Green Business Certifications – What’s Out There?

by Alison Lueders, Great Green Content

Get going on your green business resolutions

As the new year starts, many businesses are already working to become more sustainable. Whether implementing programs around energy efficiency, waste reduction, water conservation, and more, there are endless ways to create products and services with a lighter carbon footprint.

Many businesses make the most of those efforts by earning a green business certification to stand apart from competitors and make it easy for “green” consumers to find them.

There are many green business certifications out there.
There are many green business certifications out there.

The good news – businesses don’t have to go it alone

There are many resources available to businesses to both guide and recognize their efforts. For example:

  • In Tampa Bay, the Sustainable Business Program (powered by Sustany®) matches businesses with University of Tampa students who analyze their operations and recommend the most effective actions, from a lighting retro-fit to a recycling program. This year, Sustany® will help the Straz Center for the Performing Arts save a ton of money (and greenhouse gas emissions) by replacing their incandescent lights with LEDs.
  • Tampa also has The Sustainable Business Coalition, which has conducted an annual awards ceremony since 2007 that recognizes small, medium and large businesses for their sustainable practices.
  • In Pinellas, the Green Business Partnership provides a voluntary assessment that businesses and local governments can use to focus their sustainable practices. Offered through the University of Florida/IFAS Pinellas County Extension, it encourages conservation of resources, waste reduction, and energy conservation.
  • The State of Florida has no overarching green business certification program, leading places like Miami and Sarasota to develop their own certification programs. It’s worth checking your city or county website to see if they offer resources for green businesses.
  • At the national level, it’s a patchwork. For big businesses, there are business rankings, like Newsweek’s. The methodology behind the rankings has changed in recent years, causing confusion and frustration in the business community. There are certification programs like Green America’s Green Business Network and the Green Business Bureau. These tend to cater to smaller businesses. And there are government certifications, not so much for the businesses themselves as for their products and services: like the USDA Organics program or the Energy Star label.


According to a recent MIT Sloan report, “Joining Forces: Collaboration and Leadership in Sustainability,” collaborations between business and academia, business and government, and even between businesses who normally compete are key to creating a sustainable economy. And green business certification programs are one area where such collaborations can pay off quickly.

Team up and do it

There are many businesses on the path to Green Business Certification right now. Join them, and see your business become a deeper shade of green by year end!