What’s a Green Business?
A green business operates in ways that solve – rather than cause – social and environmental problems.
Green businesses adopt principles, policies and practices that improve the quality of life for their customers, employees, communities, and the planet.
The businesses that make up the Green Business Network™ are, simply put, rewriting the rules of commerce. They challenge themselves to bring the goals of social and economic justice, environmental sustainability, as well as community health and development, into all of their activities — from production and supply chain management to employee relations and customer service.
Businesses that proudly call themselves “GBN members” not only reduce, reuse and recycle, but also offer products and services that help in areas like affordable housing, sustainable agriculture, education, clean energy and efficiency, fair trade, healthy air and clean water, and more.
Green businesses often spring up in marginalized communities—inner cities, rural and indigenous communities. Many are even started by the people in these communities who, in turn, bring respect and dignity to their employees and the wider neighborhood.
Green businesses create jobs that empower workers and honor their humanity. They also serve as models for the role businesses can play in the transformation of our society to one that is socially just and environmentally sustainable.
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- Adopt bylaws or charters that lay out the social and environmental objectives they hope to achieve
- Make transparent, public commitments to social justice and environmental sustainability
- Choose to deliver products and services that reflect their social and environmental concerns
- Work to include all the stakeholders when possible in their decision-making processes—their workers, customers, communities, and the environment
- Address economic justice issues within their businesses – for example, some by establishing a clear ratio of top to bottom salaries, others by building profit-sharing plans that include all workers, not just management
- Make products that are built to last and designed to reduce waste
- Ensure that their manufacturing and delivery processes are environmentally sound
- Examine their relationships with vendors, urging—even requiring— them to make social and environmental improvements
- Make their financial investments by applying social and environmental screens
- Get involved in their communities – offering their business as a space for meetings, encouraging employee volunteerism, doing cause marketing, making an in-kind donation or monetary gift
- Educate consumers about the crucial role business plays in ensuring worker rights, promoting social justice, and in protecting communities and the environment
- Encourage their consumers to be more educated about the products they buy and to be more mindful of their social and environmental impacts