What is Southwestern Pennsylvania Sustainable Business Compact?

Sustainability is becoming a top business priority in the Pittsburgh region.  

The Southwestern Pennsylvania Sustainable Business Compact is a commitment and performance platform that provides a credible and rigorous pathway for businesses to advance and publically demonstrate their corporate sustainability achievements.

The SWPA Sustainable Business Compact provides an opportunity for SWPA businesses to voluntarily engage in sustainability actions that simultaneously advance their organizational mission, the environment, and the social fabric of their communities. Business organizations that incorporate sustainable practices into their operations and commit to a regional sustainability orientation stand out as valuable contributors to SWPA’s sustainable development and are more competitive and prosperous, as has been documented by several leading business studies. As more businesses apply sustainability in their operations and community responsibility, the cumulative benefits of sustainable practices produce a stronger SWPA region poised to thrive and continue its legacy of innovation.


What is involved with joining the Compact?

At increasing levels of sustainable performance, the Compact involves:

  1. Self-assessing a company’s operational performance according to the levels of sustainability practices reviewed in the form of the Compact checklist that follows.
  2. Providing substantiation to support self-assessment (partially at Leader level and fully at Champion level).
  3. Identifying the sustainability issues most important to the business (and its industry type) with assessment of how the company compares to sustainability leaders in its field and plans to either remain a leader or become so. This requirement is only for the highest (Champion) category of achievement)

Businesses that complete the assessment (and qualify for one of the three levels) will be publically recognized as a participant of the SWPA Sustainable Business Compact reflecting their level of performance and may use the designation in their own reporting and communications.

SWPA Sustainable Business Compact Levels of Achievement


  • Some Sustainability Goals
  • Some Sustainability Performance Measures
  • Some Sustainability Expertise
  • Some Operational Practices
  • Long + Short Term Goals


  • Sustainability Goals
  • Sustainability Measurement/Evaluation
  • Sustainability Polices
  • Sustainability Operational Practices
  • Growing Sustainability Expertise/Recognition
  • Increasing Transparency


  • Sustainability Pervasive Throughout Practice
  • Sustainability Part of Strategy and Culture
  • Extensive Sustainability Expertise/Recognition
  • Regional Sustainability Goals
  • Full Transparency
  • Focus on Highest Impacts of Firm

Why have a Compact?

A Compact offers a common set of conventions, based upon market-selected practices and peer-reviewed expert knowledge, that reflect the evolving market for sustainable business activity in the SWPA regional market.

A business enjoys triple bottom line benefits by focusing on the sustainability of its operations, on its products and services, and on the sustainability of the people and resources in the surrounding community. The sustainability of a business comes about through the development of organizational capacities that align with goals and achieve performance for the organization, the community of which it is a part, and the environment that supports both.

Benefits of Participating

Sustainable businesses have a competitive advantage and build a vibrant region.
  • Prioritize growth of quality jobs
  • Emphasize excellent treatment and development of employees
  • Support communities
  • Practice ethically and transparently
  • Improve environmental quality
  • Engage stakeholders
  • Honor diversity
  • Create products and services that serve customers and the common good
By participating in the Sustainable Business Compact, companies:
  • Achieve higher performance and better financial outcomes
  • Improve capacity for innovation
  • Attract talent and customers
  • Save money by reducing waste, energy, and water
  • Reduce litigation and regulatory exposure
  • Earn public recognition for positive achievements
  • Sustain a competitive edge
  • Access workshops, resources, and expertise