IGBA helps small businesses increase their profitability through smart and innovative sustainability practices.
The Illinois Green Business Certification Program helps businesses improve environmental performance across six categories of sustainability. The categories cover the primary ways that businesses interact with their environment and communities. Our green business practices are rooted in action-based environmental reduction. Businesses benefit by reducing operational costs and increasing process efficiency. They also reduce community climate impacts and create safer, healthier places to work.
Energy is the largest of the six certification categories and often provides the best return on investment for businesses. This category examines equipment and lighting usage, best practices for heating and air conditioning units and systems, and the human dimension of how power is consumed within the business. The Illinois Green Business Program coordinates with utility companies to help provide businesses with incentives to help them obtain higher efficiency equipment and save money.
Pollution Prevention involves a comprehensive audit of all the chemicals, cleaners, and supplies used in the business. This category promotes utilizing green products that are conducive to a clean air environment and provides resources to educate employees on preventing chemical spills that could be harmful to the environment, as well as guidelines for proper storage and disposal. Pollution prevention and education in the workplace can improve employee health, reduce dangerous spills, and even decrease supply costs.
Solid Waste focuses on reducing waste to decrease costs, reusing materials to conserve resources, and recycling to reduce the need to extract virgin materials. Responsible purchasing practices are key to reducing waste and this category provides an assessment of the types of materials bought by the business to increase efficiency and environmental awareness in purchasing.
A more sustainable transportation system reduces energy consumption and carbon emissions, increases safety, provides equal access to destinations for all groups of society, and enhances the quality of life in our communities. This category focuses on helping employees find health-promoting alternatives to driving cars to work every day, finding sustainable transportation programs for employees, and providing information on ride sharing options in the community.
Water conservation practices help identify and eliminate areas of leakage or inefficient usage and waste. This category includes both indoor and outdoor water efficiency measures along with an assessment of the amount of water used by different types of equipment as well as other strategies for conservation. Using water wisely is good for the environment and the bottom line.
The community category offers strategies for how a business can become more involved in contributing to their community and connecting with other environmental organizations. Sustainability in this category means not only the environmental, but the social and economic well-being of the community as well. This category also provides opportunities for businesses to educate their employees and the broader business community on the ways they can reduce their environmental impact at work and at home.
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The Illinois Green Business Certification program is continually evolving, creating one of the most engaging and accessible certification processes in the nation. With assistance from a grant from the EPA’s National Environmental Information Exchange Network (NEIEN) and partnering with the California Green Business Network, IGBA has launched an online platform for Illinois businesses called GreenBizTracker.
This powerful new tool makes it easier for businesses to incorporate leading green management practices and receive recognition for going beyond compliance. The robust online platform allows businesses to access state-specific resources, track environmental reduction metrics, and manage progress towards environmental accreditation. The platform also aggregates environmental impact across businesses and that is searchable to the public, helping consumers identify the impact of green practices, as well as connect with and support green businesses in their communities.
IGBA is currently seeking businesses and organizations to join our program on our new online certification platform — GreenBizTracker.
The IGBA Green Business Certification program now offers achievement badges for successfully completing each section of the certification checklist. Successful completion occurs when a business implements enough core and elective green practices to meet or exceed the point requirement for the section. Businesses can achieve certification badges as they work through the checklist and earn recognition along the way.
The badge system provides clarity in communicating the tangible actions a business takes towards being sustainable by resource reduction category. It encourages a step-by-step approach that promotes positive reinforcement for ongoing environmental improvements within a business. This results in the certification becoming more transparent to the customers and community as well as increasing engagement for businesses and their employees.
Businesses can achieve as many or as few badges as they like, and they can do it on their own timeline. If a business achieves all badges, they have reached full certification in the Illinois Green Business Program.
Contact us to start collecting badges for your business!