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What is the SBI?
What SBI can do for your business? Books
What does SBI do for NJ? Events
Resources Contacts
SBI Stakeholder Meetings    
SBI Related Presentations    


What is the SBI?
The SBI is an initiative of the NJ Department of Environmental Protection’s Sustainability and Green Energy (SAGE) Program.  The program’s vision is to raise awareness, educate and motivate companies to pursue sustainability as a competitive business strategy and a shared community responsibility, and account for its performance in terms of the triple bottom line.

Representatives from State government, business and non-profit sectors are working together to frame the SBI.  For more information about each meeting go to: SBI Stakeholder Meetings

This Sustainable Business Initiative has two primary goals:

  1. To promote sustainability planning and practices among New Jersey businesses to enhance economic success, environmental protection, and an improved quality of life.

  2. To identify and share resources to educate and encourage the NJ business community on the sustainable return on investment (SROI).  SROI determines the full value of a project by assigning monetary values to all costs and benefits – economic, social and environmental.

Target Audience
Small to medium businesses are the target audience.  Small businesses make up 90% of all businesses in NJ.  They are diverse in their needs and the SBI recognizes the limited resources they have.  Defined as 100 employees or less; small businesses in NJ include “Mom & Pop” shops, retail stores and services ranging in products from manufacturing to boutiques.

The DEP initiated a series of meetings in 2011-2012 with business stakeholders to brainstorm ideas on how to promote and encourage sustainability in the business community. 

The results of these initial meetings included the following two actions:

  1. A survey of businesses to asses awareness, interest and needs in terms of sustainability.  See survey and results (pdf).

  2. Formation of three sub-committee’s:

Business Survey
In the spring of 2011, a survey to evaluate the interest and needs of the business community was developed and distributed.  The survey results indicated that there was a need for employee education and an interest in certification and recognition programs to help foster sustainability efforts.


What SBI can do for your Business?

  1. Provide resources to help your business become sustainable.
  2. Provide networking opportunities where you can learn about sustainability from businesses that have adopted sustainability best practices.

Sustainability for Business cover
In April 2012, the NJPRO Foundation published a report entitled
Sustainability for Business: Innovation, Cost Savings and Opportunities

The report makes the business case for sustainability by identifying the following advantages:

  • Cost Savings
  • Competitive Advantage and Improved Company Image
  • Risk Mitigation
  • Innovation
  • Attraction & Retention of Good Employees
  • Access to Capital

These benefits and more are noted in additional reports that make the business case for sustainability. 

Sustainability: The ‘Embracers’ Seize Advantage
By MIT Sloan Management Review, Research Report, Winter 2011.


What does SBI do for NJ?
  • Supports the 2011 Draft Energy Master Plan

    As noted in the 2011 Draft Energy Master Plan, “the best way to lower individual energy bills and collective energy rates is to use less energy.”  One of the first things businesses can do to become sustainable is to reduce their energy use.  Reducing energy costs through conservation and energy efficiency lessens the cost of doing business and enhances economic development – both leading to sustainability.

    New Jersey currently offers small commercial businesses financial incentives for the installation of energy efficiency measures through the Direct Install program.  This program and its goal to reduce energy compliments sustainability best practices aimed at conserving resources, becoming cost competitive and reducing risk.
  • Supports the 2011 Draft State Strategic Plan

    The 2011 draft State Strategic Plan (Plan) sets forth a vision on the state as a “national leader in coordinated private and public investment in sustainable communities” with goals towards economic growth, vibrant regions, well-being, and preservation and enhancement of state resources.  To achieve the goals of the Plan, there are certain principles, Garden State Values (Values) in which decisions should be made.  Some of these Values are directly in line with the goals of the SBI. 

    By helping our New Jersey businesses achieve a sustainable return on investment, be socially responsible, create shared value with their community and value chain and reduce environmental impacts, SBI could address some of the following Values:

    1. Increase job and business opportunities: by increasing demand in the high quality jobs and workplaces New Jerseyans want to work;
    2. Help create high-quality livable places: because people want to live in a community where their businesses give back and support the community; and
    3. Provide healthy communities: if our businesses reduce their environmental impact by reducing toxics and waste, increase energy efficiency and provide healthy work spaces for their employees.

Meetings are listed chronologically, starting with the most recent meeting.

On June 17, 2014 the SBI meeting included two speakers and a panel discussion.  The meeting started with a presentation by Natalie Teear from PricewaterhouseCoopers who talked about the Dow Jones Sustainability.  She was followed by Gregory Butler from Becton Dickinson who discussed how to create an effective sustainable supply chain.   Barry Dambach from Alcatel-Lucent joined them at the end for a panel discussion where they answered questions from the audience.

To access more information on the meeting please visit the following links:


On February 4, 2014 the SBI meeting included a presentation by Jeana Wirtenberg, author of Building a Culture for Sustainability - People, Planet, and Profits in a New Green Economy.   She summarized never-before-published stories and lessons learned from nine successful global companies that have headquarters or major operations in NJ. In addition, Robert Coleman, Senior Manager of the Office of Sustainable Development, from Church & Dwight and Barry Dambach, Sr. Director of Sustainability and EHS, from Alcatel-Lucent shared their best practices.

To access more information on the meeting please visit the following links:

On September 10, 2013 the SBI meeting focused on how supermarkets and hotels can become sustainable.  Presentations were given by Sonay Aykan, from the NJIT Center for Building Knowledge, on Smart Supermarkets and Ky Asral, from the NJDEP’s Sustainability and Green Energy Program, on the Garden State Green Hotels Project. To access more information on the meeting please visit the following links:

On May 29, 2013 the SBI meeting focused on our proposed project to create a New Jersey Sustainable Business Registry. To access more information on the meeting please visit the following links:

On December 5, 2012 the SBI meeting focused on several topics, including the upcoming Green Tourism and Hospitality Conference, the First Annual Survey of New Jersey Business Sustainability and an update on our SBI activities.  To access more information on the meeting please visit the following links:

On October 16, 2012 the SBI meeting focused on energy with a presentation by Gary Finger, Business Ombudsman, with the NJ Board of Public Utilities.   This was followed by questions and discussion.  To access more information on the meeting please visit the following links:

On June 19, 2012 DEP staff updated stakeholders on Subcommittee progress and Jen Souder, Project Manager at the Rutgers’ Center for Green Building, gave an update on their green building projects.
For more information on the meeting please review:

  1. New Jersey Sustainable Business Initiative Agenda– June 19, 2012
  2. SBI Stakeholder Meeting List of Attendees for June 19, 2012
  3. Green Building Update by Jen Souder
  4. SBI Subcommittee Reports
  5. June 19, 2012 SBI Meeting Notes

On April 5, 2012 DEP staff updated stakeholders on Subcommittee Progress and Marvin Royal, Applications Sales Manager at Miele Inc., gave a presentation on Miele’s Sustainability Program.
For more information on the meeting please review:

  1. New Jersey Sustainable Business Initiative Agenda – April 5, 2012
  2. Miele Sustainability by Marvin Royal
  3. SBI Subcommittee Reports

On December 13, 2011 an SBI meeting was held and focused on Subcommittee Reports and next steps.  In addition, Angela Ortiz from PSEG gave a presentation on their Corporate Sustainability Program.

For more information on the meeting please review:

  1. New Jersey Sustainable Business Initiative Agenda (pdf) -
  2. Sustainable Businesses Initiative List of Attendees- (pdf)
  3. PSEG's Corporate Sustainability Presentation by Angela Ortiz (pdf)
  4. SBI Subcommittee Reports - Subcommittee Facilitators (pdf)

On July 28, 2011 a follow up meeting was organized to discuss the survey results, review existing or proposed sustainable business certification programs in New Jersey and identify next steps.
For more information on the meeting please review:

  1. Creating Sustainable Businesses in New Jersey Agenda (pdf) – July 28, 2011 List of Attendees (pdf)
  2. Presentations:
    1. Sustainable Business Initiative (pdf) – Michele Siekerka, Assistant Commissioner, DEP Office of Economic Growth and Green Energy
    2. Your Future Workforce – What will you need? (pdf) – Aaron Fichtner, Assistant Commissioner, Department of Labor, Office of Labor Planning and Analysis
    3. Sustainable Jersey and Green Seal Proposal (pdf) - Donna Drewes, Sustainable Jersey and Kate Probst, Green Seal
    4. Travel Green NJ Pilot Certification Program (pdf) – Faith Taylor, Wyndham Worldwide
    5. Green Automotive Repair Program (pdf) (GARP) – Alex Yankaskas, NJGARP President
    6. Green Business Bureau’s Green Certification Program (pdf)– Allan Fliss, New Jersey Green Association
  3. Meeting Notes (pdf)

Next Steps – The following four committees were formed w/ SAGE staff as leads

Contact SAGE staff person directly to sign up for a committee.

On February 25, 2011, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's Office of Economic Growth and Green Energy facilitated a meeting to begin to discuss ideas on how to assist New Jersey businesses to become sustainable.

For more information on the meeting please review:

  1. New Jersey Sustainable Business Initiative Agenda (pdf) - February 25, 2011
  2. Sustainable Businesses Initiative Attendees (pdf)
  3. Presentation (pdf) by Michele N. Siekerka, Esq., Assistant Commissioner, SAGE

One of our first steps following the meeting was to develop a New Jersey business survey to assess the needs of the broader business community regarding sustainability. 

Click here to review the Survey Results (pdf). 

Businesses across the State are incorporating sustainable practices.  Below are examples of a few that we know about.  If you are a small business (100 employees or less) and have incorporated sustainable business practices please let us know.  Your information, including business name and contact, should be sent to Athena Sarafides at  Thanks!


  • Scott Cooney (2009), “Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur”, McGraw Hill.

  • Fred Andreas, Elizabeth Cooperman, Blair Gifford & Graham Russell, Editors (2011). A Simple Path to Sustainability: Green Business Strategies for Small and Medium-Sized Companies. ABC-CLIO.



By State Agencies

By Subject


Green Buildings

Waste Reduction, Reuse, Recycling

Workforce Development

Federal Programs
  • Energy Star

  • USEPA Region 2 Green Team Program
    USEPA, Region 2 has identified Green Partners in New Jersey from five sectors (retail, professional sports teams, higher education, real estate/property management and health care/hospitals) to incorporate sustainable construction, operation and maintenance practices.  Nine partners are from New Jersey! Check out what they are doing!

  • WaterSense

Sustainable Business Media

Sustainable Business Organizations




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Last Updated: July 25, 2014