Who can apply for Green Business Certification (GBC)?

Businesses must:

  • Have a commercial business location in the City of Santa Monica 
  • Occupy a minimum of 500 square feet 
  • Employ minimum of three (3) staff
  • Be in compliance with all local, state, and federal regulations
  • Be in operation for minimum 3 months under one of the following sectors:
    • Office
    • Retail
    • Property Management
    • Restaurant
    • Grocer
    • Lodging
    • Arts & Culture Facilities
    • Schools
    • Home Offices (limited spaces)

How does a business obtain Green Business Certification?

Businesses must sign-up for the program, receive confirmation and instructions on next steps.  Eligible businesses complete the checklist for the corresponding business sector. 

Each sector specific checklist details measures for conserving resources, preventing pollution, reducing carbon emissions, and minimizing waste.

The program administrator, Sustainable Works, schedules onsite (or virtual) visits to guide you on fullfilling the measures, verify the specified measures that are already in place, and provide employee education where needed.  Various resources and tools are provided (where applicable) at low to no cost. Once all of the required and minimal number of optional measures are verified, we issue the city's official green certification.

How long does it take to get through the certification process?

The amount of time for a business to achieve certification varies depending on several factors i.e., how many green practices are already in place, how complex the facility is (e.g., does it include a commercial kitchen or is it more than 20,000 sq ft?), and how committed the business is to making the required changes quickly.  A business that has most of the green measures already in place can usually achieve certification within 2-3 months.  A more complex facility requiring comprehensive changes or fixture upgrades can take up to 6 months.  Our team  helps guide you through the entire process!

What is the cost of participating?

Participating in the Santa Monica Green Business Program is a free service to businesses located in cities where funding is subsidized. We charge a nominal administration fee to help cover costs for issuing the certifications based on business sector and size.  However, since 2019 we have successfully gained CAGBN grants which can be applied to cover the fee portion and/or help cover some costs to meet the criteria. Contact the Green Business Program team to determine if grant funding is available by visiting the Contact page. To view the program fee schedule click here .

How long does a certification last?

Once the businesses pass the onsite verification visit, they are certified for a three year period from the visit day.

Certified businesses will recieve a 3 month notification via email before they are due for renewal.

How does a business renew certification after three years?

The Green Business Certification checklist for the appropriate sector must be completed again with fulfillling the required core measures and minimal number of optional measures.  If CAGBN grants are available, the certification fee can be waived.

Can I still apply for Green Business Certification if my business does not fall under one of the sectors listed?

No.  At this time, Green Business Certification is limited to the business sectors listed.  As the GBC program grows, the green checklists will expand to include other sectors.  To verify eligibility, please contact the GBC staff team.