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Letter to Be Green Participants

The following is a letter from the Division Director, Salvatore Ervolina, P.E., of the Division of Material Management to the Be Green participants dated June 9, 2014:

Dear Be Green Business or Be Green Course Provider:

Thank you for becoming a Be Green Business or Be Green Course Provider and helping to promote organic landscaping and pesticide use reduction in New York State. The Be Green Organic Yards NY program is meant to educate and clarify to consumers what constitutes an organic landscape service, and give recognition to businesses offering Be Green services that use only organic products and practices.

The DEC desires to promote organic landscape practices, but has received concerns from participants regarding certain limitations of the Be Green program. Because of these limitations, the Be Green program was not as widely implemented as we had hoped. After collaborating with industry representatives, we are making changes to the Be Green program in an effort to be responsive to industry concerns.

The issue most frequently mentioned regarding the Be Green program was the calendar year ban from using prohibited practices or products. The service mark agreement did not allow a Be Green Business to use any prohibited products or practices on a Be Green customer's property for a full calendar year. In practice, this meant that if your client was not satisfied with the Be Green program you would not be able to offer that client non-Be Green services, within that calendar year, without losing your Be Green recognition for all your other Be Green clients, and risk losing your client altogether because you could not satisfy your client's needs. The DEC agrees that jeopardizing the business/client relationship in this manner was counterproductive to the success of the Be Green program.

We are modifying the calendar year prohibition so that the Be Green Business can provide conventional pesticide services to a property that had been receiving Be Green services, if the customer requests it, with limitations. Those limitations are the Be Green Business (a) can no longer claim it is providing Be Green services to the property for the remainder of the calendar year, (b) cannot use the Be Green service mark in conjunction with any service provided at the property for the remainder of the calendar year, and (c) must reflect in its records that the property is no longer receiving Be Green services for the remainder of the calendar year.

In addition, we are eliminating the requirement that the Be Green Business Representative be present on site whenever the Business provides Be Green services; we are amending the Service Mark Agreement for Course Providers to allow a total of four hours of Be Green continuing education every two years rather than requiring a single 4 hour course; and we will add a requirement for Be Green Businesses to report annually on the number of Be Green customers they had during the previous calendar year, and how many switched to conventional services during the year, to monitor the success of the program.

This letter will serve as an amendment to your existing Be Green Service Mark Agreement and will allow you to operate under the terms specified in this letter for this season. We will send out amended Service Mark Agreements for your signature this coming winter. Most of the existing Service Mark Agreements expire in 2015. If you wish to continue with the Be Green program you will have to sign a new four year Service Mark Agreement with the DEC. In the event you could not attend a required biennial Be Green Continuing Education Courses, due to availability, we will recognize your original Be Green Basic Education Course so that you will still be eligible to enter into a new Service Mark Agreement.

The DEC wants to promote organic landscape practices and we encourage your continued participation in the Be Green Organic Yards NY program. We hope these changes make the Be Green program more conducive to offering your clients Be Green organic landscape services.

If you have any additional suggestions to improve the program or questions please contact Martin Williams, at (518) 402-8727, or consult our Be Green Organic Yard web page.

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