The 2016 cohort of certified San Francisco Green Businesses with their awards. 

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Yesterday, the San Francisco Department of Environment recognized 71 local businesses as Green Businesses for taking steps to implement sustainability practices in their business operations These 71 businesses join an elite group of more than 200 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 utilizing less toxics products, to reducing water use and improving energy efficiency.

“San Francisco’s green businesses are truly leading by example,” said Debbie Raphael, Director of the San Francisco Department of Environment. “They are going the extra mile to protect the environment in the face of climate change and, in many ways, are trailblazers in their respective industries. I thank them for the public commitment they have made at a time when taking action to protect our planet is more important than ever.” 

This year’s honored local businesses reflect a range of industries and business types as well as San Francisco neighborhoods. They include cultural attractions like the Fillmore Theater and Aquarium of the Bay, restaurants like American Grilled Cheese Kitchen and the Perennial, as well as architectural offices, banks, janitorial companies, and engineering firms.

 “Our green businesses are changing business as usual in San Francisco. They are showing us that you can care for your customers as much as you do the planet,” said Supervisor Jane Kim, who represents District 6 on the Board of Supervisors which includes the Tenderloin, South of Market, and Mission Bay neighborhoods. “I’m proud that 25 of the 71 certified businesses are in my District. They are taking actions that reach beyond just the South of Market or the Tenderloin and affect the entire city.”

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 (www.sfgreenbusiness.org). 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.

"We've made environmental sustainability central to our business, not only in the food we serve, but also in how we operate our restaurant behind the scenes,” said Karen Leibowitz, co-founder of The Perennial. “Becoming a certified Green Business helped us push our sustainability efforts further, as we switched to even greener cleaning and paper products." 

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 www.GreenBusinessCA.org. Once an application is submitted, a Department of Environment staff member will follow up with the applicant.  Of this year’s 71 business certifications, half are recertifications. Businesses must recertify every few years.

“Sustainability is at the core of our mission. San Francisco’s Green Business certification helped us institutionalize sustainability in our operations,” said Carrie Chen of the Aquarium of the Bay. “We’ve already seen the results with a reduced carbon footprint, which is why we chose to recertify last year.”

This year’s awards ceremony took place at Autodesk Gallery at One Market Street, and included a green business expo featuring a number of this year’s certified businesses. State Senator Scott Wiener and Debbie Raphael, Director of the San Francisco Department of Environment, offered remarks before the awards presentation.

“Climate change affects us all, and if we are going to make strides towards addressing it, it really does require all of us,” said Debbie Raphael. “I congratulate this year’s green businesses on their achievement and showing us how small actions can make a big difference.” 

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

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