CAGBN Eligibility for Green Business Certification

Drafted: October 24, 2023
Adopted: November 8, 2023

The California Green Business Network (CAGBN) leads the state and nation in working with small to medium-sized businesses to create a vibrant green economy. In order to ensure the impact and credibility of its certification program, which is conducted in collaboration with local Green Business Programs, CAGBN must establish certain standards for certification eligibility. This policy, developed with the CAGBN’s Performance Standards Committee, which consists of small business sustainability experts from local governments, nonprofits, utilities, and beyond, describes CAGBN’s current guidelines for eligibility.

Below are the eligibility requirements for businesses to become Certified as Green Businesses in the State of California.

There may be businesses that enroll in the Green Business Program that are deemed ineligible for Certification. The California Green Business Network (CAGBN) and/or a locally supported Green Business Program may determine if a business is ineligible based on these guidelines. If ineligible for certification, the business can use the CAGBN checklist as a roadmap toward sustainability, but will not be eligible for recognition.

Eligible Businesses:

(1) The local Green Business program shall develop certification standards that are at least as restrictive as these baseline standards developed by the CAGBN Performance Standards Committee.

(2) (A) The local program may certify a business as a California Green Business upon verifying that the business is a small- to medium-sized business or a business that the local program has resources to assist and determining, based on an onsite evaluation pursuant to paragraph (3), that the business complies with the standards developed pursuant to paragraph (1). The local program may not have adequate resources to assist an extremely large business and therefore may deem them ineligible.

(B) In the case of a chain, franchise, or other business with multiple locations, the local program shall certify the locations of that business on an individual basis, and upon determining eligibility for an individual location/operation.

(C) Certification shall be subject to renewal after a period of not more than four years.

(3) (A) The local program shall periodically conduct onsite evaluations of certified California green businesses to ensure compliance with the standards developed pursuant to paragraph (1). At a minimum, the local program shall conduct these onsite evaluations before awarding or renewing certification.

(B) A business that is out of compliance with local environmental regulatory law is ineligible for certification.

(4) If a business’s certification lapses or is revoked, the local program shall ensure that all signs of certification are removed from the business’s previously certified premises.

Ineligible Businesses:

(1) The local program shall not certify any of the following:

(A) A business that manufactures toxic or hazardous materials.

(B) A business that produces substantial quantities of hazardous waste as a byproduct, uses substantial quantities of toxic materials, emits substantial amounts of pollution in the course of doing business, destroys substantial amounts of natural resources, and/or operates in a manner that demonstrates a consistent and significant negative impact on the environment and/or society, as determined by the CAGBN Performance Standards Committee.

(C) CAGBN recognizes business operations that meet set performance standards. CAGBN does not recognize or qualify i) Manufactured products, ii) Professional qualifications or iii) Quality of service.

(F) Any additional category or aspect of business that the local program, consistent with the purposes of this section, may choose to exempt from certification.

(G) A business that creates social inequities.

If there is a question of eligibility/ineligibility of a business, the CAGBN Performance Standards Committee will discuss and make the determination and make recommendations to the CAGBN Board of Directors.