By Alex Gladu, Independent We Stand
American cities aren’t known for their pristine air quality and overwhelming commitment to eco-friendliness. In fact, according to a report by the American Lung Association, there are only six metro areas in the U.S. where residents don’t experience any days of unhealthy ozone or particle pollution. What’s more, waste in American cities seems to be growing, as the National Institutes of Health has reported that Americans waste up to 50 percent more food now than in the1970s. Cities can wreak havoc on the environment, but in at least one city, the Sustainable Business Network (SBN) of Greater Philadelphia puts local businesses to work to make things greener for everyone.
Like many small business groups, SBN brings local business members together in the greater Philadelphia region to promote the benefits of buying local. SBN features members in a local business directory, offers members a free health insurance quote through a local broker and creates social media content that members can easily share to spread the word. In addition to these benefits, members can also participate in the network’s variety of initiatives, many of which cater to certain industries and promote sustainability throughout the community.
For instance, the Green Storm water Infrastructure (GSI) Partners, a priority initiative for SBN, work to make Philadelphia’s stormwater management more sustainable. Storm water management, or managing the runoff of water that occurs from precipitation, became a priority for the city as part of its “Green City, Clean Waters” plan for long-term eco-friendliness. SBN has leveraged the city’s vast network of landscapers, landscape architects, green roofing companies and similar businesses to keep the initiative moving forward.
In addition to storm water management, SBN has set goals to make the community more sustainable in other ways. As part of its Good Economy Challenge, SBN advocates for government procurement processes to involve more sustainable, local products. Additionally, SBN wants to increase the role that solar power plays in the Philadelphia housing market, calling for the city to have 20,000 solar homes by 2025.
Through this work, SBN demonstrates how local businesses can make a community – even in a big city like Philadelphia – more sustainable. SBN’s members work together to reach eco-friendly goals that ultimately make both the community and the local business network stronger. For more information about SBN, visit www.sbnphiladelphia.org.
Independent We Stand is dedicated to helping independent businesses across the country engage their communities and encouraging customers to buy local. If you’re a business owner, get buy local resources, tips and news by registering for a business membership. Your business will also be included in our ‘locals only’ search engine and mobile app. If you’re a consumer, take the pledge to buy local to join the movement.