The City of Thousand Oaks is a member of the Ventura County Green Business (VCGB) Program, which 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. Best of all, it's free to get certified!!
- Steps to Becoming Certified
- Benefits / Recognition
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Certified Green Businesses
- Contact Us
The VCGB Program is part of the statewide California Green Business Network, making it even more rewarding for businesses to Go Green in Thousand Oaks! Become 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 trees statewide.
Below is a listing of eligible business sectors. Visit https://greenbusinessca.org/resources to download a checklist for any of these sectors to give you an idea of what environmental issues you can expect to address when you apply. Please make sure you filter by Ventura County prior to choosing a checklist.
- Auto Repair
- Dental Services
- Food Manufacturing (pilot program)
- Garment Cleaning
- Janitorial Services
- Landscape services
- Lodging (hotel/hospitality)
- Medical Services (i.e. medical office)
- Municipal Operations
- Office and Retail
- Property Management - Commercial
- Property Management - Residential
- Restaurant/Food Service
If you don't see your business sector listed here and you want to find out if your business is eligible to participate, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Now that you know more, check out the California Green Business Program website via the links below. In the first link you can search other certified businesses. In the second link you can start your application and be on the road to certification!
Step 1 - Registration: Visit the California Green Business program website at https://greenbusinessca.org/ and click on the “Get Certified” 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 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 the checklist at your own pace. You can save and continue at any time. Once enough measures have been implemented, 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 recognition at a City Council meeting. See Benefits and Recognition below for more details.
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 up to 3/4 of consumers prefer to patronize green businesses and buy green products.
The City wants your business to save green and grow green by going green. Benefits include:
- A competitive edge within the eco-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
"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
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:
- Free publicity in local newspapers
- A framed certification plaque to display in your business
- Certified Green Business window decals
- Rights to use the Certified Green Business logo in your marketing
- Recognition from the City of Thousand Oaks, including free marketing in local newspapers, pamphlets and on the City website. Click here to view the Certified Green Business listing on our website
- Listing on the California Green Business Program database – a searchable statewide directory of over 3,100 Certified Green Businesses that is searchable by consumers. Click here to visit the California Green Business Program website.
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 and within City limits of the City of Thousand Oaks can apply. 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. In addition, most energy and water savings measures pay for themselves in a very short period of time. Some rebates may also be available. Your Green Business Coordinator can give your more information.
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 and complete the checklist.
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. 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.
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) 449-7283.