Living Our Values - Green Business Certification

Kristin York

Kristin York

Vice President of Business Innovation

Core to Sierra Business Council’s mission is our commitment to being a triple bottom line organization so it’s only natural that we would lead an effort to help small businesses adopt these principles. A triple bottom line business considers more than just economic results or profit. They also value their impact on society and the environment. We often refer to these businesses as “sustainable” or “green” and research shows that they typically deliver superior customer service, score higher in job satisfaction, and perform better financially. 

The Cedar House Sport Hotel, a certified Green Business in Truckee. Photo by Laura Lawson Visconti

Core to Sierra Business Council’s mission is our commitment to being a triple bottom line organization so it’s only natural that we would lead an effort to help small businesses adopt these principles. A triple bottom line business considers more than just economic results or profit. They also value their impact on society and the environment. We often refer to these businesses as “sustainable” or “green” and research shows that they typically deliver superior customer service, score higher in job satisfaction, and perform better financially. 

As we approach Earth Day, there’s no better time for business owners to explore what it takes to become more sustainable. As a partner with the CA Green Business Network, SBC’s Small Business Development Center handles the recruitment, education, training, and direct technical assistance to help small businesses gain their Green Business certification. Essentially, we provide no-cost consulting to perform an initial assessment and then help each business to reach its sustainability goals. 

We often hear, “oh my industry could never be considered green” or that our Sierra SBDC clients think it is not relevant to their business. From a small business perspective, Green Business certification makes sense for any business, but in particular for those pursuing a sustainable business model or those with direct contact with consumers such as lodging, restaurants, retail or personal services. Many of the operational programs that were mandated in California years ago (including recycling, energy efficiency, and water conservation) automatically set a business up to achieve green status relatively quickly. 

Another common misperception is that it is too expensive or not worth a small business’ time to go through the certification process. At the Sierra SBDC, we completely understand how stretched a small business owner can be. However, it is still worth the effort to take the first step of taking the green business assessment to understand how you stack up in the market. Certainly, there may be an investment in time and money required, however, there are cost savings to be captured and potential revenue and branding enhancements that are important to factor into the decision to pursue a certification. In addition, the CA Green Business certification can be the gateway to additional certifications or achieving B Corp status, which is probably the most recognized level of management excellence in environmental, social, and governance issues. 

A great first step to finding out more about green certification is to check out the Tahoe Truckee Green Lodging workshop designed specifically for the tourism and hospitality industry. The workshop takes place virtually on May 11 and 12 from 9am to noon. Participants will learn best practices in energy efficiency, food and waste management, customer engagement, and sustainable transportation. In addition, sessions will cover how to become a certified Green Business under the California and Nevada programs and will feature stories from experts in the field including Patty Baird from Cedar House Sport Hotel, Ron Parson from Granlibakken, and representatives from the CA Environmental Protection Agency and numerous local agencies. The ultimate goal of the conference is to help tourism-based businesses learn how to conserve resources, save money, and attract customers. Follow this link for more information or to register. 

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