Downtown Urbana, IL

In October 2019, SEDAC received a grant from the U.S. EPA National Environmental Information Exchange Network with the California Green Business Network (CAGBN) to improve business environmental data collection nationwide and increase data accessibility for environmental professionals.

Green business programs continue to grow across the U.S. Many of these programs face challenges with tracking businesses' environmental data. They may not have the tools needed to manage and analyze data to demonstrate environmental impact. It can be challenging to create quality metrics that do not require extensive business inputs.

Our project is focused on modernizing and expanding data collection and access to green business data nationally for programs using the GreenBizTracker tool, developed by CAGBN. This tool tracks metrics including GHGs, energy, solid waste, water, therms and other environmental outputs. Each metric has an associated green practice that businesses can implement to reduce their environmental impact. Businesses can input their data and the tool will calculate the impact.

Users of the tool include Washington EnviroStars, the Colorado Green Business Program, Local First Arizona, Nevada Green Business Program, Virginia Community Climate Collaborative, Illinois Green Business Program and CAGBN. The tool has been used to recognize over 4,000 green businesses in these programs.

The first phase of the project is evaluating existing metrics in the GreenBizTracker tool. The second phase is to develop new metrics and improve existing ones. Environmental metrics typically need to be reviewed and refreshed every 3-5 years. We've established a simple methodology for developing new metrics, which we are using to improve and expand the GreenBizTracker tool:

  • Identify the green business measure you want to track
  • Determine the output units
  • Explore available formulas for the measure
  • Understand the global or regional variables needed to generate the output
  • Always track your sources
  • Determine the business inputs and questions for those inputs

The third phase is a pilot project, in partnership with the Illinois Green Business Program. We will be testing the newly updated GreenBizTracker tool with a select number of Illinois businesses and organizations. Participants will receive technical support from SEDAC to track their data and identify ways to reduce their environmental impact.

Are you an Illinois business or organization interested in reducing your environmental impact? Contact us at 800-214-7954 or to learn more and get started!