Montgomery County is seeking to stimulate growth in the green economy with the announcement that it has broadened the standards for its Green Business Certification Program to include business sectors previously ineligible. They include restaurants, cleaning companies, hotels and home-based businesses. The program has also updated its website to be more user friendly and responsive.
The program will continue to certify businesses utilizing the applications developed by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for office-based and landscaping companies, but will broaden the menu of certification standards available to businesses.
The announcement was made at a April 21st reception hosted by DEP and the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce at the Chamber’s offices in Rockville. DEP and the Chamber are partners in the local Green Business Certification program.
Joining local officials County Executive Ike Leggett, DEP Director Lisa Feldt and County Councilmember Roger Berliner at the event was the Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles and Gigi Godwin, president and CEO of the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce.
Twenty-six local businesses were honored under the newly expanded program that now also recognizes businesses certified through other well-respected third party certification programs such as B Lab, Green America, the Green Restaurant Association and Green Seal.
“Businesses certified through B Lab, Green America, the Green Restaurant Association and Green Seal understand that aligning their values and business operations is both a responsibility and business opportunity,” said Leggett who applauded the efforts of these green business leaders. “We are grateful for the leadership of these environmental and business ambassadors.”
“It makes great sense to leverage nationally-recognized programs to engage a broader swath of our business community,” said Feldt. “Moreover, Program expansion will help the County advance its mutually reinforcing goals of enhancing economic vitality and environmental stewardship.”
Godwin is confident that the expanded program will accelerate the growth of green commerce. “This program expansion is a marketplace game changer. It will encourage green business-to-green business opportunities and stimulate momentum in corporate sustainability; proof that Montgomery County is a leader in the green economy.”
The County’s Department of Economic Development (DED) will also offer subsidies to restaurants to defray the costs of certification through any one of the four national programs.
“Energy and water are a large part of a restaurant’s overhead and we’re interested in helping them cut costs,” said Sally Sternbach, acting director of the County’s Department of Economic Development. “We also want to position them to take advantage of an increasingly growing base of environmentally conscious diners.”
DED will provide a one-time subsidy to the first 40 restaurants that certify toward the cost of restaurant certification—50 percent of the fee up to $1,000. Restaurants are responsible for ongoing fees that are required to maintain certification.
Download the green restaurant subsidy flyer (PDF)
As part of efforts to make the Green Business program accessible to today’s businesses, the website has been updated to be mobile responsive with easier navigation and simplified directions. The website contains information on the new certification programs, videos of green businesses and newsletters.
The directory is one of the highlights of the new website as County residents can look for businesses that are following through on their green promises by getting certified. Interested in hiring an accountant, landscaping company, caterer or cleaning company? Use the directory to find one.
The 26 businesses recognized by the newly expanded Montgomery County Green Business Certification Program are:
To see the full list of Certified Green Businesses go to mcgreenbiz.org.