Green Business Screening 101: How to Earn the Green America Seal of Approval


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Some of you may have heard about our business screening process, but don't know how to get started. Others may have started the process, but can't quite seem to finish. Now is the time to submit your application if you want to be eligible for a listing in the 2011 National Green Pages. The deadline for consideration in our signature publication is May 14th, 2010.

Don't fret -- we'll help you do it through this "Screening 101" conversation with our Senior Researcher and Screening Director. They will walk you through the application, offer the Top 5 helpful hints, and answer your burning questions.

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Green Business Screening 101: How to Earn the Green America Seal of Approval

  1. 2. Introducing Rebecca Shaloff, Screening Director Tish Kashani, Senior Researcher
  2. 3. Overview <ul><li>Green America’s Green Business Network </li></ul><ul><li>Seal of Approval – the what, when, why & wear </li></ul><ul><li>Screening Application: a guided tour </li></ul><ul><li>Top 5 Helpful Hints </li></ul><ul><li>Q&A </li></ul><ul><li>Make the most out of your Green Pages listing </li></ul>
  3. 4. Green America’s Green Business & Green Economy Programs: Green Business Network Business Seal Of Approval National Green Pages Green Festivals Green Business Conferences Business Advertising Guides Consumer and Investor Outreach Corporate Responsibility Programs
  4. 5. The Green Business Network <ul><li>Our mission is to work with businesses everywhere to grow a green economy that’s good for people and the planet. </li></ul><ul><li>We are a vibrant community </li></ul><ul><li>of over 4,000 businesses committed to creating </li></ul><ul><li>a better world. </li></ul>
  5. 6. Green Business Network Membership Opportunities <ul><ul><li>There’s a place for everyone </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>on the green journey. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Associate Members </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>An incubator for companies just starting and just </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>starting to go green. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Approved Members </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A space for established green companies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>to access Green America’s consumer and business audiences. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Green Economy Allies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A dedicated category for nonprofits, educational </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>institutions, and peer certification programs. </li></ul></ul>
  6. 7. <ul><li>“ Through our Green America screening, we were able to create and enhance a code of conduct for ourselves. It allows us to operate more proactively and with more control, making sure the things that we do are in line with our values.” </li></ul><ul><li>Stephanie Bernstein </li></ul><ul><li>Founder and CEO, To-Go Ware </li></ul>
  7. 8. <ul><li>Integrity </li></ul><ul><li>Green America has been educating, evaluating, promoting and celebrating “green” since 1982 – well before it became a buzzword. </li></ul><ul><li>Inclusivity </li></ul><ul><li>One of the only trustmarks in the marketplace that stands for both social and environmental criteria. </li></ul><ul><li>Holistic </li></ul><ul><li>An examination of the entire company’s practices and policies and not just an individual product. </li></ul><ul><li>Automatic Audience </li></ul><ul><li>Green America is home to both the Green Business Network and a consumer membership comprised of over 120,000 households. </li></ul>Seal of Approval: How is it different?
  8. 9. Seal of Approval: Partnerships <ul><li>GenGreen Digital Media </li></ul><ul><li>and Find Green app </li></ul><ul><li>World of Good, an eBay marketplace </li></ul><ul><li>Good Guide </li></ul><ul><li>Green Bride Guide </li></ul>
  9. 11. <ul><li>Website </li></ul><ul><li>Business Cards </li></ul><ul><li>Letterhead </li></ul><ul><li>Signs </li></ul><ul><li>Brochures </li></ul><ul><li>Posters </li></ul>Seal of Approval: Where to ‘Wear’ It
  10. 15. <ul><li>Join the Green Business Network at A Listing Application will be sent to your inbox. This initiates the screening process. </li></ul><ul><li>The application, along with information gathered by our screening staff through research and interviews, is reviewed by Green America’s Screening Committee. </li></ul><ul><li>The committee may either approve the company, deny the application, or ask the Screening staff to gather additional information if questions or concerns remain. </li></ul><ul><li>If approved , a company is listed in both the online and next print edition of the National Green Pages ™, authorized to use our Seal of Approval, eligible for advertising in our popular green consumer publications, and invited to exhibit at the Green Festivals and online World of Good sales platform. </li></ul><ul><li>If a company is not approved , it will be welcomed as an Associate member and be able to save on essential business services, access our social networking site, receive subscriptions to our educational resources, and more. </li></ul>Seal of Approval: How to Get It.
  11. 16. <ul><li>Step 1: Basic Information (ALL) </li></ul><ul><li>Step 2: If business offers services </li></ul><ul><li>Step 3: If business offers products </li></ul><ul><li>Step 4: Listing Form (ALL) </li></ul>The Application
  12. 17. <ul><li>B. Basic Information </li></ul><ul><li>3. What is your company’s ownership structure (check all that apply): </li></ul><ul><li>Privately-held ____ </li></ul><ul><li>Publicly-held _____ </li></ul><ul><li>Fully-owned subsidiary of __________________ </li></ul><ul><li>Partially-owned subsidiary of ____________________ </li></ul><ul><li>A division of a larger company _____________________ </li></ul><ul><li>Union workplace (local _______________) </li></ul><ul><li>Cooperative _____ </li></ul><ul><li>Non-profit _____ </li></ul><ul><li>Worker-owned _____ </li></ul><ul><li>Multi-level marketing company _____ </li></ul><ul><li>Other ________________________________ </li></ul><ul><li>5. What is the greatest challenge you face currently in developing your business? </li></ul><ul><li>Narrative: </li></ul><ul><li>1. Describe how workers in your company have a voice in the company’s operations and policies. </li></ul>Step 1
  13. 18. <ul><li>Environment </li></ul><ul><li>3. From what countries do you source ingredients and/or products? </li></ul><ul><li>4. Describe the environmental considerations reflected in the sourcing of any ingredients </li></ul><ul><li>or products. This should include a list of specific criteria you apply and how you verify. </li></ul><ul><li>B. Labor </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Describe the labor considerations reflected in the sourcing of your company’s ingredients and/or products. This should include a list of specific criteria you apply (including work hours, wages, health benefits, worker voice, paid leave, etc) for suppliers. This information is vital for any product, even when sourcing in the US. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide a complete list of the countries in which your product(s) is produced and list the specific labor criteria you use in choosing manufacturers (including work hours, wages, safety, health benefits, worker voice, paid leave, ongoing verification, etc.). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>3. For both the sourcing of ingredients and/or products and production, what verifications do you rely on to ensure fair labor standards (i.e., third party verification, regular visits, company staff in country or on site)? Please provide specifics. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>C. Customers </li></ul><ul><li>Steps you take on behalf of the customer: </li></ul><ul><li>Appropriate disclaimers on Web site _____ </li></ul><ul><li>Disclosure of all ingredients on Web site _____ </li></ul><ul><li>Disclosure of all ingredients on packaging _____ </li></ul>Step 3
  14. 19. <ul><li>5. Confirm eligibility prior to submitting your application. </li></ul><ul><li>Gather information from and about your suppliers and vendors before sitting down to complete the application. </li></ul><ul><li>Respond to our additional questions as quickly as possible. </li></ul><ul><li>2. Use examples, especially in the narrative sections. </li></ul><ul><li>1. Be sure to answer questions fully and honestly. </li></ul>5 Helpful Hints
  15. 20. <ul><li>To qualify to carry the Seal of Approval, companies‘ </li></ul><ul><li>representatives must demonstrate that they: </li></ul><ul><li>Actively use their businesses as tools for positive social change; </li></ul><ul><li>Run &quot;values-driven&quot; enterprises that operate according to principles of social justice and environmental sustainability; </li></ul><ul><li>Are socially and environmentally responsible in the way they source, manufacture, and market their products and run their offices and factories; </li></ul><ul><li>Are committed to developing and employing extraordinary practices that benefit workers, customers, communities, and the environment. </li></ul><ul><li>Are able to demonstrate that they stand out from the rest in their fields or industries in terms of social/environmental responsibility; and </li></ul><ul><li>Are holistic, intentional, and transparent in their approach to social/environmental responsibility. </li></ul>Standards & Criteria: In General
  16. 21. <ul><li>Product/Service </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Product Quality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cruelty-free </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Waste reduction </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Organic and environmental safety </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Packaging </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Energy usage </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Promotes health and positive education to consumers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Production & Distribution Processes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ingredients are grown/harvested using environmentally sustainable practices </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Company uses socially and environmentally responsible practices </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sourcing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Protection of the biosphere </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Workplace </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Safe for employees / healthy working conditions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fair labor practices </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Workplace ecology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Transparency/Openness </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Community/Society </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Overall Transparency / openness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Community Impact </li></ul></ul>Standards & Criteria: Cross-Industry
  17. 22. <ul><li>If you are a body or personal care company – </li></ul><ul><li>Baseline Standards </li></ul><ul><ul><li>May not include any of the following: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>phthalates such as DBP, DEP, DEHP, BBzP, and DMP </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>chemicals ending or containing “sulfate” or “sulfosuccinate” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>parabens or paraben preservatives; (chemicals ending in methyl, propyl, butyl, and ethyl) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>petroleum variations including: mineral oil, petrolatum, paraffin </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>PG or sodium laurel sulfate </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>any ingredient of 7 and above on EWG list </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>nitrosamines (a group of potent carcinogens) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>animal-derived ingredients </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>synthetic alcohols, fragrances, and dyes. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No nanotechnology – Precautionary Principle </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Agree to or signatory of Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (submitted ingredients) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No animal testing and/or acquired Leaping Bunny cruelty-free certification </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>List ingredients online and on label/product </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Scented with natural essential oils; discussion of synthetics dangers on website </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No chlorine bleaching </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use of unbleached and recycled tissues and toilet paper. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use of organic cotton balls, swabs, and tampons. </li></ul></ul>Standards & Criteria: Industry-Specific
  18. 23. <ul><li>If you are a clothing company – </li></ul><ul><li>Baseline Standards </li></ul><ul><li>In reviewing a company, we are looking at the whole picture and how </li></ul><ul><li>these standards play out. However, these are our principles: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Produced using certified organic, reclaimed/recycled fibers or other sustainable material such as hemp or bamboo </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sweatshop-free/fair labor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Full disclosure, including sourcing criteria of manufacturing processes – where, what conditions, benefits, oversight, labor certifications (SA 8000, Aa1000) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Carbon offsets or investigation of such options </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Transparency around animal derivatives </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Preferences </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Dyes - Natural or low-impact; fiber reactive; phosphate-free </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Full disclosure, including sourcing criteria of manufacturing processes – where, what conditions, benefits, oversight, labor certifications (SA 8000, Aa1000) – on website </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fair Trade, Union label, or small independent US wholesaler/retailer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Water-based adhesives </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use recycled clothing from thrift or second-hand stores </li></ul></ul>Standards & Criteria: Industry-Specific
  19. 24. <ul><li>If you are a consulting / PR company – </li></ul><ul><li>Baseline </li></ul><ul><ul><li>At least 50% of revenues must come from sustainable businesses. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Work with clients that are not green businesses is around sustainability or “eco-consulting” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Does not engage in green-washing or “paid for blogging” (misrepresenting itself as “passionate customer” of client) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Does not knowingly engage in misrepresentation of client products and company information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Discussion of green values and benefit/advantage on website </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Preferences </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A clear statement of ethics on website. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pro-bono work offered for community organizations. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Has list of recommended green businesses for clients/customers for a variety of services. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can talk knowledgeably to clients about paper use for all business products. </li></ul></ul>Standards & Criteria: Industry-Specific
  20. 25. <ul><ul><li>If you have very specific questions, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>pertaining only to your application or company, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>please contact Tish at 202-872-5338 or </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do you have a question about the screening application or process? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Where else would you like to wear the Seal? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Would you like to see the Seal on products? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How else do you want the Green Business Network to offer you visibility or credibility in the year ahead? </li></ul></ul>Your Questions
  21. 26. National Green Pages ™ : How to Stand Out <ul><ul><li>Every company that earns the Seal of Approval will receive a FREE 25 word listing in the Green Pages, print and online at . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interested in a display ad or sponsorship opportunities in our signature publication? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contact Dennis at 202-872-5336 or [email_address] </li></ul></ul>
  22. 29. Thank You. 1612 K St., NW, Suite 600 Washington, D.C. 20006 202-872-5330