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Green Business Challenge Overview

The Green Business Challenge engages local businesses and commercial property managers in a fun, friendly competition to save money, energy, water, and waste, improving their business's environmental performance.
Challenge Overview How It Works Success Stories Challenge Resources Contact Us

Houston GOC winners

The Green Business Challenge is the leading nationally-recognized model for community-led private sector engagement in local sustainability priorities. We make it easy for businesses toget recognized for their achievements through a friendly competition.

How It Works, Step by Step blue arrow icon

ICLEI now offers the guidance and starter kits necessary for any local government or other organization to customize and implement their own local challenge program.

View Challenge Resources blue arrow icon

Why the Challenge Wins


For Local Communities:

For Businesses:

  • Implementation Tools & Starter Kits
  • Locally Pertinent Suggestions on Bottom-Line

Cost Savings and Increased Operational Effectiveness

  • Easy, Cost-Effective Setup
  • Ability to Partner with Local Government and Validate Efforts
  • Customizability Depending on Business Audience and Local Priorities and Goals
  • Recognition, Leadership, and Marketing at both Local and National Scale

  • ICLEI Guidance and National Network
  • Equity; Anyone Can Play and There's Acknowledgement at All Stages of the Sustainability Journey
  • Platform to Promote or Reinvigorate Existing Local Initiatives or Green Business Programs
  • Competition to Make it Fun, Easy, and Worthwhile
  • Visibility as a Joint Public-Private Effort
  • Benchmarking Against Best Practices


business people raceCompetition to make it fun.

The Challenge is different from other local government programs. It’s secret to success? Creating a friendly competition between businesses to make going green fun—and achieve greater results. Competition adds the pizzazz that so many other programs lack. With the Challenge, keeping score and tracking progress is easy, thanks to ICLEI’s web-based Green Business Challenge App.


business man trophyRecognition businesses want.

Being green matters to consumers, and today’s businesses need to tout their green achievements and leadership. They want recognition for their efforts, and the Green Business Challenge offers outstanding PR opportunities. After a year-long competition, a mayor or other local elected official hosts an awards ceremony covered by the media, and the Challenge winners—those who made the most progress in going green—are honored publicly. Sample materials and guidance from ICLEI show you how to do recognition right.


money puzzle square thumb 150Savings to strengthen their bottom line.

The economic recession taught businesses the importance of efficiency. Saving energy, water, and resources like paper reduces operating expenses and adds to the bottom line. Reducing waste lessens their environmental footprint, and developing smarter transportation options saves employees money. Through fun group trainings and one-on-one assistance, Challenge participants learn strategies they can implement at work or home. The achievements of Challenge participants are incredible, and ICLEI is ready to help more communities replicate these benefits.

green chart square thumbCost-effective results for cities and counties.

Local governments turn to the Green Business Challenge for a relatively low-cost way to help them reach their community-wide climate and energy goals. Commercial sector buildings account for a large percentage of any community’s energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, so improving their environmental performance can deliver sizeable impacts. Through the Challenge, your local government can also collaborate with your business community to assess their needs and green goals, and customize a program to achieve them.


school bus girl square thumb 150Customizable approaches for governments, schools, or corporations.

The Green Business Challenge isn’t just for local governments—and it’s not just for local businesses. The program is designed to be flexible, so competitions could be created between schools within a school district or campuses within a large corporation. You could even target segments within your business community, like restaurants. Talk to an ICLEI representative about the possibilities!