The City of Los Angeles Green Business Program is designed to certify businesses in the City of Los Angeles based upon their adoption of environmental practices. As a beyond compliance program, businesses (concentrating most immediately on restaurants, auto repair shops, and office spaces) are evaluated along a diverse checklist of potential efforts and certified as a “green business” if they meet the mark. As a benefit to them, they achieve recognition for the positive steps they are taking to reduce their environmental impact. This impact can be efficaciously translated to consumers by showing the certification. Businesses can capitalize on their participation in the program in the context of their marketing materials to court environmentally-minded customers. Over the summer, the program received $1 million towards implementation, and the Community College District is now moving forward with rolling out the program on behalf of the City. More information and details on the program can be found here.
Along with several colleagues, Erb Post-doc, Laurie Kaye Nijaki worked with the City back in 2007/2008 to plant the seed of the program and to push for its initial adoption through City Council. Their interest was in using this program as a realistic mechanism to work with the business community in Los Angeles around sustainability, and to provide one first step towards broader efforts around green jobs policies and programs for Los Angelenos. Her continued interest in the program, and the potential impact of programs such as this, is broader than the immediate environmental impacts undertaken by the business in order to achieve the certification. By recognizing green businesses, cities can create an economic development impetus by marketing themselves as seriously caring about the environmental impacts of businesses operating within their jurisdictional boundaries. In an effort towards becoming a sustainable city, they can thus market themselves as a potential home for a more sustainable business community. This, arguably and when explored in conjunction with other policy tools, can attract green businesses to your locale. It’s been a long time coming for the City of Los Angeles, and is a good step forward for sustainable business and their relationship with city governments on the ground.