure that it is having a positive impact. In short, it takes a holistic approach to evaluating a business.

Benefits of Dual Certification

These two frameworks work in combination to help you to identify improvements that you can make to everything from your facility and business model to your purchasing, operations, employee engagement, and community involvement.

They complement each other to help you build a more sustainable business, which is why there are many businesses that have dual certification – they are both B Corps and Certified Green Businesses.

As part of each of these certification processes, businesses need to be able to verify their practices. As a regional program, the Green Business Program will conduct on-site inspections of each business. B Corps will need to provide documentation of their practices and may also be subject to on-site audits. These extra steps to verify a company’s practices add to the credibility of each of these certifications.

When you get certified, you’ll get to market your certifications. The logos that you’ll get to use on your website and marketing materials after certification are good ways to get recognition for the work that you’re doing. They are reputable symbols that people know and trust.

However, the true value of the certifications is going through the process. By doing so, you’ll find ways to save money, align your purchasing with your values, have a better positive impact in your community, lighten your company’s environmental impact, and establish a business model that will help you to run a better business.

To get started, check out the Green Business Certification and B Corp Certification sections for more information.


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