What Are The Standards?

Green America Certified BusinessSince 1982, we have reviewed over 8,000 small businesses in more than 50 industries. Over the years, we gathered our cumulative expertise into a set of comprehensive standards and developed a certification methodology that is measurable and transparent.


We take a holistic approach to green business and look for evidence that a business demonstrates deepening commitments and ongoing progress in three main areas:

1 Environment

2 Social Equity

3 Accountability

  • Conserving Resources & Minimizing Waste
  • Using Organic & Renewable Materials
  • Conserving Resources, Recycling & Minimizing Waste
  • Reducing Emissions & Exposure to Toxins
  • Saving Energy & Using Renewable Energy
  • Minimizing Transportation Impacts
  • Building an Equitable, Supportive, & Inclusive Workplace
  • Ensuring a Fair & Responsible Supply Chain
  • Supporting Your Local Community
  • Serving Customer & Client Needs
  • Taking Care of Animals
  • Operating With Tranparency
  • Tracking Performance & Progress
  • Supporting Responsible Industry Practices

Standards Guidebook

We group our standards into two types - required standards and general standards. The required standards represent best practices in a company’s core business at each certification level. These standards are built into the required questions in the certification assessment. Review our standards development process »

The general standards represent a list of practices for businesses to implement as they deepen their sustainability work. These standards are built into the general questions in the certification assessment, and a business can select from hundreds of actions in different categories to accumulate points.  

Review our general standards by industry:

Please note: We are currently making updates to this section with our latest standards revisions. If you have any questions about our standards that you can't answer here, please email us at gbn @greenamerica.org.



The certification uses a points-based assessment to measure your company’s impact. To earn bronze, silver, or gold certification, a business must complete the required questions for each level (see above) and accumulate enough points for each level. The points requirements are:


To calculate your impact, each assessment question is weighted. GreenGain uses an algorithm that weights each question in four areas: social benefit, environmental benefit, effort level, and cost. Questions with a high number of total points have a high social and environmental benefit and require significant time and money to implement.

Here's an example of what the weighting looks like:


Of course, different businesses undertaking the same action will, realistically, have variable impacts due to factors we cannot directly account for (such as the size of the company’s office, the number of employees, differing business models of companies in the same industry, and other factors).

Our hope, however, is that by showing your impact in measurable terms, we will help your business prioritize planning strategically and transition to sustainable practices without breaking the bank.

Get started on your Green Business Certification: 
Sign up today »


We continually update and revise our standards and weightings, so please check back regularly. If you have feedback or suggestions, please:

  • Participate in our public comment periods,
  • Call our Director of Standards and Seal of Approval at (202)378-5332,
  • Or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .