Restaurants, Cafes & Catering

Restaurants, Cafes and Catering | Credit: Henri Joubert on Unsplash

Includes bakeries; bars; food trucks; restaurants; cafes; catering



  • Business core purpose includes a “green” business function.
  • Social and environmental mission and vision statement for your business on website.


  • Banking with a community development, minority, or socially & environmentally responsible bank or credit union.
  • Protocols in place (e.g., trainings, HR policies, support group(s), statement of commitment, accountability mechanisms, etc.) that advance justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (JEDI) within the company.

Restaurants, Cafes & Catering Operations


  • Facility conserves energy and water, including energy efficient lighting, maintaining HVAC equipment on a regular basis, installing water-efficient fixtures in kitchens, occupancy sensors in back rooms, and temperature control after hours.
  • Practices designed to lessen food waste and increase recycling
  • Use of third-party-certified green cleaners
  • No disposable table cloths. Linens laundered with environmentally preferred cleaners
  • Reusable cutlery and china provided for all food and beverages consumed onsite
  • No polystyrene foam used in takeout containers
  • To go cups made with at least 24% recycled fibers or compostable fibers. If compostable cups are used, there is clear signage regarding their onsite disposal
  • Does not sell bottled water
  • No food or beverages with Genetically Modified ingredients are sold or served, include frying oil, butter substitutes and condiments. When applying for the Green Business Certification, PDFs of relevant invoices required, with receipt of non- disclosure agreement signed by Certification Director
  • At least 80% meat, dairy and eggs are local or certified humanely raised and slaughtered, including antibiotic- and added hormone-free
  • Sustainably caught, low-mercury, non-endangered fish (Monterey Bay Aquarium, US-caught, line- or troll-caught)
  • Serve certified fair trade or organic coffee and tea. If using direct trade, provide information on the producers


  • Composting program; includes use of pick up/ drop off/ municipal service
  • At least half the menu is or can be made vegetarian with vegan options available
  • Source food locally, at least 50% during at least one season
  • 50% USDA organic food served
  • Serve and use these fair trade ingredients: coffee, tea, sugar, chocolate, olive oil, bananas and other commercially available fair trade produce
  • Emphasis is on healthy foods served in appropriate portion sizes

Company Employment


  • Work schedules released at least two weeks before shifts begin; last minute schedule changes rewarded with increased hourly rate
  • Employees have access to family friendly benefits including high-quality health insurance, sick days, paid parental leave and childcare help.
  • Offer a flexible workplace culture that encourages work/life balance and makes reasonable accommodations for telecommuting and flex schedules.
  • Pays a wage that ensures employees well-being.
  • Has an established non-discrimination policy and procedure, and ensures an inclusive workplace culture.
  • Governs fairly and in a transparent manner. Is open to employee input. Has a whistle blower protection policy in place.


  • Living wage is paid.
  • Has an established program that invests in employee growth and development.



  • Use transparent and truthful marketing.
  • Advocate for green business practices in the restaurants, cafes, and catering industries.
  • Established program for receiving input from both internal and external stakeholders.


  • Actively seeks feedback from industry peers and participates in industry associations and mentor programs.

Green Office/Facility


  • HVAC system well-maintained, building well-insulated, and smart and efficient climate control employed.
  • System in place for reducing electricity consumption from lighting and electronics.
  • Use of Energy Star rated appliances and CFL/LED light bulbs in office.
  • Use of 100% post-consumer recycled, Chlorine Free paper in the office and in all envelopes, marketing, and print materials.
  • Systems in place for reducing paper use such as electronic processes, printers set with double sided printing as the default, and more.
  • Use of only non-toxic cleaning and pest control products.
  • Maximum amount of waste is reused or recycled including paper, plastic, metals, glass, electronics, and printer ink cartridges.
  • Action on clean energy such as purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) or use of on-site clean energy.
  • Compost all food waste (including from events).
  • Landscaping done with sustainability in mind, especially considering runoff and stormwater management.
  • Only fair trade and USDA certified organic coffee and tea served in the office.
  • Use of green or local caterers for events.
  • Use of a certified E-Steward for electronics recycling.
  • Proper disposal of hazardous materials (e.g., batteries, paint, motor oil, etc).
  • Knowledge of recycling/composting guidelines at your local recycling/composting facility.