Bay Area Green Business Organizations
Many businesses claim to be green or market their products as environmentally friendly, but how does the consumer know if they are actually supporting a company that is truly eco-friendly?
How do companies that have a double or triple bottom line differentiate themselves from those who see social and environmental issues as a marketing strategy?
How can these businesses network and learn more about running a socially and/or environmentally responsible company?
The San Francisco Bay Area has developed several organizations that certify businesses as green and socially responsible or furnish networking for businesses that are making honest and serious attempts to be as green or socially responsible as possible. Many cities and states have their own green business programs, and Oakland is the home of the Bay Area Green Business Program (BAGBP). The BAGBP verifies that businesses meet certain standards of environmental performance by conducting in depth reviews of business operations. So far, over 1,600 Bay Area businesses have been certified green since 1997 in the nine Bay Area counties. The San Francisco Bay Area is also home to the Green Chamber of Commerce, a center that fosters “the success of businesses committed to environmental and social responsibility.” The Sustainable Business Alliance also has over 250 participating Bay Area businesses. The Sustainable Business Alliance facilitates networking, education, technical services, and partnership opportunities for sustainable Bay Area businesses. San Francisco Green Drinks also makes possible the networking and socializing of area green business professionals. Once a month, environmental professionals get together at 111 Minna to socialize and discuss issues related to the environment. Another sustainable business networking group is EcoTuesday, which is held across the nation and locally in San Francisco on the fourth Tuesday of every month. EcoTuesday gives sustainable business leaders a chance to network and discuss current issues both in person and online.
There are also ways to know that the business you are supporting is socially responsible—look for the B-Corporation certification and you know that the company you are purchasing from has a triple bottom line. In order to be a certified B-Corporation, businesses must go through a series of tests and meet various standards, which are vigorously enforced. A growing number of companies are realizing that social and environmental responsibility is more than just a marketing scheme, it is important for the future that we develop sustainable business practices for the long run.