Sustainable Small Business Designation Program

The Sustainable Small Business Designation (SSBD) is a voluntary program that recognizes small businesses for implementing actions that are simultaneously good for their bottom line, the environment, and the social fabric of their communities. The SSBD is a symbol of success that your business is incorporating sustainable practices and improving business performance while standing out as valuable contributor to your local community. This designation incorporates cutting edge, economically sound sustainability practices and recommendations to advance your business on a number of levels.

What is involved with joining the program?

The Sustainable Small Business Designation Program is a free program offered by Sustainable Pittsburgh to advance our region’s small businesses. Simply complete the online Sustainable Small Business Self-Assessment, and we will contact you with your results.

Prefer to do the assessment on paper? Complete the print version and send it to Sustainable Pittsburgh, 307 Fourth Avenue, Suite 1500, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. If you would like us to walk you through the process, email to schedule a free in-person consultation.

Why have a designation program?

Small businesses are crucial contributors to local economy by bringing growth and innovation to the community. Sustainable Pittsburgh believes in the importance of sustainable small businesses in creating thriving and vibrant communities.

Benefits of participating

By completing the Sustainable Business Designation Program a business:

  • Identifies cost saving opportunities
  • Gains free advertising
  • Attracts new customers
  • Builds a vibrant community
  • Improves environmental quality
  • Generates positive public recognition


Sustainability refers to a comprehensive set of activities to improve the long term viability of our community. It not only features environmental aspects, but includes many other facets of sustainability. These include community support, growth of quality jobs, ethical and transparent business practices, sustainable products and services, management of a sustainable supply network, stakeholder engagement, diversity practices, effective and appropriate engagement in public policy, and other areas.

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Levels of Recognition

SSBD provides recognition at four achievement levels, creating a pathway for organizations to grow, build, and demonstrate their commitments and sustainability practices.

Gold: 131+ points

The business has well-established, consistent sustainability-oriented operational goals, practices, and performance criteria. Sustainability is built into the business’s culture and thus has positioned the business as a leader in the region.

Silver: 76 - 130 points

The business has clear goals relating to sustainable performance and has built knowledge, created policies, deployed staff, and explored alternative methods for achieving these sustainable goals. The business stands as a strong competitor among the region achieving a high level of sustainable designation.

Bronze: 30 – 75 points

Business goals reflect some commitment to developing sustainable performance criteria and or knowledge relating to sustainable performance. These businesses begin to stand out in the community as a leader in sustainable business practices.

Striver: 1 – 29 points

Recognition for businesses that have completed the checklist but have not reached the bronze level of designation. The business has demonstrated an interest in sustainability and pursuing best business practices. Businesses can improve their level of designation by implementing sustainable actions found throughout the checklist.

How were the designation criteria created and selected?

The Sustainable Small Business Designation Criteria were created through a national benchmarking process of best practices in consultation with small businesses and community development experts from Southwestern Pennsylvania.

How is info about the Sustainable Small Business Designation Program shared?

The information from the SSBD is completely confidential and only reviewed by Sustainable Pittsburgh to provide a level of certification. The public will only be able to see your level of designation received along with promotional recognition from Sustainable Pittsburgh, partners and the public.

Business owners are encouraged to put their achievements on display. We provide qualifying owners with a window cling and certificate to display prominently, outside and in.

What does it cost?

The Sustainable Business Designation Program is FREE.