The GBCP can grow in a number of directions. It can attract More Businesses in the targeted sectors to the program, it can add New Sectors, it can Expand Geographically, it can add New Partners and it can engage in Continual Improvement.
In order leverage peer pressure, to get participation to be the norm in an industry sector, at least 14% of a group needs to make the change, according to behavior change research. To reach this "tipping point" requires the assistance of "mavens"", individuals who are well respected within the industry and support the program, and "persuaders/salesmen" to help spread the word about the program. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell describes this phenomenon.
Customer pressure can encourage those businesses that directly serve the public to become certified as in the case of auto repair shops and landscapers. Publicizing health and environmental concerns that businesses can minimize by undertaking measures suggested in GBCP checklists may induce customers to use GBCP certification as a way to choose one business over another.
Industries that serve business clients (b-2-b), such as printers, are motivated by different incentives. According to EFC9 research, these businesses, especially small ones, are reluctant to make environmentally beneficial changes if they see no immediate need or payoff and perceive the changes as troublesome. EFC9 surveyed printers and found that they need incentives to be motivated to do more than just comply with environmental regulations. For example, requiring ISO14001 certification may be an incentive for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to request their suppliers to meet ISO 14001 requirements. GBCP certification may meet the ISO requirement. According to EFC9 research, the preferred incentive by printers was for government agencies and businesses to offer a selection preference for certified green businesses. More specifically, they indicated that they would be willing to get certified if it would give them a leg up when bidding for contract work. Alameda County General Services Agency Purchasing Department adopted just such a policy in December 2002. The language follows:
"The County is committed to ensuring that companies providing printing services to the County are in compliance with environmental protection laws and regulations and are taking additional steps to conserve resources and prevent waste. We encourage contractors wishing to provide printing services to the County become Bay Area Green Business certified as an assurance to the County that environmental laws and regulations are being complied with however, certification, although highly recommended is not a requirement of this RFQ. To become a Bay Area Green Business contact Pamela J. Evans, Pollution Prevention/Toxics Coordinator, Alameda County Environmental Health Department, (510)567-6770 or email@example.com"
Employee concern about health and environmental issues may cause a business to look into GBCP certification, especially in sectors where trained labor is in short supply. Certification then becomes a way for the business to attract and retain good employees.
In order to decide which new sectors to add, the program administration should develop selection methodology and assemble a decision-making team. EFC9 suggests starting this process by identifying sectors for which checklists are available.
Alameda County Green Business Program uses a worksheet to identify the next target industry group for the development of industry-specific Green Business Standards. They use six criteria assigning each weighting factors based on their relative importance for program success. These criteria include:
- Interest/commitment from program partners
- Interest/commitment from industry group
- Direct relationship with public
- Significant number of businesses in county
- Fixed place of business
- Environmental impact
- Stable compliance issues
Various industries are proposed and the Steering Committee then discusses the pros and cons of each industry group coming to consensus on the numerical scores.
Depending upon the program, it may be able to grow by expanding its geographical coverage. Programs that are developed at the regional level or state level, but implemented locally may expand into new locales. This requires a program champion or two in the "new" community who is/are willing to move the process along.
As the program credibility grows, agencies that had first rejected the concept may become interested. To encourage new partner participation, the program can demonstrate how it will help the agency achieve its goals and therefore increase its effectiveness. In addition, as more business sectors are added, the program may wish to add partners that address specific issues in those industries, including industry trade associations.
To remain relevant and effective, the program needs to be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that it continues to contribute to the achievement of the desired environmental protection outcomes and that the goals of the program remain appropriate in light of experience, knowledge and changing public values. Towards this end EFC9 has developed this website/information clearinghouse where you can learn from othersduplicating their successes.