County, Dream in Green help local businesses ‘go green’

Maggie Fernandez

Miami-Dade County, along with its partner Dream in Green, is celebrating the local green economy by hosting a series of workshops and events to encourage and support businesses wanting to “go green” through the county’s Green Business Certification (GBC) program.

This free and voluntary program recognizes and verifies county green businesses, and also provides businesses wanting to green their operations with step-by-step, how-to guidance.

“With the Green Business Certification Program, we are doing our part to protect the environment, and we’re also helping stimulate our local economy,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. “I’m proud that our county government is helping local businesses operate more efficiently.”

The program is offered at no cost to Miami-Dade County businesses in the office, retail, restaurant, garment cleaning and dental health sectors. Hotels that have received the State of Florida’s Florida Green Lodging Program (FGLP) designation also are pre-qualified for the county’s Green Business Certification program. Once certified, participating businesses in the GBC Program receive marketing support as a Miami-Dade County-Certified Green Business on the county’s website, http://green.miamidade.gov and other program benefits.

To date, more than 560 businesses submitted preliminary information, 315 businesses completed the Application Checklist, 83 currently are going through the process, and 15 local businesses have achieved certification. This certification program is an initiative of the Vibrant Economy goal area in GreenPrint, the county’s communitywide sustainability plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; cut energy, water and fuel consumption, and develop a more sustainable community.

Miami-Dade County businesses can start the three-step certification process by visiting http://green.miamidade.gov and completing the Application Checklist provided for their appropriate business sector. The Application Checklist is a self-guided survey that businesses take to assess their current state of green operations.

If businesses are just starting to green their operations, Green Guidelines are provided on the website to help businesses create green business initiatives in four areas: Energy Conservation, Toxic Materials and Pollution Prevention, Solid Waste Reduction and Recycling, and Water Conservation. Dream in Green will be providing GBC Application Assistance at Brickell Eco- Library, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

“Becoming a county-certified green business has many advantages that contribute to a business’ bottom line and long-term profitability,” said Gabriole Van Bryce, executive director of Dream in Green. “Our county’s no-cost program provides verification to businesses seeking third-party recognition for being truly sustainable or ‘green.’

“The program provides profitable operating strategies that encourage the efficient use of natural resources in order to preserve environmental and human health. The program lays the foundation for our community’s long-term economic prosperity, sustainability, adaptability and resiliency.”

Miami-Dade County is encouraging businesses to “go green” because green business practices:

• Conserve resources and prevent pollution;

• Protect the environment and public health;

• Strengthen a business’ bottom line through operating efficiencies;

• Improve employee morale, health and performance;

• Help businesses hold a marketing edge during a changing economy and attract the fastest-growing consumer market – green purchasers, and

• Help establish and promote our region as a business community that supports economic prosperity through environmental responsibility, community health, durability and long-term sustainability.

A Green Business Certification Breakfast Workshop with Chamber South is scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 22, 7:30-8:30 a.m., at Miami Dadeland Marriott Hotel, 9090 S. Dadeland Blvd.

For more information on the Green Business workshops and events contact Gabriole Van Bryce at 305-576-3500 or via email to gabriole@dreamingreen.org


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