San Diego County, CA Green Business Program
Status: In Effect
To take proactive and preventive actions resulting in real environmental solutions for businesses and the community, the San Diego and Imperial Counties Pollution Prevention Committee and Project Clean Water initiated a Green Business Workgroup in May 2002. This effort opened new channels of communication and cooperation leading to the successful development of the new San Diego Area Green Business Program, a free, voluntary program, initially for small Automotive and Food facilities with plans to expand to other small businesses.
The mission of the San Diego Area Green Business Program is to provide a cooperative regional effort that proactively assists businesses to come into full compliance with environmental regulations and encourages businesses to take extra steps towards pollution prevention and resource conservation. Additionally, the program will establish a credible voluntary self-assessment process, strive to foster open and productive dialog between regulators and the regulated community and recognize businesses for their environmental stewardship efforts.
The San Diego Area Green Business Program comprises a variety of stakeholders groups including the San Diego & Imperial Counties Pollution Prevention Committee and Project Clean Water, both coalitions of various air, hazardous material/waste, solid waste, storm water, water/wastewater regulating agencies, local jurisdictions (19), non-profits, utilities, business associations, environmental organizations, academia and members of the public as well as environmental justice community groups. These stakeholders dedicated a significant amount of time participating in the early and ongoing formative meetings as well as providing constructive review and comment resulting in the program’s valuable final documents. By bringing these entities together, the program provides an integrated framework for the community to obtain the information and education that is needed to reduce waste, conserve resources, and increase overall compliance. The County of San Diego, Department of Environmental Health is currently taking a lead role to develop the program and to keep it aligned with statewide Green Business program efforts. Additionally, key business associations, the Automotive Service Council and the Food and Beverage Association of San Diego have provided strong support and successfully piloted the program to their members.
The goal of the San Diego Area Green Business Program is to promote “green” practices in the region. Green Business practices can be summarized as environmental regulatory compliance and conservation efforts through implementation of pollution prevention strategies; energy and water conservation; and solid waste reduction and recycling. Providing public education on environmental stewardship in the home setting will lay the foundation for public recognition of and shopping preference for Green Businesses, providing additional incentive for businesses to be “green”. This program will garner resources by bringing together existing successful environmental education programs in the region and provide an opportunity to offer businesses and the public comprehensive environmental solutions.
The San Diego Area Green Business Program has four main objectives: 1) Seek additional partners and with stakeholder input, develop regional Green Business Action and Program Plan (completed), 2) Provide education and outreach to priority businesses and the public (ongoing), 3) Establish a voluntary self-assessment/business recognition program, and 4) After program evaluation, expand to include additional small business sectors (long-term).