Any company can say they’re environmentally conscious, but it takes more than that to be considered a green business. Maybe one company started using recyclable paper and enforcing printing restrictions, while another company eliminated the use of plastic water bottles and installed energy-efficient lighting.
To become certified as a Bay Area Green Business, we had to go quite a bit further than that. And we were happy to do so. Not only are we helping to conserve energy and water, reduce waste and pollution, and shrink our carbon footprint, but being environmentally responsible makes good business sense.
In addition to complying with environmental regulations, there are minimum requirements that must be met in order to qualify as a Certified Bay Area Green Business. Here are the five major categories with a sampling of specific requirements:
Complying with mandatory composting and recycling practices.
Conserving resources in a number of ways, including responsible printing, using recycled paper or reusable bags instead of plastic, replacing disposable dishes with permanent dishware, and eliminating plastic bottles.
Making environmentally friendly purchases, including recycled paper and cardboard.
Using Energy Star-certified appliances.
Implementing power management programs.
Installing energy efficient lighting, dimmers and sensors.
Tracking monthly energy use.
Monitoring monthly water usage.
Installing fixtures and toilets that meet specific water usage standards.
Using cleaning products that meet standards for low toxicity.
Safely disposing chemicals, batteries, toner, etc.
Reducing the emissions of and efficiently managing company vehicles.
Offering environmentally preferable products to employees and customers.
Providing incentives and training for managers and employees.
Educating customers about participation in these efforts and why it’s important.
Developing a formal environmental policy.
Posting reminders about what employees should be doing to conserve resources.
Yes, becoming a Certified Bay Area Green Business is a big step – a step that we need to take every few years in order to remain certified – and it’s totally worth it. We encourage all local businesses and their customers to join AAA Business Supplies & Interiors in becoming more environmentally conscious and making these green practices part of their daily routine.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in April 2014and has been updated for relevance, and completeness.