Sustainable Business Network of Philadelphia: Building a Just, Green, and Thriving Economy

Jan 18, 2024 | Climate Change, Philadelphia, Sustainability

Philadelphia is just, green, and thriving

At Green Investment Strategies (Green), we are proud to be a part of the Sustainable Business Network (SBN) of Philadelphia, a collective effort focused on transforming our local economy into one that is just, green, and thriving. The power of local businesses in economic growth should never be discounted. Our commitment to this network aligns with our ethos of not just being a business, but a force for positive change in our community.

The Power of Local Businesses in Economic Growth

At the core of the SBN’s philosophy, and our own, is the belief that local businesses are instrumental in driving healthy economic growth and building wealth within communities. This belief is rooted in the local multiplier effect, which can be broken down into three fundamental impacts:

1. Direct Impact: Local businesses like ours directly contribute to the economy through operational expenditures – this includes inventory, utilities, equipment, and payroll.

2. Indirect Impact: Our spending has a ripple effect as it recirculates within the community through transactions with other local businesses.

3. Induced Impact: There’s a cascading effect of additional consumer spending when employees, business owners, and others, inspired by how we spend our money, spend their own incomes within the local economy.

The Backbone of a Vibrant Economy

Local independent businesses are not just economic entities; they are the pillars of a vibrant economy. They represent over 99% of all employer firms and employ nearly half of all private-sector employees in Pennsylvania. Over the past 25 years, small businesses have been responsible for creating 2 out of every 3 new jobs in the United States, including during recessions. They are also more likely to innovate and develop emerging technologies than larger firms. The power of local businesses in economic growth is unparalleled.

But the Philadelphia area is falling behind here. Only about 6.8% of adult residents in the 11-county Philly metro area are small business owners, compared to the national median rate of 7.6%.

Which makes the SBN that much more important because small businesses in our city need the SBN’s support. Philadelphia’s economy has not yet reached its full potential to be just, green, and thriving.

The SBN’s Role and Our Commitment

Since its inception in 2001, the SBN has been pivotal in aiding thousands of local, independent, values-driven businesses in the Greater Philadelphia region. Their support has enabled these businesses to thrive, contribute to the community, and protect the environment. Our membership in the SBN allows Green to:

– Access programming and resources that aid in making sustainable operational choices.
– Support, through charitable donations, other sustainable businesses which are unable to meet membership dues, perhaps because they are new or they are going through a difficult time.
– Advocate for local and state-wide policies that prioritize people, the environment, and our independent business community.
– Foster and support triple bottom-line goals more generally.

Joining Forces for a Sustainable Future

The SBN’s mission is our mission. By contributing to the SBN, individuals and businesses support a network dedicated to transforming our local economy into one that is just, green, and thriving. Opportunities for involvement include:

Joining SBN: if you own an independent business in the Philly area and care about people, planet and profit, you can join!
Champion for Small Business: if you donate $275, you can cover the cost of a business’s annual membership AND get access to member events.
Friend of SBN: for a donation of only $75, you can become a Friend of SBN, which gets you access to member events.

Engagement and Advocacy

SBN actively engages its members in meaningful conversations and actions. Initiatives like the Entrepreneurs’ Roundtable connect local businesses with key decision-makers in government and the non-profit sector to discuss how to make Philly’s economy more just, green, and thriving and to advocate for supportive policies. The Best Practice Forums and Impact Improvement initiatives, using tools like the Quick Impact Assessment, provide platforms for businesses to measure and improve their social, environmental, and economic impact.

Our Collective Impact and Legacy

Green is excited to continue our journey with the SBN, with its rich history of impactful campaigns like The Buy Local Challenge and The Green Economy Task Force. The Buy Local Challenge helped to preserve the uniqueness that makes Philadelphia different from any other American city. The Green Economy Task Force helped to build an inclusive green economy in the Philadelphia region that benefits our neighborhoods, our working families, and our planet. And SBN’s current initiative, Green Stormwater Infrastructure Partners, focuses on advancing green approaches to stormwater management, which has become an important issue because our warming planet is causing more intense storms and more dangerous floods.

Green’s Membership in the Sustainable Business Network of Philadelphia: Celebrating Local Sustainable Businesses

At Green, being part of the Sustainable Business Network (SBN) of Philadelphia is more than a membership; it’s a commitment to building a just, green, and thriving economy in our region. This network is not just a collective of businesses but a vibrant community of innovators and changemakers. Let’s shine a spotlight on some of the interesting local businesses within SBN that are making significant strides in sustainability and social impact.

Innovators in Our Midst

Levra Labs, co-founded by Steffen Cornwell and Sofia Ye, is a groundbreaking fusion of social activism and technology. As a software development agency and benefit company based in Philadelphia, Levra Labs is at the forefront of empowering social entrepreneurs. Their software, Finiverse, developed in partnership with the Stevens Center of Innovation in Finance and Philadelphia public schools, is a desktop financial literacy tool that aids high school students in navigating college finances. They also developed Clarifi, a desktop learning platform tailored for students with ADHD, which garnered the Audience Choice Prize at the 2022 Milken Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition. These innovations underline Levra Labs’ commitment to uplifting local communities through technological solutions.

Lovett Keshet Studio, co-founded by Yair Keshet and Elizabeth Lovett, is a full-service architecture and design practice that stands out for its commitment to creating spaces that aren’t just aesthetically pleasing, but also socially and economically valuable. At Lovett Keshet Studio, they believe in the efficacy of form and the social and economic value of intentionally crafted space. Their approach to design is rooted in innovation and collaboration, offering a range of services for clients who seek a unique and thoughtful approach to architecture. Their work exemplifies how sustainable design can seamlessly integrate into our everyday lives, enhancing both functionality and environmental responsibility.

Laurel Hill, led by President and CEO Nancy Goldenberg, offers a unique take on sustainability through green burial options. Their initiative, Nature’s Sanctuary, is an award-winning green burial area at Laurel Hill West, emphasizing a deep connection between people, nature, and community. This tranquil space, planted with indigenous flora and maintained with minimal environmental impact, is certified by the Green Burial Council and has received numerous accolades for its innovative and ethical approach.

Verdant Growth, helmed by Kristy Leong, partners with mission-driven companies dedicated to making a positive impact. Specializing in marketing, communications, go-to-market, and commercialization strategies, Verdant Growth helps businesses grow while staying true to their values of societal and planetary betterment.

Last but not least, of course, there’s us. Green solves the problem of how to invest your savings during this time of climate crisis. How to make investments that minimize risks and maximize opportunities for our shared future. How to impact your portfolio, and your planet, and your people, in a positive way.

The Impact of Collaboration

The Sustainable Business Network of Philadelphia is more than just a network; it’s a breeding ground for innovation and sustainable growth. By bringing together such diverse and impactful businesses, SBN is not only advancing the cause of sustainable business practices but also proving that profitability and social responsibility can go hand in hand.

Our Role and Your Opportunity

As a member of this vibrant network, Green is dedicated to supporting these and other SBN businesses in their endeavors. We believe that by working together, we can amplify our impact and drive meaningful change in our region.

We invite you to join us in this journey. Whether you’re a business owner or an individual passionate about sustainability, there are numerous ways to get involved. Your support and contributions to SBN help provide valuable resources and advocacy for businesses striving for a sustainable future.

Being part of SBN is not just about being part of a network; it’s about being part of meaningful work. Work towards a just, green, and thriving local economy where every business decision made, and every product developed is in harmony with our planet and communities. At Green, we are proud to be amongst these trailblazers and look forward to continuing our collaborative journey towards a more sustainable future for Philadelphia.

Contact Green at to learn more about investing in a sustainable manner. Or get involved with SBN to join us in building a more sustainable, inclusive, and prosperous future for the Greater Philadelphia region. Together, we can make a difference that resonates across communities and generations.