Since implementing its free-of-charge Green Business Certification program in 2018, the City of Long Beach has recognized 56 businesses for their adherence to sustainable business practice guidelines laid out by the California Green Business Network (CGBN). By following these statewide standards, businesses are joining the Green community, reducing their environmental impact, and saving money.
“There are a lot of small changes you can do that will make a big difference,” said Courtney Chatterson, Communications Specialist in the City’s Office of Sustainability who also serves as Coordinator for the Green Business Certification program. “Businesses seeking to get certified can apply on the City’s Green Business Program page, where they can view a checklist of requirements for certification. These range from pollution prevention measures and waste disposal to energy usage and employee engagement,” Chatterson said.
Businesses that get the Green Business certification, along with those who opt to pursue a lower-level “Efficiency” certification, are eligible for a $500 rebate from the City to help put sustainable practices in motion. Staff from the Office of Sustainability provides walk-throughs of potential Green-Certified businesses, noting areas that need improvement and connecting business owners with resources.
“Courtney Chatterson was an incredible help and advocate for both our business as well as for achieving the City goals and requirements,” Said Aimee Mandala,
Chief Operating Officer of Environ, a Green-Certified Downtown architecture firm. “She walked us through every step and really simplified the process.”
The DLBA helped kick-start the Green Business Certification program, partnering with the Office of Sustainability in 2018 to create the Green Business Academy, in which businesses could go through the certification process together.
“I’m encouraged by the many small businesses in our Downtown that have committed to implementing sustainable business practices they learned from the Green Business Academy,” said Austin Metoyer, DLBA’s Economic Development and Policy Manager. “These practices not only make sense from an environmental perspective, but can also have a financial benefit, especially among a growing environmentally conscious consumer base. We would like to partner with the Office of Sustainability again and help support those businesses seeking to learn and implement such practices.”
Dina Amadril, who owns and operates the hand-crafted ice cream parlor, Long Beach Creamery, located in Downtown and Bixby Knolls, had been applying Green practices in her shops long before the certification program became available. “Respecting the earth is one of the core values of Long Beach Creamery,” said Amadril. “Since the early days, we have been avid recyclers and food waste managers. Becoming Green-Certified felt like the natural course for us.”
Maggie Stoll, owner of the Green-Certified East Village boutique Burke Mercantile, elaborated on her day-to-day sustainable business practices: “Energy
efficiencies in my shop — from utility use to electronic equipment — as well as simple daily routines, are positively affected by Green practices,” she said. “They offer a way to check myself before each decision I make. Ensuring that trash and recycling are separated, choosing eco-friendly and low-to-no-waste cleaning supplies, and using recycled and recyclable paper options are some of the practices I have implemented.”
Stephen Groner started his Downtown-based marketing company, SGA, on the premise that the company could use the tools of marketing to improve lives and protect the environment — not just sell products. SGA works with cities and counties across the state to help educate residents in living more sustainably. “Becoming Green-Certified was a no-brainer for us,” said Groner. “The City’s program helped give us a benchmark to align our internal office practices so they minimize any impact on the environment and ensure we are ‘practicing what we preach.'”
The Green Business Certification program may help provide a fresh start for Downtown businesses recovering from the effects of the pandemic; Besides a $500 rebate, certified businesses get recognition on a statewide Green Businesses list compiled by the CGBN, and the satisfaction of providing green practices for their community, customers, and employees.
“The community’s appreciation for Green-Certified businesses is only going to grow from here,” said Amadril. “It shows you are community-driven and concerned for your immediate environment and your employees. The process is not difficult, and the costs to make Green changes are almost negligible. I would definitely recommend Green Certification to other Downtown businesses.”