Restaurants, Cafes & Catering

Green Business Standard

Includes bakeries; bars; food trucks

All standards are required unless noted.

Earn Your Green Business Certification

If your restaurant, cafe or catering company meets our standards, get certified today.

Get Certified

Restored & Protected Environment


  • Facility conserves energy and water, including energy efficient lighting, maintaining HVAC equipment on a regular basis, installing water-efficient fixtures in kitchens, occupancy sensors in back rooms, and temperature control after hours.
  • Practices designed to lessen food waste and increase recycling
  • Use of third-party-certified green cleaners
  • No disposable table cloths. Linens laundered with environmentally preferred cleaners
  • Reusable cutlery and china provided for all food and beverages consumed onsite
  • No polystyrene foam 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
  • Does not sell bottled water
  • No food or beverages with Genetically Modified ingredients are sold or served, include frying oil, butter substitutes and condiments. When applying for the Green Business Certification, PDFs of relevant invoices required, with receipt of non- disclosure agreement signed by Certification Director
  • At least 80% meat, dairy and eggs are local or certified humanely raised and slaughtered, including antibiotic- and added hormone-free
  • 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 & Economic Justice


  • Serve certified fair trade or organic coffee and tea. If using direct trade, provide information on the producers
  • Living wages paid to all staff and create opportunities for advancement. With tips, includes tipped staff. Relevant payroll documents may be required when applying for the Green Business Certification, with receipt of non- disclosure agreement signed by Certification Director
  • Paid sick days for all workers, including part time
  • Work schedules released at least two weeks before shifts begin; last minute schedule changes rewarded with increased hourly rate


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

Standard Review

This standard was revised in 2015. We held a 45 day public comment period and solicited feedback on the standard from our Certified Green Businesses.

We also took guidance from the following organizations (does not imply endorsement):

  • Animal Welfare Approved
  • Business Alliance for Local Living Economies
  • Friends of the Earth
  • National Organic Program of the USDA
  • Non-GMO Project
  • Organic Consumers Association
  • World Fair Trade Organization and Fair Trade USA

This standard was again revised internally in 2017.

Certification Questions? Contact Us

3 + 2 =

Get Connected

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

Yes! Connect me to updates for green business and social enterprise from Green America's Green Business Network. Give me the latest news, events, tips, and trends.

This information will never be shared with third parties.