San Francisco Celebrates New Milestone In Green Business Program

Nearly 150 businesses attained certifications for their environmental leadership and commitment to sustainable practices

San Francisco, CA – Mayor London N. Breed and the San Francisco Environment Department today announced a remarkable milestone for the San Francisco Green Business Program after 147 businesses certifications were awarded this year between July 2022 and March 2024, making it one of the largest number of businesses to join the Program since its inception over 20 years ago.

In 2023 alone, San Francisco’s Green Businesses made substantial environmental contributions by saving over 1 million gallons of water and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 264,000 pounds. This reduction in emissions is comparable to removing the carbon dioxide equivalent absorbed by around 140 acres of U.S. forests in a single year. Such significant savings highlight the collective impact of local businesses on the global environment.

“Today, as we recognize a record number of business certifications through our City’s Green Business Program, we're not just celebrating their achievements but also their commitment to a sustainable future that everyone benefits from,” said Mayor London Breed. “These businesses, from neighborhood boutiques to major corporations, exemplify the spirit of innovation and responsibility that defines San Francisco. For Small Business Week, let’s support these local leaders making significant strides in environmental stewardship and proving that what is good for the planet is also good for business.”

Since the San Francisco Environment Department launched the City’s program in 2004, the Green Business Program has certified a total of 907 businesses throughout the City. The businesses honored have taken key environmental actions to ensure the health and safety of their customers, employees, and planet. Some measures include using fewer toxic products, saving water and energy, reducing waste, and improving indoor air quality.    

“Every Green Business awardee is an inspiring trailblazer, weaving sustainability into their operations and culture,” said Tyrone Jue, San Francisco Environment Department Director. “This record-setting group of honorees is igniting a vital movement, showcasing that going green not only benefits the planet, but bolsters a thriving business.”

The San Francisco Green Business Program is a part of the California Green Business Network, which collectively supports and recognizes businesses, non-profit organizations, and institutions in San Francisco that meet high environmental standards. Certified Green Businesses in San Francisco include the Exploratorium, Cal Academy, Oracle Park, Chase Center, Bi-Rite, Cole Hardware, and The Fillmore.

Specific to this year’s certification pool, most notably, includes the San Francisco Marriott Marquis in the South of Market, making it the largest certified Green Business in the City and third largest in the State. The Axiom Hotel, Inn at the Presidio, and Lodge at the Presidio also achieved Green Business certifications this year, as well as a renewed certification of the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins. Other still-recognized Green Businesses in the hospitality industry from prior years include the Proper Hotel, Omni San Francisco, W San Francisco, St. Regis San Francisco, Argonaut Hotel, Hotel Zoe Fisherman's Wharf, and the Laurel Inn by Hyatt.  

“These record-breaking certifications from San Francisco’s hospitality community showcase our commitment to sustainability and our environmental leadership nationally,” said Alex Bastian, President & CEO of the San Francisco Hotel Council. “San Francisco’s hospitality community is the only one in the country making good faith efforts around using 100% renewable energy, providing significant access to electric vehicle charging options, and striving to achieve zero waste. We work collaboratively with our city partners balancing the need for sustainability, with the need for businesses to be successful. For the environmentally conscious traveler, there’s no better place to visit in the country than San Francisco.”

During the Mayor’s Earth Month Kick-off on April 3, Mayor Breed recognized Frances Yee of Dee Dee’s Boutique for becoming the first-ever certified Green Business in Chinatown’s history, serving as yet another key milestone for the Program.

Additionally, San Francisco has uniquely helped three local nail salons achieve Green Business certification this year making them the first and only certified nail salons across the State of California. The businesses are The Upper Hand Nail Spa in Noe Valley, Gentle Nails Salon in the Inner Sunset, and Valencia Nail Spa in the Mission. The success of these new certifications in the nail salon industry is due to the decade of experience the Environment Department has had in helping salons adopt safer products and practices through its Healthy Nail Salon Program. The Green Business certification helps these salons take their sustainability efforts to the next level, incorporating water, energy, and waste-saving measures while continuing to protect their workers.

“The San Francisco Green Business Program is as much of an environmental program as it is a small business assistance program,” said Katy Tang, Director of the Office of Small Business. “Since SF Environment launched the rebate and pre-bate program in 2019, they have distributed $50,000 in resources to 50 businesses to help them implement their sustainability improvements. Small businesses are the backbone of our neighborhoods, and this kind of essential assistance helps these businesses thrive—sustainably.”

Since 2021 when Little Joe’s Pizza, the iconic pizzeria in San Francisco’s Excelsior District, was recognized as a Green Business, they have continued to use sustainable practices like low-flow water fixtures and green cleaning products and have improved their composting and recycling program. When the restaurant made the decision to switch out its interior lighting, the Green Business Program paid for the upfront cost of replacing 50 halogen bulbs, helping Little Joe’s save an estimated $1,500 per year in energy costs. These measures provide a compelling and measurable example for how new businesses can reduce environmental impacts, while also saving critical dollars.

In its earliest days, the San Francisco Green Business program was focused primarily on helping businesses become energy efficient to save money and assist the city in meeting its bold zero emissions and zero waste goals. While that is still the case today, the program is constantly evolving to provide businesses, especially small businesses, with the support they need to operate sustainability. This includes rebate and pre-bate programs to minimize or eliminate the burden of going green and working with community-based organizations to reach small businesses in the Bayview, Hunters Point, Excelsior, and lower Fillmore neighborhoods.  

The California Green Business Network has developed more than 30 unique sector checklists providing guidelines for a variety of businesses to conserve resources, build healthy communities, and save money. Businesses can be recognized at three levels: Entry-level, Certified, and Innovator. These three options help businesses take the next step on their sustainability journey no matter where it begins.  

To learn more about becoming certified or supporting a local San Francisco Green Business, visit

Contact information

Mayor Breed Press: