Green Business Certification

Print

The Green Business Certification Program (GBCP) recognizes and rewards small and medium sized Thousand Oaks businesses that demonstrate a substantial and purposeful commitment to environmental stewardship through solid waste reduction, energy and water conservation and pollution prevention.

The City’s Green Business Certification is now part of the California Green Business Certification Program, making it easier and more rewarding for businesses to Go Green in Thousand Oaks! Best of all, it's free to get certified!!

Eligible Business Sectors: Automotive, Dental, Garment Cleaning, Hotel/Hospitality, Landscaping, Office and Retail and Restaurant/Food Service. More sectors are being added all the time!


Program Overview

The Green Business Certification Program (GBCP) recognizes and rewards small and medium sized Thousand Oaks businesses that demonstrate a substantial and purposeful commitment to environmental stewardship through solid waste reduction, energy and water conservation and pollution prevention.

The Thousand Oaks Green Business Program was established in 2011. Our Green Business Program is affiliated with the California Green Business Network (CaGBN), a 501c nonprofit organization that provides a framework for local municipalities to help small- and medium-sized businesses around the State develop and incorporate environmental management strategies. CaGBN includes over 170 jurisdictions, which together have had an incredible statewide influence on natural resource conservation, pollution control and climate action since the network was founded in 1995. Come be part of the network that last year saved nearly $33 million in utility costs and reduced harmful greenhouse gases equivalent to planting over 44,000 acres of urban trees.

Green business certification is one of the best ways to cut costs, generate growth, increase employee engagement and separate your business from the competition. Thousand Oaks Certified Green Businesses become part of a statewide network of eco-conscious businesses on a searchable database, attracting customers increasingly drawn to businesses that demonstrate environmental stewardship. Recent studies show that 1/3 to 3/4 of consumers prefer to patronize green businesses and buy green products.

"We hope that more Conejo Valley businesses will step up and get certified. It's a great benefit to your business and is much easier than most would expect." -- Jill Lederer, President/CEO of the Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce


Purpose

The purpose of the program is to help Thousand Oaks businesses become more efficient and competitive, in addition to being environmentally friendly. Businesses are not expected to make unreasonable capital investments. Most of the certification criteria are behavioral and process oriented and do not require additional expenditures. It’s not uncommon for applicant businesses to find that many of these common sense measures are already in practice at their facilities.


Process - Steps to become certified

Step 1 - Registration: Visit the California Green Business program website at http://www.greenbusinessca.org/welcome/ and click on the “Get Started” button to register and tell us a little bit about your business. Be sure to enter Thousand Oaks for your City (under Business Info) so that your registration is routed to the correct jurisdiction. After successful registration you will receive a confirmation e-mail. Be sure to save this e-mail for future reference, as it contains your program username and link to your application. This email will give you instructions on how to contact your Green Business coordinator to get started with your initial consultation.

Step 2 – Fill out your application: Complete this step at your own pace. Work through the checklists, selecting the green business measures that your business has chosen to implement. You can save and continue at any time. Once enough measures have been implemented to complete the checklist, submit your application for review.

Step 3 – Evaluation: A Green Business Coordinator will review your application and schedule an onsite tour of your business to verify the measures specified on your checklist. If any measures need further attention, we’ll work with you to meet the requirements and get your business certified.

Step 4 - Certification: Congratulations – you’ve successfully achieved Green Business Certification! Your Green Business Coordinator will provide materials to recognize your achievement, including a plaque and scheduled recognition at a City Council meeting. You will also receive the Thousand Oaks Certified Green Business logo to use in your communications, marketing materials and place in your window. Your company will be listed on both the City and California Green Business Program websites so potential customers -- including other green businesses -- can find you.


Benefits

The City wants your business to save green and grow green by going green. Benefits include:

  • A competitive edge within the enviro-conscious Thousand Oaks community
  • Lowered costs and streamlined efficiency.
  • Positive PR to increase your visibility and customer base
  • More constructive relationship with the City
  • Improved employee motivation and productivity


Recognition

Certified "Green Businesses" will be publicized and highly visible to the Thousand Oaks community. Certification will be publicly awarded at a City Council meeting and certified businesses will receive the following:


FAQs

Who can apply for Green Business Certification?

Any small or medium-sized Automotive, Dental, Garment Cleaning, Hotel/Hospitality, Landscaping, Office/Retail or Restaurant that is licensed to do business in the City of Thousand Oaks can apply. The business must operate a commercial establishment or facility within City limits to be eligible for certification. At this time, home-based businesses are not eligible.

My business is not in any of these sectors. Can I still apply for the program?

Although we are currently only certifying businesses in the industries listed above, we will be adding additional sectors in the coming months. Planned additions include property management, taxi and home office sectors. We highly encourage any interested business to contact us at GoGreen@toaks.org so that we can notify you when your business category is eligible for certification.

How much does this program cost?

It's FREE! There are NO fees associated with this program. Potential expenses will take the form of investments that may be associated with particular measures. Your business may be able to make sufficient behavioral and procedural improvements to satisfy the certification requirements, without additional capital expenditures.

How long does the certification process take?

The certification process can take anywhere from 1 to 6 months to complete depending on your current 'green' measures and how expediently you can implement additional measures.

Do I have to do everything on the checklist to become a Green Business?

No. Businesses must meet minimum standards in each category, and implement additional measures from a selection of options. If certain measures are not applicable or feasible for your facility, you may request an exemption or submit alternate measures that have been implemented for consideration. This flexibility allows businesses to highlight their own unique and creative sustainability initiatives, while maintaining the environmental standards held by all certified businesses in California.

How long am I certified for?

Certifications are valid for a 3-year period. After 3 years, your business can apply for re-certification, which is an abbreviated version of the initial certification. To be re-certified, you must have maintained your current green measures and agree to implement a few additional ones.

All businesses are unique (ex. some businesses do not have control over their utilities and landscaping). How does the program account for the variety of businesses and landlord limitations?

The program is inherently flexible and conducive to all types of business situations. The checklist contains general criteria that will apply to most businesses. However, businesses are encouraged to develop their own measures and ways to become green without sacrificing their competitive edge. The application allows businesses to submit these other measures for consideration by the Green Business Coordinator.

The program is not designed to burden businesses with unrealistic and illogical criteria. We want the business to optimize its operating efficiencies and develop creative, workable green measures.

What if I have outstanding violations or compliance issues?

All outstanding City violations and compliance issues must be resolved prior to beginning the program. We will not accept registrations from businesses with compliance issues that have not been remedied. If your business is found to be out of compliance, a hold will be placed on your application. The Green Business Coordinator is not a compliance auditor, but can direct you to compliance experts if you have questions or concerns.

What takes place during an on-site visit?

After you submit your checklist, we will schedule an onsite visit with you to make sure that the measures you specified on your checklist are in fact implemented. During the visit, a business representative will guide the City's Green Business Coordinator on a roughly one-hour tour of the facility. This is NOT an inspection, but merely a verification procedure to make sure the checklist measures are already in place and have been implemented.


Get Started

Visit the California Green Business Program website to get started!


Contact Us

For all your questions and concerns regarding the Green Business Certification Program, please send an email to GoGreen@toaks.org. You will receive a prompt response from a Green Business coordinator. Questions can also be directed to the Public Works Department at (805) 449-2400.