Benefit Corporations (a legal designation) and Certified B Corporations (a third-party certification) are changing the landscape of sustainable business. Here’s the latest from around the web about this important movement:
Finally, watch B Lab co-founder Andrew Kassoy get recognized at Clinton Global Initiative!
What are your thoughts on the latest B Corp news?
As of July 1st, 2012 California state law (AB341) makes mandatory commercial recycling a legal requirement throughout the state.
In preparation for the new state law, Alameda County’s Waste Management Authority created an ordinance specifying which materials must be recycled, the recycling services required by East Bay cities, and how the law will be enforced in Alameda County. Beginning January 1st, 2013 if business or property owners who are not in compliance with this new law, they may be subject to warnings and possible fines.
Until now business and residential properties were not required to recycle. The new county and state laws target the two groups that recycle the least. Alameda County’s ordinance was designed to help the county reach its long-term goal to ensure recyclables and compostables make up less than 10 percent of landfill by 2020.
Recycling Costs and Requirements
As a business owner, you might have a common question: Will this cost more money? Recycling could cost more money, but the good news is that it is more likely businesses and landlords will be breaking even or possibly even saving money. Most recycling services cost half as much as garbage rates. According to OaklandLocal.com, if high waste generating businesses are appropriately distributing their recycling and garbage, the total cost for both recycling and garbage may be less than one would pay for just garbage collection.
All businesses, commercial property owners, property managers and institutions such as hospitals and nonprofit organizations that generate four or more cubic yards of garbage per week are required to:
It is possible for businesses to receive a waiver of exemption for reasons such as financial hardship, limited space, and lack of service. Some East Bay cities have opted out of the county-wide ordinance for a period of time or indefinitely, in which case Alameda County Waste Management is working provide the city’s recycling options. For information on recycling collection services available in your city, see the county’s City by City information page.
Resources to Help You
Do you need help setting up or improving your business’s recycling program? Help is available! You can:
I recently wrote about the sustainability progression for East Bay businesses and how we have so many resources available here to help businesses to go green. Below, I’ve listed just 10 resources to get you started.
I know there are more resources out there! What would you add to this list?
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:
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:
Do you own a business in the East Bay? Where are you in this progression?
Over the weekend, Governor Brown signed two important pieces of legislation that will help to advance socially and environmentally responsible businesses in the state: AB 361 and AB 913.
AB 361: Benefit Corporations
With AB 361, California joins a growing list of states that now recognize Benefit Corporations. The bill was introduced by Assemblymember Jared Huffman and creates a “new, entirely voluntary type of corporate entity to let California businesses balance the pursuit of corporate profits with environmental and social goals.” Under current state law, corporations are required to prioritize profit and financial interests. Benefit corporations are different in that they allow corporations to give equal consideration to social and environmental interests instead of just to financial profit. This is a significant step that gives triple bottom line businesses legal recognition in California.
AB 913: California Green Business Program
AB 913 requires the Depart of Toxic Substances Control to establish a California Green Business Program. Under the Hazardous Waste Source Reduction and Management Review Act of 1989, the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) is already required to establish a program for hazardous waste reduction. AB 913 requires that, as part of implementing its source reduction program, the DTSC develop:
“A California Green Business Program that provides for the voluntary certification of businesses that adopt environmentally preferable business practices, including but not limited to, increased energy efficiency, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, promotion of water conservation, and reduced waste generation.”
Green and Sustainable Businesses: Onward and Upward!
Taken together, these two pieces of legislation can have a significant impact on businesses that want to incorporate the triple bottom line into their business practices. AB 913 will provide additional resources to the many small businesses in the state that want to go green but may need guidance and support in order to do so. AB 361 will give corporations that are ready to adopt a new corporate form that better reflects their social and environmental mission an option for legally doing so. Both the creation of a statewide Green Business Program and the new Benefit Corporation entity will also help consumers to distinguish between businesses that make green claims versus those that either meet green business certification standards and/or incorporate social and environmental interests into their legal framework. It should also be noted that both Benefit Corporation status and Green Business Certification are entirely voluntary.