It’s easy to greenwash a company. Hire a PR firm, stick a few recycling boxes in the lunchroom, hand out water bottles at a Sierra Club meeting, give a bus pass to the employees, and BAM! they’re Mother Nature in a business suit. But maybe you’re one of the growing number of people who want assurances that the companies you’re dealing with are really trying to conduct their business in an environmentally and socially responsible way. Nike is introducing outside audits of their labor practices and Home Depot relies on FSC certification of their wood supplies, but how do you certify an automotive shop is environmentally friendly? Once again Portland is ahead of the curve… we have the Portland Pollution Outreach Team (PPO)
Founded in 1996, PPO developed the EcoBiz Program (Ecological Business Program) to created standards to audit and certify the environmental practices of Automotive, Landscape, and most recently Car Wash businesses. The program is completely free and voluntary for the companies that participate. As of June 30, 2011, the PPO has recognized 139 auto services shops, 12 landscapers, and 21 carwashes as environmental leaders. The EcoBiz program is the first automotive services certification program of its type in the nation. The auditing and certification process is very rigorous. The complete application form is available online with all the details of the inspection process. It makes pretty dry reading, but if you want to be assured that it’s more than checking the lunchroom recycling boxes then this will put your mind at ease.
Companies participate in the EcoBiz program because they want to ensure that they are meeting the highest environmental standards, and because they want their customers to know that their environmental commitment is more than greenwashing. If this is important to you in the companies you deal with, then you might want to check out the Ecobiz website for a directory of companies that have achieved and maintain this high standard.