1. What is BC Green Business and how did it come into existence?
The program actually started about 10 years ago under the name ‘Vancouver Island Green Business Collective’. Our Executive Director, Jill Doucette, had noticed a lack of accessible and affordable sustainable business certifications and coaching programs so she started one. The program ran solely on Vancouver Island until February of 2023 when we rebranded as BC Green Business and started offering the program province-wide.
2. How many employees work for BC Green Business?
BC Green Business as a program is delivered by the non-profit Synergy Foundation and at Synergy Foundation we have nine staff members. We’re a small team with a big impact!
3. How long have you been with BC Green Business, what is your role, and what are your responsibilities with the organization?
I have been with the organization for about three years now and have been serving as the Program Manager for almost two years. As the Program Manager I have been tasked with leading the strategic growth of our recent expansion as well as improving our internal systems and resources.
4. What does BC Green Business offer BC companies (or other entities)?
BC Green Business offers an affordable certification program that provides one-on-one assessments and recommends approachable ways to reduce the environmental impact of an entity’s operations. We focus on tangible solutions that can be implemented in almost any business setting.
5. What kind of companies do you assist?
We use seven specific checklists to certify businesses in the following sectors: offices, retail stores, restaurants, spas and salons, fleet-based businesses, food and beverage processors and grocery stores.
6. How does a company receive a certificate from BC Green Business?
All businesses that wish to get certified go through a one to two hour site visit and then receive a ‘suggested actions’ report and resources to help implement the actions. After this, they are given time to implement the changes they wish to make. Once the actions have been verified by our team, the business can be certified in the program based on the actions achieved.
7. How can companies use the certification?
Businesses receive different levels of certification based on how many actions they achieve from our sector-specific checklists. The certification can be used as motivation for continuous improvement in hopes of implementing more actions every year.
We also provide certified businesses with both physical and digital marketing assets that they can use to promote their efforts as they see fit. Members are given access to different member events, our promotional efforts, and educational resources.
8. Can you describe the auditing process undertaken by BC Green Business?
Site visits and recertification take place annually to ensure continuous improvement. During a site visit we assess the business’s operations with one of our sector-specific checklists, focusing on areas such as waste, water, building and operations, climate action, transportation, procurement, and social impact. Site visits usually take about one hour but can be up to two hours for larger businesses such as grocery stores. We typically ask for a tour of the space and then give the business representative the option to join us or leave us to assess the space on our own. At the end we typically take 10-15 minutes to ask questions about actions that can’t necessarily be witnessed on a site visit such as company policies, purchasing practices, staff behaviour, etc.