The Illinois Green Business Association is a non-profit organization that helps businesses be more environmentally sustainable with a Green Business Certification Program. We recently met with them to learn more about their program and recent successes.
The Illinois Green Business Association’s Green Business Certification is awarded to businesses that meet or exceed program standards in a variety of “green” areas. This includes energy and water conservation, pollution prevention, waste reduction and recycling, and a number of other areas. While these green issues are often not at the forefront of many business owners’ minds, they provide valuable benefits for the business, its employees, and its community.
For businesses of any kind the IGBA is able to provide something few other organizations do, help maximize profits. As Don Schlorff, executive vice president of Busey (an IGBA certified business) said, “If you do things right and do things sustainably, you should be able to lower your operating expenses.” For Busey, a lighting retrofit was a major component of lowering their operating costs, seeing returns on the investment with only a three and a half year span. The project was also aided by Ameren’s rebate program. Busey saves $50,000 a year from this efficiency program. Find out more about Ameren’s energy programs at http://www.actonenergy.com/.
Another element that makes the IGBA’s certification successful is the morale boost sustainability provides for employees. Those who are already passionate about green issues are able to take pride in their workplace for upholding valuable ideals. Others who are not necessarily green minded often become interested in exploring new ways to cut costs and make the business more sustainable. At Busey Bank employees became concerned with both waste reduction and recycling, even going so far as to implement a new recycling plan.
Green Business certification brings with it an element of community pride as well. “Often customers see the IGBA decal in the window and comment on it,” remarked Mara Eisenstein, Director of Marketing for IGBA.
Ultimately, green certification is valuable because of the sustainability associated with it. Not just the environmental sustainability, but the business’ sustainability as well. Making these changes assures that ten, twenty, or thirty years down the road, these businesses will still be a part of our communities.
IGBA’s program focuses on nine areas:
- Energy conservation
- Water conservation
- Waste reduction and recycling
- Pollution prevention
- General employee practices
- Community development
To date, more than a dozen Urbana-Champaign businesses have completed the certification program. Busey Bank, which is profiled in the video, is the latest and largest company to complete the program. Visit their website at www.illinoisgba.com.