The Green Pages
Each year, businesses that have made commitments to be green are listed in The Green Pages of Lancaster County. The Green Pages serve as a green buying guide for Lancaster County consumers. The Susquehanna Sustainable Business Network publishes The Green Pages as a public service to Lancaster County. The Buy Fresh Buy Local campaign works along with The Green Pages to promote buying from local businesses. Buying locally is not just good for the environment. It stimulates the local economy and reduces waste and fuel use.
The Green Pages: Basic Information
What Does it Mean to “Be Green”?
“Being green” may mean something different for everyone. For most people it involves doing small things to lessen our impact on the earth as well as to preserve it. Simple things like recycling, composting, or planting a tree are all small ways to contribute to the preservation of the earth. Protecting the environment has become a public concern.
Citizens as well as businesses and large corporations have all moved towards “being green.” Everywhere you look, large chains, wealthy organizations, and the elite of Hollywood are “turning green” - that is, making a commitment to cut down on harmful human-inflicted impacts on the earth. Can we really trust that these powerful corporations and big businesses would lose money just to jump on the green bandwagon?
The only way to be entirely sure a business is green is if it is in your local community. Local businesses are usually owned by local citizens. It is easy to find out if a business in your neighborhood is truly “being green.”
What are The Green Pages?
The Green Pages evolved as a project to provide Lancaster County with a green buying guide. This directory fits conveniently in the glove compartment, so it is always readily available for shopping.
I interviewed the Green Pages founder, Jen Lehman, to learn about the the origins of The Green Pages. Jen Lehman and Karen Sattler shared an interest in organic foods and collaborated to create an organic buying guide for local residents. The publication has since grown to include a variety of different businesses and services. Lehman and Sattler's desire to provide the public with places to buy local and organic food evolved into an actual publication – The Green Pages.
Franklin & Marshall provided initial funding for the publication. The first edition of The Green Pages was published in 2006. Lehman and Sattler collaborated with Fritz Schroeder and David Harper and started The Susquehanna Sustainable Business Network. The Green Pages have since become a production of the SSBN dedicated to educating local consumers and business owners about buying local.
Format and Framework of The Green Pages
The Green Pages are licensed to use “The Green Pages” as their official name but are not affiliated with Co-op America’s National Green Pages. Modeled after other cities, The Green Pages sought to bring a more local directory to the area. The Green Pages are a member of BALLE – Business Alliance for Living Local Economies. The framework for the goals and missions of The Greens Pages are modeled after BALLE.
Greenline Paper Company, a SSBN member, was an early supporter of The Green Pages. The Greenline Paper Company uses only recycled and tree-free papers and is 100% environmentally friendly.
Susquehanna Sustainable Business Network
The Susquehanna Sustainable Business Network is a nonprofit organization dedicated to “building a more socially, environmentally, and financially sustainable economy.” Members of the SSBN are local citizens dedicated to strengthening local businesses and increasing the practice of sustainable business. The SSBN website outlines the following goals of the organization:
1. Build a diverse network of people committed to our mission.
2. Increase local and environmentally healthy purchasing by consumers and businesses.
3. Collaborate to make local purchasing and environmental practices more convenient and affordable.
4. Create opportunities for business leaders to network and share best sustainable business practices.
5. Educate and engage the community to increase support for local, sustainable businesses.
6. Provide civic leadership on economic equity and environmental stewardship issues.
7. Direct capital toward local financial institutions and businesses committed to building a more inclusive and sustainable economy.
For more information on the SSBN visit: The Susquehanna Sustainable Business Network
BALLE – Business Alliance for Living Local Economies
The Green Pages created their goals and missions using BALLE as a model. BALLE is made up of more than 15,000 entrepreneurs from the United States and Canada. Their mission is “to catalyze, strengthen, and connect local business networks dedicated to building strong Local Living Economies."
A Local Living Economy ensures the sustainability of a community while ensuring power resides locally and that the health of the community is maintained and improved. BALLE outlines what a Living Local Economy should strive for:
- Source products from businesses with similar values, with a preference for local procurement.
- Provide employees a healthy workplace with meaningful living-wage jobs.
- Offer customers personal service and useful safe, quality products.
- Work with suppliers to establish a fair exchange.
- Cooperate with other businesses in ways that balance their self-interest with their obligation to the community and future generations.
- Use their business practices to support an inclusive and healthy community, and to protect our natural environment.
- Yield a "living return" to owners and investors.
For more information on BALLE initiatives visit: The BALLE Website
Requirements for a Business to be Included in The Green Pages
There are two ways for a business to be listed in The Green Pages.
When you become a member of the Susquehanna Sustainable Business Network, your business gets a free listing in The Green Pages. Other benefits from an SSBN membership include:
- A free listing of your business on the SSBN website.
- A free listing of your business in BALLE’s Online Marketplace.
- Quarterly newsletter, networking, and education.
- Discounts on events, workshops, and peer mentoring sessions.
- Cooperative purchasing power for joint promotions, supplies, etc.
- Member-to-member discounts.
- Promotional support: An SSBN window decal and SSBN logo prepared for your ads.
- Most importantly: A chance to strengthen your local economy and community.
Non-members of the Susquehanna Sustainable Business Network can place an ad for a fee. The business must be a locally owned business in the Lancaster area and must comply with the mission of the SSBN.
For advertising rates visit: The Susquehanna Sustainable Business Network
Types of Businesses Included in The Green Pages
The Green Pages have a variety of locally owned business and service categories:
- Animals & Pets
- Automotive & Transportation
- Bakers & Baking Supplies
- Body & Personal Care
- Building & Renovation
- Building Supplies & Hardware
- Cleaning Services
- Computers & Software
- Energy: Audits, Efficiency, & Renewables
- Entertainment, Media, & Film
- Environmental Organizations
- Farmer’s Markets
- Farms: CSA
- Farm Stands
- Financial Services
- Gardening & Farming: Organizations
- Gardening & Farming: Products & Services
- Health & Wellness
- Landscaping & Lawn Care
- Natural Food Stores & Co-ops
- Paint & Painting
- Paper & Office Products
- Peace & Justice
- Restaurants & Cafes
- Retail Stores
- Schools & Educational Programs
- Water Conservation
- Writing Services
For a complete listing of individual businesses included in The Green Pages visit: The Susquehanna Sustainable Business Network
Think Local-Buy Local-Be Local
Buying local remains at the center of maintaining a sustainable community. All the businesses in The Green Pages are locally owned businesses that have made firm commitments to be green. The Green Pages summarize the top ten reasons to buy local:
- Recirculate money in the neighborhood.
- Lesson environmental impact.
- Support nonprofit organizations and charities.
- Keep our community vibrant and unique.
- Create new jobs.
- Encourage investment in our community.
- Make better use of your taxes.
- Receive better service.
- Support local farmers.
- Buy what you want.
Where The Green Pages are Available
The Green Pages are free and widely distributed in York and Lancaster counties. They are readily available at Lancaster Central Market in Lancaster and Central Market House in York. Copies of The Green Pages can also be made available to businesses or organizations by contacting the Susquehanna Sustainable Business Network.
The Importance of The Green Pages
The Green Pages have provided Lancaster County consumers with the basic knowledge of what a green business is and where they can be found locally. Buying local is a key component to building a healthy and sustainable community.
Local buying is purchasing products that are produced or grown close to your home. The environmental impacts of buying locally can be easily seen:
- Reduction of the burning of fossil fuels and the emission of carbon dioxide and other harmful pollutants.
- Reduction of oil and fuel use.
- Waste and packaging reduction.
- Reduction of runoff and polluted lakes, streams, rivers, and oceans.
- Reduction of sprawl and habitat loss.
- Maintenance of biodiversity.
The economic impact is not readily seen, but it is very present. Some positive economic impacts on the community are:
- Putting money back into the community.
- Providing local jobs.
- Preserving our unique heritage of shops and businesses.
- Support local farmers.
- Boost tourism.
- Customized, specialized service.
Most consumers do not realize that even though it may be cheaper to buy from a big corporate chain of stores, it is not saving them any money in the end. Local buying is the best solution for the environment, the local economy, and the local consumer.
Economics of Local Buying
Without getting too deep into the complexities of economics, it can be clearly seen that local buying is cheaper than buying from a large store or chain. When a consumer shops at a large chain store, the prices are usually cheaper than other businesses that are locally owned. However, when you buy from a chain store, only 14¢ of every dollar stays in the local economy. Buy from a local store and 70¢ of every dollar stays local. A difference of 56¢ per dollar may not seem like much, but when all collective consumer purchases are considered, it makes a large difference.
The reason for this difference is that local businesses funnel most of their money back into the local economy. The money from large chains usually ends up back at their corporate headquarters or suppliers, both of which may be anywhere around the world. The money has little to no impact on our local economy. Local business owners are more likely to donate to charities, schools, fundraisers, community projects, and other local organizations. Too, local business owners are members of the community and often shop at other local businesses.
This cycle of local buying keep money in the community and in the hands of local residents, local business owners, and local employees.
Buying Local Provides Local Jobs
One benefit from putting money back into the local economy is the creation of new jobs. Local businesses can expand and hire more employees. The world’s largest corporations only employ a small percentage of the world’s workforce. Corporations only account for a small percentage of the total of new jobs created each year. Local businesses create the largest share of new jobs per year.
Educating Local Business Owners and Consumers
The Green Pages serve an important purpose in educating local consumers and business owners. Business owners gain knowledge of how to move their business in the direction of being environmentally friendly and socially sustainable. Consumers learn about local purchasing practices and the positive impacts on the local economy.
Maintain Uniqueness in Our Local Communities
Large chains and corporations tend to all look the same. Strip malls and large stores look bland and tend to locate themselves apart from other stores and businesses.
Supporting local businesses helps to maintain the heritage of our local stores and businesses. Local businesses can preserve their unique character. Local stores and businesses are often located in rows side by side on the street. These businesses give our community vibrant shopping areas rather than the uniform chain stores that all look exactly alike.
Locally Owned Businesses Draw Tourists
Locally owned businesses and shops are original and distinct. Locally owned businesses tend to draw tourists because people want to shop at places different from those they have back home.
Tourists visit places that are distinct and different from their own community. Maintaining and supporting local businesses helps preserve our rich history of locally owned shop and businesses.
Buying Local Supports Local Farmers
Foods from local businesses also tend to be grown locally. When you buy local food, you are not only supporting local businesses but also local farmers.
Families are being run off their farms at an alarming rate. Industrial farming is dominating the market. Local buying helps farmers maintain their land, which may have been in their family for generations. This also benefits the community by preserving local farmland and the local economy.
Friendly, Custom Service From Local Businesses
Local business owners are invested in their business and want to make sure you visit their store again. Owners are more likely to give you custom service to fit your needs. Employees at local stores are usually hired specifically because they are qualified in their respective fields. Not only do you get a more personalized service, but you also get a more efficient and reliable service.
Shopping at the same local business also helps to develop a relationship between the consumer and the seller. Consumers feel more valued when they are recognized when they visit local businesses.
Instead of a service guided by a large corporation, you can have a personal, efficient relationship with your local business owners and employees.
Local buying greatly aids in preserving the environment. When consumers support local stores, they give struggling business owners the means to improve their businesses. Local businesses can use this money and do simple things like change the lighting in their stores to fluorescent. Something as simple as this can have a big impact on the environment at a low cost.
To accommodate large chains, highways and roads are often built to make room for consumers to get to the store. Local businesses are usually already established or are built along pre-existing roads and highways. This development of new chain stores and their expansion increases runoff and pollution. Runoff from parking lots often pollutes streams, lakes, ponds, and oceans.
The reason large chains can afford to ship their products all over the world is that oil is still readily available. Oil and other fossil fuels are irreplaceable natural resources. Just because oil is readily available now does not mean it will continue to be in the future.
Local businesses do not have to transport their products nearly as far as most chain stores. When you buy from a local business, you are helping to cut down on the usage of fossil fuels.
“Food miles” or how far food must travel from where it is grown to where it is bought, can greatly affect the price. The farther away a product comes from, the more expensive it tends to be. The reason for this price increase is the amount of fuel used to transport the food. If a product comes from another country, it has to be hauled in freighter ships or flown around the world.
The fuel issue is not limited to just high prices for consumers. The fossil fuels used to transport products release pollutants into the air. Carbon dioxide, particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, and other harmful pollutants are released into the air every time a product is transported.
The easiest way to help reduce the use of fossil fuels is to buy as close to your home as possible. The closer the product manufacturer is to your home, the less distance the product has to travel.
Reduction of Air Pollution
The more fossil fuels we burn transporting products long distances, the more harmful pollutants we are releasing into the air. These harmful pollutants contribute to acid rain, smog, global climate change, and harmful airborne diseases.
Industrial farms contribute to air pollution through manure collection. Manure from animals is often left to sit in giant pits known as “lagoons.” This manure remains stagnant and, as it decomposes, it emits harmful gases such as ammonia into the air.
Air pollution is a problem that is extremely difficult to fix and non-measurable in terms of cost.
When products are shipped long distances, a lot of packaging processes are involved. Food products undergo the most packaging to ensure proper storage until they reach their destination.
The packaging process requires a large amount of paper and plastic to keep food products fresh. The resulting paper and plastic becomes waste that is very difficult to recycle.
Local farms and businesses do not require an intensive packaging process. These products do not have far to travel and require much less preservation.
Reduction of Habitat Loss and Maintenance of Biodiversity
Local businesses are usually located in already developed parts of town. Chain stores tend to build on undeveloped land or farm land. This contributes to habitat loss and loss of biodiversity.
A habitat is a place where animals have everything they need to live and reproduce. Habitat loss is created by both man and nature. Humans contribute to habitat loss more frequently than nature by clearing land for the purpose of building.
Habitat loss is a problem because it can result in the extinction of an entire species. When an entire species is wiped out, it contributes to the loss of biodiversity and may effect other species.
Biodiversity simply means having a diverse variety of different types of plants, animals, organisms, and habitats. Biodiversity is important because it provides certain species with what they need to survive.
Biodiversity includes many important processes that are vital to the existence of all kinds of life on earth:
- Pest control.
- Maintenance of air and water quality.
- Generation of soil and maintenance of soil quality.
- Climate stabilization.
- Detoxification and decomposition of waste.
- Prevention of natural disasters.
- Provision of security and health care.
- Pollination and crop production.
Biodiversity is a key component of creating and maintaining a sustainable society.
Local Food Contains Less Additives
Industrially processed food account for 90% of the food bought by Americans. Processed food contains are intentionally treated with food additives after they are harvested.
Additives enhance the way food tastes, preserve shelf life, and change the way food looks. Food additives are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration but can still be harmful to human health.
Even if an additive has been approved by the FDA, it can still cause health problems. Some additives cause allergic reactions, while others are suspected to cause cancer, asthma, and birth defects.
The reason buying processed food can be dangerous is that it is hard to know what foods contain which specific additives. Additives are often listed as spices or artificial flavoring. This makes it very hard if not impossible for consumers to know exactly what they are eating.
The only way to prevent the possible health problems associated with food additives is to buy unprocessed, fresh food from local farms and farmer’s markets.
Local Farms vs. Corporate Farms
Industrial or corporate farms are often known as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, Confined Animal Feeding Operations, Industrial Agricultural Operations, and Industrial Livestock Operations. These large factory-like farms are causing family owned farms to suffer.
Local family owned farms are increasingly going out of business as large corporate farms dominate the market. As local farmers continue to be run off their land, the quality of our food suffers as well.
Local farms are run by people who live on or near their land. These farmers strive to sustain their land and maintain it. Corporate farms often put the quality of the food and the land second to maximizing their crop production. This causes a detrimental amount of environmental damage to not only the farm land but to nearby land and water sources.
Industrial farms also contribute to air pollution, misuse of waste, misuse of pharmaceuticals, disregard for animal welfare, and socially irresponsible corporate ownership.
Industrial farming is not the answer to working toward a sustainable society. Supporting local and family owned farms is the best way to work toward a sustainable food production system.
Future of The Green Pages
The main goal for the creators of The Green Pages is to increase distribution so more residents become aware of the importance of buying from local, green businesses. In 2006, 3,000 copies of The Green Pages were printed. In 2007, the number of copies doubled to 6,000 and ran out at about the same time as the previous year. As the need for The Green Pages continues to grow, more copies will be printed for distribution.
Local Events to Promote The Green Pages
The Susquehanna Sustainable Business Network’s Local First campaign will work along side The Green Pages to increase consumer awareness about the importance of buying from local businesses. Some of these events include:
- Film screenings.
- Quarterly screenings.
- Guest speakers.
- Panel presentations
The Susquehanna Sustainable Business Network also holds regular gatherings for members and guests to discuss issues pertaining to promoting a Living Local Economy. For a complete list of upcoming events visit: The Susquehanna Sustainable Business Network
Green conventions are networking opportunities for people interested in reducing man’s impact on the environment and promoting a sustainable way of life. Green conventions are gaining popularity and even inspiring green convention centers.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has built the first green convention center. The David Lawrence Convention Center is also the largest green building. The convention center proves the importance of green conventions by both acting as a meeting place for green enthusiasts and actually being a green building itself.
BALLE Annual Convention
BALLE holds an annual conference to gather “entrepreneurs, innovators, community organizers, government officials, investors, and green business pioneers” together to explore the future of socially responsible and environmentally friendly business practices, technologies, and innovations. The convention includes events such as:
- Guest speakers
- A film festival
- Panel presentations
- Meal services
- Live musical performances
For more information visit: The BALLE Website
Co-op America’s Green Business Conference
Co-op America holds a green business conference annually to bring green business owners and future green business owners together to learn about successful green businesses. Past attendees of the convention have raved that it was an amazing networking opportunity as well as a learning experience. The convention includes:
- Workshop sessions
- Organic meals
For more information visit: Co-Op America's Website
Co-op America and Global Exchange host a two-day celebration of green initiatives in local communities for people, business, and the environment. The festival brings together community members, green enterprises, social and environmental groups, and visionary thinkers.
The Green Festivals include events such as:
- Authors and guest speakers
- How-to workshops
- Activities for kid
- Organic beer and wine tasting
- Film screenings
- A marketplace of eco-friendly businesses
- Vegetarian cuisine
- Live music
For more information visit: The Green Festivals Website
Green Building Expo
The Green Building Expo is hosted by the Scottsdale Green Building Program along with the cities of Tempe, Phoenix, and Scottsdale. The expo focuses on bringing people together to share knowledge on all things green and sustainable.
The expo includes events on green building techniques, innovations in energy efficiency, and a variety of environmentally low-impact products and services. Some of the events offered in include:
- Guest speakers
- Film screenings
For more information visit: The Green Building Expo Website
Philadelphia Sustainable Business Network Annual Conference
The Philadelphia Sustainable Business Network Annual Conference brings together non-profit leaders, entrepreneurs, citizens, and government officials who care about building a sustainable and a green economy in Philadelphia.
The conference includes:
- Product expos
- Film screenings
- A silent auction
For more information visit: The Philadelphia Sustainable Business Network Annual Conference Website