Los Angeles Sustainable Business Programs
By Kelly Ryan
Recognizing the importance of achieving city-wide sustainability goals, the city of Los Angeles has created various programs designed to both enhance current environmental efforts and assist organizations in taking the next step towards sustainable development. These programs provide increased business opportunities as well as resources for organizations to analyze how improvement can be made to their environmental practices and policy.
Los Angeles Green Business Program
In 2014, the City of Los Angeles launched its first ever green business program. The City of Los Angeles Green Business Program (LAGBP) is a free and voluntary assistance program aimed at increasing energy and water efficiency, generating cost savings, and creating a healthier environment for the citizens of L.A. Aside from these objectives, the program has two overlying goals: to provide resources that help businesses become greener, and award these businesses with an official certification for their sustainability efforts and achievements. Here at Verdical Group, we are very proud to showcase our certification with LAGBP.
LAGBP assists businesses with becoming more sustainable in three sectors: office/retail, restaurants, and automotive repair and body shops. To date, there are over 400 certified L.A. green businesses with the LAGBP. The certification process begins with businesses filling out the application and scheduling an initial consultation with a LAGBP staff member. An in-person assessment takes place at the business site to review specific operational aspects, such as types of cleaning products used or waste diversion efforts. The business then receives a report summarizing this assessment and stating certain measures that the business must complete to become certified. Following certification, businesses receive physical copies of their award and an official LAGBP logo to be placed on their website and any other marketing materials of their choice. The certification is valid for three years after which the business must apply for re-certification.
With Los Angeles being one of the largest cities in the U.S., the pressure to become more sustainable continues to grow. LAGBP assists businesses that desire to contribute to a greener Los Angeles but do not have the resources to take the next step. Certified LAGBP businesses save money on energy and water bills, demonstrate to their community their dedication to improving the surrounding environment, and become part of the growing LA green business network.
Los Angeles County Social Enterprise Preference Program
A similar program that aims to reward local businesses for their efforts to better the surrounding environment is the LA Social Enterprise Preference Program (SEP). This is a county-wide program that is designed to increase contracting opportunities for enterprises whose primary purpose is to enhance Los Angeles County through economic, social, and environmental sustainability. Businesses that are SEP certified are eligible to receive a 15% bid price reduction or ‘preference’ when bidding on certain goods and services solicitations from LA County. Businesses also have direct access to networking events with county buyers and receive individualized counseling on how to find additional contracting opportunities.
Photo Credit: Los Angeles County
To qualify for SEP certification, a business must have either its principle place of business or a major office located in LA County. Additionally, it must meet any one of the following criteria: been in operation for at least one year providing transitional jobs to a transitional workforce, be a certified B Corp through B Lab, be certified green by a city government within the county, or a business whose primary purpose is the common good. The process to become SEP certified begins with a business demonstrating it has been registered or certified through the B Lab Corporation, California Secretary of State as a benefit or social purpose corporation, City of Santa Monica green business program, or City of LA green business program. The business then must register as a vendor with Los Angeles County, during which it will be asked to provide a mission statement, description of programs/services, and provide further detail on their social impact. Though not officially certified yet, Verdical Group is currently completing the application process to receive the LA SEP certification.
Progressing forward, it is crucial that the entirety of Los Angeles work together to implement new sustainable development strategies. Programs like LAGBP and SEP work with local businesses to help them implement sustainable growth strategies that better the surrounding community. They demonstrate the region’s commitment to a greener city while emphasizing the importance of economic, social, and environmental sustainability.