CHAMPAIGN – An office, retail store and salon are the first three organizations to earn green business certification from the Illinois Green Business Association.
The nonprofit association, founded by recent graduates of the University of Illinois, awarded the first certifications to the International Society of Arboriculture headquarters in west Champaign and the B. Lime store in downtown Champaign.
They were quickly followed by the Ippatsu salon, also in downtown Champaign.
The association expects 10 other organizations in the Champaign-Urbana area to be certified later this summer.
Once the pilot project involving those 13 organizations is finished, the association plans to open the certification program to businesses statewide.
"Right now we have a wait list of businesses that want to be part of the program, but we're not ready for them yet," said Mara Eisenstein, the association's director of public engagement and special programs.
Under development is a state-of-the-art website Eisenstein hopes will help the association manage certification for hundreds of businesses all over the state.
The association offers certification and education for businesses wanting to improve their environmental performance.
The program covers nine areas of sustainability, including energy conservation, waste reduction, landscaping and community development.
Organizations earning certification can display the association's window decal and use highlights of the certification to market themselves to customers, she added.