What Are The Standards?
Since 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 these areas:
Restored and protected environment
- Certified green businesses care for the environment in the way they source and manufacture products and run their operations and facilities
Social and economic justice
- Certified green businesses use practices that benefit the well-being of workers, customers, suppliers and the greater community
Vibrant, inclusive local communities
- Certified green businesses are great local employers and source locally whenever possible, from packaging to ingredients
Personal health, well-being and fulfillment
- Certified green businesses support people living healthy happy lives, practicing radical transparency in every facet of their business so consumers can make the best decisions possible for their families and their world
Green America’s standards evolve as best practices improve and industries change. We update the Standards Guidebook annually and, on occasion, will reevaluate an industry or standard mid-year. Our business and consumer audiences look to us to define, redefine, and re-redefine green!
The 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.
- Green America's Green Business Standards: Click to view
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.
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,