Certifiably Green » How it Works

About Certification

Although the idea of making your business greener may seem difficult or costly, it does not need to be - in fact, going green can save you money. SBNOW's “Certifiably Green” program will help you identify cost-effective ways to reduce your environmental impact. In many cases, those efforts can and will save you money over the long term.

Certification is measured on a four star rating system, with one Star representing the minimum requirements to get certified and Four Stars being the highest level of achievement.  A minimum percentage of available points must be earned for a business to be ‘Certified' or, in other words, to receive the basic level of certification.

Below is a breakdown of the number of points for each area the certification covers.


# of Points



Required % of Available Points

Water Conservation & Quality




Energy Efficiency & Climate Action


** 50%

Environmentally Friendly Procurement


*** 60%

Waste Reduction and Recycling


**** 75%

Pollution Prevention


Green Training, Education & Benefits




Achieving the minimum criteria described in each section is mandatory for certification. In addition, if there are other measures that you believe will contribute to obtaining the point(s) in question, we encourage you to submit them. Many sections allows for ‘Innovative Measures' that can be submitted for consideration to fulfill the requirements.

Achieving four-star (****) level certification is a challenge. Frankly, it is meant to be.  Organizations can achieve this standard only if they earn 75% of total points and meet the targets outlined in each section. Though this may require more work in the beginning, the savings achieved over time, as well as the lessened impact on the environment and increased recognition will outweigh the initial investment.

SB NOW will recognize the businesses that have achieved one of the above rating levels with a formal letter of certification, a press release template that can be customized for distribution, listing on our website and in all program outreach materials.

Because each business's operations are unique, not all measures will apply to all businesses.  For example, some businesses have control over their water heating supply and distribution, while others do not.  Therefore, it is up to you to provide SB NOW with a list of available points from all of those on the checklist that are relevant to your business operations.   This is accomplished by completing the Certification Score Card, a process which requires the assistance of an SBNOW approved eco-assessor.  Upon completing this preliminary review, you will be able to establish the level of certification you are targeting based on an assessment of those points your company is already engaged in, those that would be easily obtained and those that you would like to pursue given your limited resources and time.

Business conditions and operations can change over time.  Consequently, businesses that obtain the certification will be required to renew their certification one year after they have been certified and assuming that all is in good order, every two years thereafter.  The reason for this is that during the first year, certification is granted based on projected outcomes and commitments made at the time a Company is certified.   SBNOW recognizes that due to the specific business constraints and given the nature of the accounting and budgeting cycle, the certification period could be unmanageable and possibly delay the process of taking action all together.  

Accordingly, you must submit a ‘status update' form that lists any changes to the current state that may impact your Certification status. During this time, businesses can also apply for additional points to raise their certification status, if they have taken certain actions to meet additional criteria outlined during the Coaching or Certification portion of the process.  Certain key documents will need to be updated and a site visit will be required by SB NOW to verify maintenance and/or upgrading of certification level.

Because environmental impact of each of these actions differs by the type of business, size, and other factors, the various measures have not been weighed by total level of pollution created, level of local or global impact, etc.  Therefore, it is up to each business to examine current operations, and the resulting environmental impacts, and use this as input into deciding which measures are most appropriate for your business and will have the greatest return - for society and for your organization. 

For more information

Contact us at 202.370.1333 ext. 901

or email us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

For more information on the eco-assessment

Contact Eco-Coach at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 571-275-7700

Getting Started

To be certified as a Green Business, you must:

  • Comply with all applicable local and national environmental regulations
  • Apply for certification
  • Submit the required documentation
  • Pay the appropriate fees
  • Meet the minimum criteria identified
  • Allow a site visit to verify that your organization meets the minimum criteria

Step 1: Your Company registers with SBNOW to get certified. This requires a non-refundable deposit and makes available your scorecard along with the latest sample submittals designed to assist in preparing your required documentation.

Step 2:  Your Company has 30 days to meet with an SBNOW accredited eco-assessor in order to fill out your Company's scorecard and submit it to SBNOW. This initial design meeting should include your company's "Green Team".  The Green Team is made up of those individuals within your organization that have the authority to make decisions and influences "buy in" on a company-wide basis. 

Note that individuals selected to be on this team will be responsibility for successful completion of certification and therefore should be able to ensure that decisions made within Team discussions are able to be executed on.   Although it is not a requirement of the process for companies to engage in an eco-assessment throughout the entire certification process, they must have their initial scorecard reviewed and submitted by an SBNOW accredited eco-consultant. 

As part of the scorecard submittal the company provides an estimate to SBNOW on when they expect to complete their full certification requirements.  Typically this is anywhere from three to six months.  Once the Company has provided SBNOW with this target date, SBNOW will schedule onsite verification.

Step 3:  Once the Scorecard is received by SBNOW, the Candidate Company will be provided with additional tools and sample documentation to assist them in the process.

Step 4:  Once all documentation has been received and is complete, SBNOW will schedule an on- site verification of the Company's Certification status.


facebook-32x32 linkedin-32x32 twitter-32x32

Capitol Image
Riverboat Image
Flowers Image

What's New?

  • You Don't -- and Can't -- 'Control' Your Brand
     by John Friedman
  • A Lesson in Ethics From the Olympic Games
    In business, as in sports and life, how we play the game matters.
  • Corporate & Workplace Reputation: Be Authentic
  • Philanthropy Mindset Is Hampering Sustainability

    Are we so busy helping others to build their sustainability (environmental, social and economic) pillars ...

  • Sustainability Marketing Needs 'Here's How' Not 'Just Say No'

    Telling customers what they can't have will send them elsewhere. Earn their trust and educate ...