Frequently Asked Questions

What does it cost?

Becoming certified is currently free. In 2017 and beyond, there will be a nominal fee (currently estimated to be under $50). Anyone can take the survey as a guest for free.

How long is the certification good for?

You should recertify every year to get credit for your improvements and continue to use the badges.

What if I made significant changes before the year is up and think I could earn another star?

Take the certification again - no charge.

How do customers know the certifications are accurate?

The claims certified businesses make will be available to the public. If customers or competitors notify us of an inaccurate claim, the business will be given 60 days to correct the problem or have its certification stripped.

What if I have more than one location or facility?

Certify each location separately unless their management and facility are similar.

What if my business is certified in another program?

We want to know about it. However, no other certification is based on a scientific framework and goes to full sustainability. So you will learn a lot by going through ours.

Why did the Sustainability Alliance create its own certification?

Most certifications are, in our view, weak. "You recycle, great, you're a certified green business!" We could find no other existing certification was easy and fast, based on hard science, provided levels of performance, included social as well as environmental issues and went to full sustainability.

What is this certification based on?

The Natural Step's 4 principles or system conditions are derived from hard science and describe a fully sustainable society. Paraphrased, they call on businesses to:
  • Move away from or close the loop on non-renewable resources and energy
  • Move away from or close the loop on toxic materials (especially persistent bioaccumulative toxins).
  • Preserve and restore critical ecosystems and their functions (eg, cleaning air and water, creating renewable resources like fish and lumber)
  • Address human needs (for employees, customers, the local communities and suppliers)