In the implementation phase, the program is administered by the lead entity selected during the planning phase and by the Green Business Certification Program Coordinator. The lead organization should continue to rely on the various subcommittees for assistance.
The Green Business Coordinator and Team are responsible for coordinating and maintaining the program. This entails recruiting applicants, assisting businesses in the application process, reviewing applications, arranging for necessary audits and/or inspections and ensuring the certification process is moving along in a timely fashion.
In general the implementation budget for the programs first year of operation is included in the planning budget. The budget is needed to cover staff and the kick-off event as well as on-going efforts.
Communication with participating businesses, potential participants, program partners, and the public is a critical program tool. Several of the GBCPs publish quarterly newsletters. Many have websites, listed in Examples. Also, it is advisable to involve representatives from trade associations, chambers of commerce, economic development organizations, and the media in outreach efforts.
To generate business interest, the program should start by targeting "low hanging fruit"businesses that are ripe for this opportunity. These early adopters are industry leaders and their experience will help recruit others. In addition, they will help vet the program.
To solicit the first applicants, the GBCP coordinator may request assistance from the various organizations involved in the GBCP planning process. For most GBCPs, businesses helping develop the program are interested in being the first certified.
Orientation meetings are used to introduce businesses to the GBCP concept, to each other and to certified businesses as well as to motivate them to participate in the program. Workshops or group session can address businesses questions and concerns. Follow-up visits can help businesses implement selected measures and are opportunities to train them to be mentors and provide outreach to others.
Employee support of the program will help to insure its effective implementation. To generate employee support, the GBCP should consider holding employee-oriented workshops, handing out "goodies" to employees of certified businesses and provide pollution prevention and resource conservation information to vocational education schools so new employees will be trained on green business techniques.
Consumer and public outreach are key elements of any GBR program. They are critical business incentives. If the program is unknown and the logo is not recognized in the community, businesses will be less inclined to participate. The more attention the program gets, in general, the more likely businesses will be interested in participating.
The marketing subcommittee should develop a local public awareness and marketing plan that identifies different targeted audiences (which will vary depending upon the business sectors being certified) and how to reach them. In addition, they should develop ways to leverage resources for the marketing program including the best way to access "word of mouth networks cited as one of the most effective forms of advertising. The marketing subcommittee should identify environmental awareness programs being promoted to the public and determine how the GBCP can be included in their publicity efforts.Possible outreach activities include:
- starting a sticker identification program in all the local schools;
- supplying the certified businesses with brochures for their customers and patches and hats with the program logo for all employees to wear; and
- distributing materials to local media and issue press releases showcasing local "Green Businesses" as they are recognized.
- Examples of additional outreach activities undertaken by various GBCPs can be found in the Incentives section.
Effective marketing information is presented in a way that is vivid, personal, specific and concrete, and told as an emotional story. For more suggestions on marketing strategies, look at:
Key Behavior Change Principles published by the Local Hazardous Waste Management Program, King County, WA
Fostering Sustainable Behavior: An Introduction to Community-Based Social Marketing). This describes how to uncover the barriers to sustainable behavior and develop and deliver programs to overcome these barriers.
The Tipping Point, a book by Malcolm Gladwell, describes how social epidemics work and can serve as an inspiration for a campaign.
- The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Sustainable Consumption Network is working with psychologists and behavioral scientists to understand what makes consumers tick and exploring incentive approaches to make sustainable living something consumers will increasingly desire.
The GBCP should hold at least one kick-off event. The goal of the event is to recognize certified businesses (if possible), solicit additional business participation, and develop program awareness by consumers and the media.
Activities that can occur at the kick-off event include:
- Program Introduction;
- Award certification;
- Statements by certified businesses owners;
- Presentations to employees (hats or t-shirts --this can be done after the event);
- Testimonials by businesses participating in similar programs;
- Q&A session with regulators and inspectors; and
- Distribution of program information packets.
Event planners may want to invite elected officials to present GBCP recognition materials (such as the logo to put in their shop window) to certified businesses in their districts and have elected officials sign GBCP certificates. Videotaping the presentation may be useful for future marketing purposes.
To insure a respectable turnout, event planners may want to place ads in local newspapers, send out press releases announcing the event to all media outlets and environmental organizations and invite all targeted businesses.
It is important to monitor the program’s effectiveness. Demonstrating improvements in the environment and to the regulatory system will be key to securing future funding and support for the program. Towards this end, the program administrators must establish baseline data for the selected indicators, track activities and measuring impacts and share the results.
The program should decide what to measure--environmental benefits, customer satisfaction, success of the program in spurring behavior change, improvement in the regulatory system, or all of the above. The next step is to select indicators of program success and develop appropriate record keeping forms.
Indicators need to be realistic. Most small business owners don’t have the time to do more than run their businesses and GBCP Coordinators also don’t have much additional time. Possible indicators include items that are already monitored such as: hazardous waste disposal listed on bills, solid waste disposal listed on bills, water and energy use (again from bills) and number of violations. It is possible to add more record-keeping requirements as part of recertification.
Pacific Northwest P2 Resource Center's (PPRC) Environmental Management Primer is an on line resource for measurement indicators. This primer provides information and expertise on measuring the environmental results of P2 activities. Resources include case studies, fact sheets, checklists, and guides for measuring environmental performance as well as links to other sites.
Green Business Certification Programs are resources for each other. Towards this end, GBCP coordinators within a region should consider meeting regularly with each other or stay in touch via e-mail and telephone to share ideas, resources and information. For example, the San Francisco Bay Area Green Business Program coordinators meet monthly at the offices of the Association of Bay Area Governments.
This website is one way to learn about the other programs around the world and share ideas, campaigns and resources