Strategy #4: Require or Promote Use of Certifications of Sustainable Business Operations

The way professional and community service vendors conduct their business directly influences the amount of GHG emissions produced as a result of their business operations. Some portion of these emissions can be attributed to the supply chain of each purchaser who procures their services at any given time (as calculated in EIOLCA models by dollars spent). However, because these operational and supply chain GHG emissions sources have very little to do with contract deliverables provided by the vendor, purchasers have traditionally had very few tools to try to influence the way vendors conduct their business operations.

Require vendors to show they are taking steps to understand and minimize the climate impacts of their business operations.

Eco-labels that verify comprehensive leading-edge operational sustainability are the most robust tool for assessing sustainable business operations, as it provides verification of their commitments. However, vendors can also use self-assessment tools that can help them identify areas for improvement, and put in place sustainability plans for improving their performance.

This list provides some eco-label, certification and self-assessment programs. They run the gamut from third-party operated systems to industry-developed systems. Some are applicable for a wide variety of professional services types, while others are for specific market sectors. Institutional purchasers seeking to use these systems should evaluate if the particular program meets their sustainability and GHG reduction goals, and that use of the system will not limit competition by limited number of vendors able to bid.





B Corps are certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.

Green Business Program (where available):

The Green Business Engagement National Network (GBENN) is a consortium of unique local, state-wide and national green business programs from across the United States. GBENN provides a listing of local programs which define sustainable business practices based on local priorities. Not available in all states or regions.

American Legal Industry Sustainability Standard (ALISS)

The American Legal Industry Sustainability Standard (ALISS) is an online self-assessment tool that measures law firm’s environmental sustainability. It allows law offices to take stock of their efforts to promote energy efficiency, conservation of energy and resources, recycling and related measures. It was developed by the Law Firm Sustainability Network (LFSN) member firms based on their review and assessment of sustainability best practices in the law office setting.

B Impact Assessment

This free tool, developed by the non-profit B Lab, can be used to measure, benchmark and manage your businesses impact. B Labs vision is that one day all companies compete not only to be the best in the world, but the Best for the World® and as a result society will enjoy a more shared and durable prosperity.

Sustainable Green Printing Program  


SGP's certification program encourages printers to reduce their environmental impact and increase social awareness of their best practices in order to provide print buyers a more sustainable supply chain.

Green Seal GS-42

This standard is for cleaning service providers including in-house and external cleaning services including all indoor activities typically required to clean commercial, public and industrial buildings. GS-42 requirements include: standardized green cleaning procedures; the use of energy efficient cleaning equipment and certified products, staff training, and effective internal and external communications.

Note: At the time of publication, a standard (NSF 391.1) is in development that, when complete, may also be considered for use as a certification.

This list is not exhaustive and inclusion does not confer endorsement. Those wishing to use this list should evaluate the certification to assess appropriateness for their situation


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