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Austin Green Business Leaders

Sustainability Spotlight: Green Business Leaders Program in Austin, TX

How Austin Brings Sustainable Businesses Together

For businesses that are looking for ways to go green in their day-to-day operations, the City of Austin's Office of Sustainability offers the Austin Green Business Leaders program. Representing over 39,000 employees, the program includes 220 green businesses from 10 different categories, ranging from offices, warehouses and small retailers to schools, hotels and restaurants. Businesses are invited to download a scorecard that can be used to evaluate seven key areas of their business: energy conservation, water conservation, zero waste, healthy work environment, transportation, community stewardship and communications.

Participating in the program can help build your business’s ecofriendly reputation, while also promoting sustainable living within the community. Working together toward a waste reduction goal, the program offers Austin businesses opportunities to collaborate and even increase local brand recognition.

“Members of The Green Business Program can be anyone from a home-run business to Dell. We’re looking at how they run their business, as opposed to what type of business it is.”

Mary Priddy | Austin Green Business Leaders Program

What Is a Green Business?

A green business is any organization that operates in a way that minimizes their environmental impact, enhances the community and maintains a healthy workplace. Typically, green businesses implement one or all of these activities into their practices:

  • Making sustainable business decisions.
  • Offering eco-friendly products and services.
  • Using green alternatives to wasteful or harmful practices.
  • Working to reduce waste and overall environmental impact.

What Are the Benefits for Participating Green Businesses?

By diverting waste, it’s likely that you will save money on trash collection. Plus, your eco-friendly reputation can also help to attract new customers or clients. On top of that, green business practices can even increase potential employees’ desire to work for you. According to the 2016 Cone Communications Millennial Employee Engagement Study, 88 percent of millennials surveyed say their job is more fulfilling when they have the opportunity to make a positive social and environmental impact.

Participating businesses also receive:

  • An electronic logo for your site and online marketing materials.
  • Website listings for Gold and Platinum Leaders.
  • Letter and certificate to showcase.
  • Employee recycling training.
  • Networking opportunities.
  • Door decals.

How Does the Austin Green Business Leader Program Work?

Participating in the program is free. While completed scorecards are only accepted in January and February each year, they can be downloaded anytime, and many businesses have found that it can be a helpful tool to use in their strategic planning around sustainability. To join the green business community, simply fill out the online form and download the Green Business Scorecard, which acts as a step-by-step guide to greening your organization. After you submit your scorecard in January or February, a member of the Green Business Leader team will contact you to schedule a brief meeting and review your information. Next, you and your employees will receive on-site recycling education to help maintain your environmental responsibility.

What Other Ways Are Green Businesses Celebrated? 

Participants can be formally recognized as Silver, Gold or Platinum Green Business Leaders, which can give you a competitive advantage with your customers. On top of that, the Austin Green Business Leaders team is on your side to spread the word about your business.

“We like to get the word out about our 220 green business leaders in the program and let folks know that they’re out there. If this business has a sustainable practice that’s important to you, hopefully that will sway your decision to work with them.”

Mary Priddy | Austin Green Business Leaders Program

Along with promotion of your business, you’ll receive invitations to exclusive networking events, including an orientation event for new members. You can also highlight your ecofriendly achievements on your website and social media channels. For example, every year, green businesses have the opportunity to participate in the Green Cup Challenge – a competition where businesses use the City of Austin’s ReThink app to track their waste diversion rates for one week. The business that diverts the most waste takes the cup!

The Austin Green Business Leader Program is just one part of the City of Austin Sustainability Office’s efforts – which range from green building and establishing EcoDistricts to their Bright Green Future School Grants, a program designed to support school-based sustainability projects.

At, we are pleased to see Austin businesses work together to reduce waste throughout the community. To learn more about Austin’s green initiatives, check out The City of Austin’s Office of Sustainability page. And for more ways to reduce waste, visit the Sustainability section of our blog.

How is your city or business going green? Share your sustainability stories in the comments below.

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