Public Comment Period

Restaurants, Cafes, and Catering Standards for review

At Green America’s Green Business Network, we periodically review our standards for evaluating companies that apply for Green Business Certification. We are currently soliciting feedback on our standards for Restaurants, Cafes, and Catering.

Please read before commenting:

  • Standards also apply to bakeries, bars, and food trucks.
  • Standards and Green Business Certification were created for small businesses with fewer than 50 staff.
  • Standards around general green business practices are mentioned on the main standards page.
  • When commenting, please be as specific and detailed as possible.
  • You are welcome to include URLs or other information for reference, but we are not accepting attachments as part of this process.
  • Leave your name, organization (if applicable), and an email address; anonymous comments will not be reviewed.
  • We will email all commenters when the new standard is published online.

How to Comment

Please read the proposed update to Restaurants, Cafes & Catering Standards.

Then select Comment on Our Standards at the end of the page to open up a webform for feedback. You may also email us at [email protected].

Restaurants, Cafes & Catering Standards

Restored and Protected Environment


  • Facility designed or renovated to conserve energy and water
  • Practices designed to lessen food waste and increase recycling
  • Use the least toxic versions of cleaners and furnishings available
  • No disposable table clothes; linens laundered with environmentally preferred cleaners
  • Reusable cutlery and china provided for all food and beverages consumed onsite
  • No polystyrene foam is used in takeout containers
  • To-go cups made with at least 24% recycled fibers or compostable fibers. If compostable cups are used, there is clear signage regarding their onsite disposal
  • No food or beverages with Genetically Modified ingredients are sold or served, including frying oil, butter substitutes, and condiments
  • Humanely raised and humanely slaughtered meat
  • Sustainably caught, low-mercury, non-endangered fish (Monterey Bay Aquarium, US-caught, line- or troll-caught)


  • Composting program; includes use of pick up / drop off / municipal service
  • At least half the menu is or can be made vegetarian with vegan options available

Social and Economic Justice 


  • Serve certified fair trade coffee and tea. If using direct trade, provide information on the producers
  • Living wages are paid to all staff with opportunities for advancement; no forced overtime


  • Source food locally, at least 50% during at least one season
  • 50% USDA organic food served
  • Serve and use fair trade ingredients: coffee, tea, sugar, chocolate, olive oil, bananas, and other commercially available fair trad produce
  • Emphasis is on healthy foods served in appropriate portion sizes