SBN’s 20th Anniversary

Marking 20 years of building a just, green, and thriving economy in the Greater Philadelphia region.

Visioning Forward

Since our founding in 2001, SBN has helped thousands of local independent businesses in the Greater Philadelphia region to build profitable enterprises that serve the community, share wealth, and protect the environment.

In our 20-year strong commitment to improving businesses for good in our region and advancing triple bottom line practices, SBN supports and advocates for independent business owners’ needs today and beyond.


Our work has directly impacted local businesses in the Greater Philadelphia region. Scroll through our timeline to see SBN’s milestones since 2001.

The Beginning

Judy Wicks invites local business owners to gather in her living room above the White Dog Cafe.

Social Venture Institute

SBN successfully launches the first Social Venture Institute, a powerful experience that connects emerging and established entrepreneurs to resources.

Green Economy Task Force

Focused on policy and funding that drives green-collar job growth, green businesses and new technology, and job training.

“Gray to Green” Report Released

“Jumpstarting Private Investment in Green Stormwater Infrastructure” by SBN Policy Fellow Sarah E. Francis.

“Capturing the Storm” Report Released

“Profits, Jobs, and Training in Philadelphia’s Stormwater Industry” The findings of this report led SBN to create the GSI Partners.

Taking Care of Business

SBN embarked on a yearlong study of small businesses in Philadelphia to determine how the City can effectively support small business growth.

Benefit Corporation Legislation

SBN is a key supporter in the passing of benefit corporation legislation in the state of Pennsylvania.

GSI Partners

SBN launches the GSI Partners in response to Philadelphia’s nationally-recognized stormwater management plan, Green City, Clean Waters.

“The Economic Impact of Green City, Clean Waters: The First Five Years” Report Released

Findings show that GSI Partners conservatively represent an annual economic impact of almost $60 million within the City of Philadelphia.

“Local Procurement” Report Released

“An Evaluation of Barriers and Solutions from the Business Perspective” highlights how a local, value-based approach to procurement and institutional purchasing is an effective way to advance the local business community.

“Business Owner’s Bill of Rights” Released by the City

First recommended in 2011 in SBN’s Taking Care of Business report to address the needs of local businesses, the Business Owners’ Bill of Rights sets the foundation for a new era for customer service by the city of Philadelphia.

“Vision for a Just, Green, and Thriving Local Economy” Report Released

SBN identifies twenty-five issues impacting the region’s ability to achieve equitable, inclusive, climate resilient economic growth.

SBN launches Rebuilding with Equity and Climate Resilience program

Our History

Above the White Dog Cafe in West Philadelphia, a small group of business leaders imagined a new way of doing business where social and environmental impact are valued the same way businesses value profit.

That was 2001, and The Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia is the result of this way of rethinking business as usual, and continues to advance a triple bottom line economy. Today we hold these same ideals and serve the same local, independent business community that SBN founders brought together.


SBN’s Vision for the Next 20 Years

All businesses should practice the triple bottom line, understand their individual impacts on their local communities and our economy, and challenge and support each other to continue improving their practices. Smart public policies are needed to create a solid baseline, ensuring that all workplaces are equitable, inclusive, practice environmental sustainability, and promote the long-term health and well-being of their communities.

In order for the region to recover and sustain it, we need to invest in a collective vision of a strong regional economy that is accessible to all, prepared for next-generation industries, and resilient to a changing climate.

Food SystemsNature-Based Stormwater ManagementEnergy Market Transition

Food Systems

Our food system is on track to be drastically disrupted by climate change. A UN report found the world’s land and water resources are severely threatened.110 The chance of major food shortages around the world could lead to an increase in the current flow of immigration that is already impacting politics in North America and Europe, as well as higher food costs overall.

Nature-Based Stormwater Management

Stormwater runoff — both urban and agricultural — is one of the biggest threats to our water quality.

Energy Market Transition

As the climate catastrophe becomes even clearer, we must reduce carbon pollution, improve energy efficiency, and transition to 100 percent renewable energy as quickly as possible. The only way to truly get to net zero carbon emissions is to invest heavily in energy efficiency and electrification, while keeping in mind that electric technology is only as clean as the energy provided to the grid powering it.

Support Our Work

Become a Sponsor

As a non-profit organization, we rely on the generosity of our members and other business partners as well as foundations in order to implement our programming. As our thank you for your commitment to SBN and our mission, we provide a number of benefits to our sponsors, including visibility, business connections, and access, thereby helping you position your business as a leader in the local impact economy. We are seeking mission-aligned sponsors who are committed to supporting our mission, learning, sharing, and improving their triple bottom line. Click below to inquire about sponsorship.

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Your contributions help our work, educating and supporting the incredible triple bottom line businesses that we serve. Your dollars can help in the following ways:

  • $35 covers the cost of one educational program ticket
  • $100 covers the cost of an education program series, such as Rebuilding with Equity and Climate Resilience
  • $300 covers the full cost of a year-long membership for an emerging business
  • $500-$1000 supports SBN’s growth and development to ensure that we are providing the best services to our members, and are able to continue our leadership work in the Greater Philadelphia community
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SBN members are independently-owned businesses headquartered in the Greater Philadelphia region that practice the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profitability. SBN’s membership benefits focus on providing businesses with relevant content, meaningful community, and effective advocacy. Join our community of businesses for good that are building profitable enterprises while serving community needs, sharing wealth, and protecting the environment.

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Shop Local & Independent

The small local business community is the engine of a diverse and inclusive economy. Almost 1/5 of all small businesses are owned by minorities, and more than 1/3 are owned by women. Consider shopping local than with alternatives to larger box stores or online giants. SBN has a full directory of local businesses that can help guide you.

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