What’s the process for getting certified

Our Sustainable Business Certification is fast, easy and free. Find out what you’re already doing and get expert advice about what to work on next. Find out what level of certification you qualify for.

You don’t have to be perfect to get certified. You’ll learn a lot just by reviewing the questions and you’re probably doing more than you think.

Go to www.SustainabilityCertifications.org and follow the instructions.

NOTE: At this time, the certification is primarily for organizations in the Verde Valley, Arizona. If you want to implement this certification in your community outside this region, contact us.

How does sustainability improve competitiveness?

Sustainability benefits organizations in many ways:

  • Engages employees

  • Builds your reputation

  • Attracts the LOHAS market (lifestyles of health and sustainability), in particular Baby Boomers and Millennials.

  • Reduces wasted resources (water, energy, solid waste) and associated costs

  • Improves business foresight

  • Reduces environmental and social risks

Presentation: 7 Ways Sustainability Helps Business 
Presentation: 6 Questions for Sustainable Entrepreneurs 

How will it help my business?

Just by going through the self-assessment, you will discover what you are already doing and what more you can do. Getting certified brings you special marketing benefits and access to special events.

What does it cost and how long does it take?

Becoming certified is currently free. We don’t want any barriers to organizations becoming more sustainable. It typically takes less than 30 minutes to complete the self-assessment and once you submit it for review, we follow that up with an hour interview.

How long is the certification good for?

You should recertify every three years to get credit for your improvements and continue to use the badges.

What if I made significant changes before the year is up and think I could earn a higher level of certification?

Take the certification again - no charge.

How do customers know the certifications are accurate?

The claims certified businesses make will be available to the public. If customers or competitors notify us of an inaccurate claim, the business will be given 60 days to correct the problem or have its certification stripped.

What if I have more than one location or facility?

Certify each location separately unless their management and facility are similar. If you have a large, complex organization, we recommend inviting key members of your staff to a meeting to go through the assessment together with our facilitator.

What if my business is certified in another program?

We want to know about it. However, no other certification is based on a scientific framework and goes to full sustainability. So you will learn a lot by going through ours.

Why did the Sustainability Alliance create its own certification?

Most certifications are, in our view, weak. "You recycle, great, you're a certified green business!" Or they are too onerous and expensive. We could find no other existing certification was easy and fast, based on hard science, provided levels of performance, included social as well as environmental issues and went to full sustainability.

What is this certification based on?

The Natural Step's four principles or system conditions were developed by scientists. They describe the conditions for a fully sustainable society. Paraphrased, they call on businesses to:

  • Move away from or close the loop on non-renewable resources and energy

  • Move away from or close the loop on toxic materials and pollution (especially persistent bioaccumulative toxins).

  • Preserve and restore critical ecosystems and their functions (eg, cleaning air and water, creating renewable resources like fish and lumber)

  • Address human needs (for employees, customers, the local communities and suppliers)