What are the Different Types of Sustainable Business?

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  • Written By: Diane Goettel
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 11 October 2019
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A sustainable business is a business that has no negative impact on society, the economy, or the environment. In order to meet these goals, it is common for such businesses to follow a set of environmental policies and human rights policies. These policies may be drafted by the founders of the business or borrowed from progressive experts in related fields.

While most businesses focus on the bottom line, sustainable businesses are equally as concerned with their impact on the world as they are about their profitability. Sustainable business is also sometimes referred to as green business. When referring to the goals of sustainable businesses, the term triple bottom line is often used. In addition to the traditional bottom line, which is profit, sustainable businesses have two other bottom lines: the effect that they have on the human race and their impact on the planet.

There are many different kinds of businesses which can, with proper planning and policies, become sustainable businesses. Companies that produce energy, provide transportation, treat water, focus on agriculture, and develop technology, to name just a few business sectors, can function as sustainable businesses. It is also possible for small businesses to use sustainable business practices.


Sustainable business seems to be making headway in engineering and architecture. Not only can these businesses function as sustainable businesses, but they can also produce green products. Sustainable architecture, for example, is quite useful on its own, but it can also be important to sustainable businesses that need a space for their offices and services.

The Sustainable Business Institute is a nonprofit organization that works with businesses to promote and encourage sustainable business practices. Those businesses that have successfully implemented sustainable business practices are awarded the Seal of Sustainability to acknowledge their achievements.

The list of recipients of this seal includes both small businesses and large companies. It also includes businesses in many sectors of the economy. The list of seal recipients indicates that numerous kinds of businesses can successfully become sustainable. It includes everything from a small pizza shop to a biotech company, from a paper company to a farm. Furthermore, recipients of this seal are from numerous countries including the United States, Denmark, Switzerland, and China.

Sustainable business is becoming so popular in so many sectors that it is now possible to complete a Master of Business Administration, commonly referred to as an MBA, with a special focus in sustainability. There are many universities across America that now offer such programs.


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