From Allbirds to Rainbow Grocery, San Francisco now has over 350 businesses committed to reducing their carbon footprint.

March 20, 2019. SAN FRANCISCO, CA – At the13th Annual Green Business Awards held at the California Academy of Sciences, 100 local businesses were recognized by the San Francisco Department of Environment for taking steps to implement sustainability practices in their business operations. These 100 “Green Businesses” join an elite group of more than 250 other San Francisco businesses who have made the move to adopt more environmentally friendly business practices. Each recognized business went through a checklist of actions, from improving recycling and composting, to using less toxics products, to reducing water use and improving energy efficiency. 

“We had a record number of businesses make the commitment to going green this year. It’s a reflection of the need for action to protect our planet and proves that what’s good for business can also be good for the environment,” said Debbie Raphael, Director of the San Francisco Department of Environment. “I congratulate our newly certified businesses for stepping up to address climate change and thank them for being role models for their industries.” 

This year’s honored local businesses reflect a range of industries and business types as well as San Francisco neighborhoods. They include retail shops like Cole Hardware and Luca Food Deli & Wine shop, hotels like the Sheraton Fisherman’s Wharf and the Chancellor Hotel, as well as architectural offices, non-profits, caterers, restaurants, janitorial companies, and engineering firms.

"This is a huge honor for us, and enables and encourages us to continue to prioritize environmentally aware choices,” said Sarah Kennedy of Rainbow Grocery. “We are a predominantly vegetarian grocer with a mission statement that stipulates a commitment to providing organic products, bulk buying, promoting alternative transportation and reducing, reusing, and recycling since 1975. This award reminds us we are a part of a growing green business community!"

Since 2006, San Francisco’s Green Business certification program has helped hundreds of San Francisco businesses save money through lower utility bills while helping to improve employee wellness and productivity. Businesses that complete the program enjoy a marketing edge over their peers through public recognition by the Department of Environment on the City’s Green Business website. They also receive a special seal to display in their storefront or in their business to showcase their green business status to customers or visitors.

"Canyon Market joined the SF Green Business program to deepen our existing environmental commitments,” said Rachel Ross of Canyon Market, a neighborhood full-service grocery of Glen Park. “The Green Business program motivates and inspires us to improve our performance. Just in the last year, we have adopted more packaging that is either made with less plastic or is compostable, installed more LED lighting, and increased staff training about proper sorting."

The Department of the Environment provides hands-on technical assistance to local businesses to help them meet the program’s criteria, which include energy efficiency upgrades, water conservation, waste reduction, and the use of low-toxic products. To get started in the program, businesses only need to submit a no-cost application at Once an application is submitted, a Department of Environment staff member will follow up with the applicant. Businesses must recertify every few years.

“We have a long history of environmental initiatives from the use of alternative fuels to best practices such as green purchasing policies, conservation, recycling, employee rideshare benefits and more,” said Joe Burgard, President of Red and White Fleet. “We are also partners in building the world’s first commercial hydrogen fuel cell vessel scheduled for operation by the fall of 2019. The Green Business Program has provided us access to additional resources, increased visibility of our efforts, and validates our vision to operate a zero emission fleet.”

The 13th Annual Green Business Awards ceremony took place at the California Academy of Sciences and included a green business expo featuring a number of this year’s certified businesses. Supervisors Sandra Lee Fewer (District 1), Gordon Mar (District 4), Ahsha Safai (District 11) along with Hana Kajimura, Sustainability Manager of Allbirds, and Department of Environment Director Debbie Raphael offered remarks to the attendees before the awards presentation.

To see the complete list of San Francisco Green Businesses and to learn more about the Green Business certification program, visit

View more photos from the event on Facebook, courtesy of Orange Photography