Every day, organizations around the world take steps to reduce their environmental impact and ensure that their operations are sustainable. In 2019, the team at FirstCarbon Solutions (FCS) felt it was about time to pursue a Green Business Certification from the California Green Business Network (CGBN).
Since October 2019, both the Walnut Creek and the Irvine FCS offices have achieved the Green Business Certification, thanks to the work of our dedicated staff. The certification reinforces our sustainable values and signifies that our offices have taken action to reduce our own personal and professional waste and pollution, save energy, support other green businesses, and promote environmental awareness in the office.
What is the Green Business Certification?
Organized by local programs run by cities and counties throughout California, the California Green Business Certification has been around since 1996. The goal of the certification is to encourage businesses to reduce their environmental impact, and also reduce waste, save money, and build a sense of community around the California Green Business Network.
And keep in mind—there are rebates available, too.
How can you get started?
Other offices and companies aspiring to be a Green Business should find their county’s representative for their office location, as the certification is site specific. They should pick an energetic employee to spearhead the process. To save time, a Green Business Certification applicant should complete the certification checklist to reflect the current state of the office and allow the county representative to decide what changes need to be made. The county representative is a great resource to utilize for guidance in making Green Business changes to the office.
How can your business become certified?
Whether officially certified or not, we encourage all businesses to take a closer look at their operations and supply chain and take action to become more sustainable. If you are curious about pursuing a California Green Business Certification, here is what we did:
- The process is made simple through greenbusinessca.org. Create an account on the website, complete a checklist regarding the current features and practices in your office, and schedule a site visit with your county’s Green Business Representative.
- For Irvine and Walnut Creek, a county representative came to each office and did a complete walkthrough. Afterwards, we discussed what green practices were already being done, and they gave us an easy-to-follow outline of what further steps we needed to take to achieve our certification. The process was flexible and tailored to our kind of working environment.
- Following the site visit, we implemented the steps in becoming a greener office based on their recommendations. For Walnut Creek, we changed our paper supply to 100% recycled content, removed toxic cleaning supplies from the office, and more. The Irvine office followed suit, and took such steps as replacing their kitchen products with recycled content, eliminated all paper and plastic utensils, added recycle bins next to each trash bin, and made electronic documents more available to reduce printing. Both offices created and adopted an office environmental policy to continue to practice green habits.
After sending in evidence of our improvements, we were able to achieve the Green Business Certification. The process was simple and, best of all, it was completely free!
As a new member of the CGBN, not only are we reducing our environmental impact, but we are also part of the CGBN database and can receive local recognition as a Certified California Green Business. We hope to go above and beyond the requirements of our green business certification, implementing practices such as sustainability education, and encouraging other FCS offices to follow our lead.
This article and the FCS offices’ Green Business Certifications have been a collaborative effort over 2019 to 2020, owing to several dedicated and knowledgeable FCS team members.
Kathleen McCully joined FCS as an Environmental Analyst in April 2019. Kathleen has taken the lead on keeping the Walnut Creek office’s new California Green Business Certification and helping all other California FCS offices begin the journey to becoming an official Green Business.
Matthew McLaughlin’s more than 15 years of experience in Project and Operations Management has helped FCS grow into a leader in the industry. His strategic planning, management of day-to-day operations, and support for critical projects supports FCS’ technical specialists and Directors, giving them the ability to help our clients thrive, both around the world and right here in California.
FirstCarbon Solutions [FCS] comprises over 100 individuals offering due diligence, technical analysis, planning, environmental compliance, permitting, and mitigation/monitoring services for public and private projects. FCS has more than 30 years of experience navigating the complexities of CEQA and securing project approvals. Contact us for a free consultation to learn more about how we can help with your specific requirements.