L.A.'s new certification program is modeled on a Bay Area program started by several Northern California counties in 1997. That program has certified about 800 businesses. San Diego also has a green certification.
Los Angeles, with its huge number of businesses, including 11,000 restaurants, would be attempting green certification on a larger scale than ever before. That has raised concerns about potential backlogs and whether the program would be able to serve all the city's communities equally.
Alarcon acknowledged the concerns but said he hoped to expand the program slowly to make sure it was manageable.
Alarcon emphasized that the certification program would be flexible enough to give a small business a variety of ways to reduce waste and water and energy use to earn the green certification that is expected to attract customers.
"We believe if you have those kinds of strict guidelines, it will be a turnoff to businesses," he said. "The goal is to reduce the carbon footprint, not to get a business 100% perfect."
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Certified Green Business Program
The city of Los Angeles has received a $150,000 grant from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to start a green-business certification program. To get advance information about the program, which backers hope to launch within six months, including proposed criteria for businesses, go to www.environmentla.org.