The Green Business Challenge

The St. Louis Green Business Challenge assists companies with integrating sustainable measures into the kinds of daily operations common to every business. Participants identify and voluntarily adopt strategies that improve financial performance and reduce environmental impacts, while engaging employees toward both workplace and community benefits.

The Challenge is a program of the Missouri Botanical Garden. Initiated in 2010, in partnership with the St. Louis Regional Chamber, the Challenge leveraged the Chamber’s broad business network with the Garden’s sustainability resources to grow a network of companies committed to green policy and practice.

The Challenge delivers “Triple Bottom Line” results (fiscal, social and environmental) to businesses of all types and sizes across the bi-state St. Louis region. Each company competes with itself to improve performance. The work is supported by customized coaching from staff of the Garden’s EarthWay Center, and by the program’s robust professional network, representing a broad range of skill specializations at every level of seniority from consultants to C-Suite. Seminars, Green Business Tours and regular communications provide a wealth of problem-solving resource exchanges.

The Challenge is a fee-based program, generously supported by sponsor companies with additional local grant support. Registered participants are encouraged to invite building neighbors, vendors and clients to come as their guests to Challenge events. Green Biz Briefings Luncheons are ticketed events open to all.

Since the program launched in 2010, 250 businesses, non-profits and municipalities have joined the Challenge. This participation has engaged over 155,000 employees and nearly 470,000 residents, for a total of over 620,000 individuals influenced by this work. Ongoing sustainability commitment is strong: 60% of these companies have participated in the Challenge for two or more years, 45% for three years or more. An Awards Celebration annually honors all company achievements.

Four Challenge levels support achievement of sustainability goals for every company’s current culture and strategic priorities.

  • Challenge Apprentice – works with a menu of basic green policies and practices to launch a sustainability program
  • Green Cities Challenge – works with the Apprentice level menu augmented by community-based options defined by OneSTL, our regional sustainability plan.
  • Challenge Leader – works with a categorized, point-based scorecard to facilitate efficient team management of operational sustainability measures, and support innovations specific to each company’s kind of business.
  • Challenge Champion – has the option to work with a scorecard covering more advanced measures, or complete a Champion Innovation Project.

Challenge enrollment for 2022 opens in mid-February. Activity runs through mid-November.

Click here to review past year program outcomes.

Contact Jean Ponzi, program manager, to explore how Challenge can benefit your business, municipality or non-profit.

To receive updates on program events, subscribe to the Challenge eNews.

The Challenge is generously supported by presenting sponsor, Graybar, and the following Sustaining and Green Cities Challenge Sponsors…

This project was funded in part by the St. Louis-Jefferson Solid Waste Management District and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

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