What It Is
A sustainable business organization promotes and enables sustainability. It serves as a resource for other organizations that are trying to go green.
Why It Matters
Sustainability organizations offer support and resources, which can help your company reach its sustainability goals. Getting involved with a sustainability organization also helps you network with other businesses that are going green. Networking can give you some ideas on how to make your business more sustainable. Furthermore, it can introduce you to potential partners and improve business.
- Research local sustainability organizations.
- Select one that best suits your needs.
- Join up!
A great deal of impact in sustainability can be made at the local level, so look for a sustainability organization in your community. To make your search a little easier, we put together a list of sustainability groups, including a list of notable groups in each state. Click here to check it out.
In addition, don’t miss the organizations in your community involved in Green Plus. Because they are going through (or have gone through) the same process, they may have great ideas, contacts, connections and resources that can help your organization. You can find a list of those involved in Green Plus here.
Finally, your local chamber of commerce or municipal government may have a sustainability committee. This is another great way to get involved locally.
Consider getting involved at the regional, national, or industry level if you want to go further:
Environment Northeast (ENE) – ENE is a non-profit organization that researches and advocates innovative policies. These policies “tackle the region’s environmental challenges while promoting sustainable economies.”
Sustainable Northwest – “Sustainable Northwest brings people, ideas, and innovation together so that nature, local economies, and rural communities can thrive.” Through collaboration, it bridges rural and urban interests, encourages entrepreneurship, and builds trust in sustainable resource management in the western U.S.
Green Chamber of the South – The Green Chamber of the South “[brings] together businesses and organizations across the Southeast to promote growth, innovation, and success of sustainability.”
Green America – This nonprofit organization strives to “harness economic power – the strength of consumers, investors, businesses, and the marketplace -to create a socially just and environmentally sustainable society.”
Green Chamber of Commerce – “The Green Chamber of Commerce is a growing and diverse business network dedicated to promoting the success of its members, supporting the development of sustainable business practices, and advocating for a green public policy.”
US Green Chamber of Commerce – The US Green Chamber “[facilitates and supports] sustainable business, which spurs innovation, job creation, and energy efficiency” for a brighter economic future.
Two communities in Oregon, Burns and John Day, have come together to ensure sustainability in their timber industry, as it is vital to their economic and social well-being. Business leaders, citizens, and local government representatives are collaborating to help the industry thrive without depleting the local Malheur National Forest.
Mark Webb, a Grant County Judge in Oregon, states,
Collaboration is really the only way to work through the legal and legislative frameworks that are currently in place. And it is the best way for rural communities like mine to have a meaningful say and role in public lands management and decision-making.
So far, the communities have seen environmental and economic improvements, as well as improvements in working relationships between stakeholders. For more information on this case, click here.
Resources for More Information
- Sustainability at the Local Level, an interview with Angela Sager from the Office of Sustainability in Miami-Dade County
- ICLEI, a global network of local governments working towards sustainability
- “Local Government Action to Promote Sustainability” by James H. Svara
With its support and resources, a sustainability organization can help your organization achieve its sustainability goals, as well as potentially open up new business relationships. Getting involved at the local level is easy and can also help with networking. If you would like to go further, consider joining a sustainability organization on the regional or national level.
 “About Us,” Environment Northeast, http://www.env-ne.org/About-Us, accessed 8 August 2013.
 “Overview,” Sustainable Northwest, http://www.sustainablenorthwest.org/who-we-are/overview, http://www.sustainablenorthwest.org/who-we-are/overview, accessed 8 August 2013.
 “About the Green Chamber of the South,” Green Chamber of the South, http://www.greencs.org/Default.aspx?pageId=995497, accessed 8 August 2013.
 “About Us,” Green America, http://www.greenamerica.org/about/, accessed 8 August 2013.
 “About,” Green Chamber of Commerce, http://greenchamberofcommerce.net/about/, accessed 8 August 2013.
 “Mission,” US Green Chamber of Commerce, http://www.usgreenchamber.com/mission/, accessed 8 August 2013.
 “Collaborative Forest Management,” Sustainable Northwest, http://www.sustainablenorthwest.org/what-we-do/success-stories/collaboration-on-the-malheur-national-forest, accessed 8 August 2013.