Simplified: Building Sustainable Connections is a new nonprofit that's working to help businesses make more sustainable decisions. Here's what the organization wants to do for Sioux Falls.

Why it matters

  • The new nonprofit launched on Earth Day of this year with the goal to give more sustainable businesses a platform for their initiatives, Founder and Executive Director Amber Lively said.
  • Building Sustainable Connections is starting a Green Business Directory to compile a list of businesses in Sioux Falls that have taken sustainable initiatives.
  • Lively said the directory and the certification highlights businesses who function with a triple bottom line, which is an equal focus on people, planet, and profit.
"Our primary goal is to get that message out there that being sustainable is not only good for the environment, but it's great for a business's profits," Lively said. "It makes companies that much more appealing to those individuals that are looking to vote with their dollar and support environmentally forward thinking businesses."

Tell me more about the certification

To join the Green Business Directory, there's a checklist of 45 sustainability items to go through. The directory works on a tiered system, so a business can qualify for a bronze, silver or gold level based on the number they can cross off the list.

  • Some of the items on the list include paperless invoicing, using composting containers, using LED bulbs and even having electric based fleets.
  • The list is more like a roadmap Lively said. Businesses can start crossing items off and use others to learn about ways to improve their sustainability.

Americold, a cold storage warehouse in Sioux Falls, was the first business to join the directory.

  • Americold General Manager Eric Smith said it was easier than he thought to get to the certification based on the company's previous sustainability measures.
"As a, a manager of a facility of our size and the scope of what we do, where there's a lot opportunity more than a household might have, I think it's important that those businesses take the opportunity to do so wherever they can," Smith said.

For now, the directory is only open to Sioux Falls businesses as the qualification requires enrollment in a Sioux Falls recycling program, but Lively said she's open to working with other businesses depending on their recycling service.

What happens next?

Next on the list for the nonprofit is a Green Networking Event at Augustana University on Oct. 25 to promote networking and sustainable connections.

  • The event is open to the public and Smith will speak as the first member of the Green Business Directory.
"Our main goal right now is to just make sustainability more accessible," Lively said. "I feel as though there's often, especially when it comes to a business perspective, this idea that sustainability is all or nothing, but sustainability is a journey, and it starts with little things."