Exclusive Interview with Marcos Cordero, Founder of the Green Business Bureau

Quick 411 On Marcos Cordero

Marcos co-founded the Green Business Bureau to promote and support the green business philosophy throughout North America. He is a LEED-accredited professional and has extensive experience in the environmental and photovoltaic industries.

Marcos earned a mechanical engineering degree from MIT followed by an MBA from the Harvard Business School. Marcos is currently the vice president of the Harvard Business School Club of Houston.

Why was the Green Business Bureau started?

The Green Business Bureau was founded in 2008 by a group of environmental and business professionals who recognized a need for a national, trusted green certification program that offered sustainable resources, guidelines and instructions for small-to medium-sized companies. Why should a business go green?  Tangible benefits come from taking a company green — businesses that do so can save money, impact the environment, attract new customers, bring employees together, and showcase a real marketing edge. The GBB also works to keep members informed of the newest regulations affecting green business practices in various industries. Is the Green Business Bureau a government agency? The Green Business Bureau is a private, for-profit, third-party independent organization on that provides tools, resources and certification to assist businesses in their sustainability goals.  What is green business certification?  Green business certification identifies a company that follows ongoing, environmentally-sustainable business practices in the office and on the client side of the business.  How does the Green Business Bureau certification differ from other green certifications? Our green business certification certifies that the business operations of a company meet the required standards for sustainability. Other main certification bodies and what they certify include: Products: Green Seal; Buildings: The U.S. Green Building Council LEED Green Building Rating System; Energy Efficient Products: Certified by the U.S. Government ENERGY STAR Program

How were the GBB initiatives developed? 

Our standards are developed, monitored, and administered by a panel of experts associated with the Green Business Bureau. This panel includes members of LEED, individuals in the legal and compliance arena, and folks with experience in renewable energy.  Our goal was to maximize the benefits for businesses and for the environment by combining standards and guidelines set forth by the EPA, USGBC LEED System, government agencies, industry-specific certifying entities, and other third party, independent performance labeling organizations into a single source for green business initiatives.  Each initiative is evaluated for its relevance on the GBB membership community and is ranked in three areas- Investment Level, Effort Level, and Environmental Benefit t. A point value is assigned to each initiative based on these three criteria. All content is monitored consistently and regular updates to our standards are made as appropriate (usually monthly).What businesses are eligible for green business certification?  The Green Business Bureau serves small- and medium-sized businesses across all industries in the US and Canada. In addition, we have created Eco-Industries Programs (EIPs) that incorporate our standard menu of green initiatives, along with industry specific initiatives developed by the EPA and trade-related bodies. Our current list of EIPs includes Janitorial and Cleaning Services; Dry Cleaning; Landscaping; Office Supplies Vending; Building and Construction; Horticultural Nurseries; Retail; Hotels and Lodging; and Restaurants.

How do you track the success of your members? 

Through our exclusive partnership with Green Irene, our members receive third party auditing to verify completion of initiatives. This onsite verification gives consumers the confidence to know that a company has actually done the work to call themselves green.  In addition, we offer a best-in-class membership seal for member websites. When a customer clicks on the seal, the entire list of initiatives completed by the company is displayed — giving total transparency into the member’s green efforts.