Descriptive Title: Distribution of green businesses

Geographic Unit of Analysis: Point

Number of businesses meeting green business standards (2011)
NeighborhoodNumber% of total
Bayview/Hunter's Point 5 3%
Bernal Heights 6 4%
Castro/Upper Market 1 1%
Chinatown 3 2%
Excelsior 0 0%
Financial District/South Beach 45 27%
Glen Park
Golden Gate Park 1 1%
Haight Ashbury 6 4%
Hayes Valley
Inner Richmond 2 1%
Inner Sunset 3 2%
Lakeshore 0 0%
Lincoln Park
Lone Mountain/USF
Marina 2 1%
McLaren Park
Mission 15 9%
Mission Bay
Nob Hill 2 1%
Noe Valley 2 1%
North Beach 4 2%
Outer Mission 0 0%
Outer Richmond 2 1%
Pacific Heights 2 1%
Potrero Hill 12 7%
Presidio 5 3%
Presidio Heights 0 0%
Russian Hill 3 2%
San Francisco 168 100%
Seacliff 0 0%
South of Market 26 15%
Treasure Island 0 0%
Twin Peaks 0 0%
Visitacion Valley 0 0%
West of Twin Peaks 2 1%
Western Addition 2 1%

Why Is This An Indicator Of Health and Sustainability?

The underlying goal of environmental laws and regulations, especially those targeting air quality, wastewater discharge, storm water management, chemical storage and handling, and hazardous waste management is to prevent human exposure to substances known to harm health. Recent studies reveal that buildings with good overall environmental quality can reduce the rate of respiratory disease, allergy, asthma, sick building symptoms, and enhance worker performance. By taking steps to insure compliance with environmental regulations, businesses are protecting the health of their employees as well as customers who patron such goods and services.

Interpretation and Geographic Equity Analysis

This indicator shows the location and distribution of businesses participating in the San Francisco Green Business Program across the city.  As of October 2011, there were 168 businesses that received the Green Business Program certification in San Francisco.  Roughly one of every three green businesses in San Francisco is located in the Financial District, and one of every six green businesses is located in South of Market.   The Mission, Potrero Hill, and Downtown/Civic Center represent the other neighborhoods with ten or more green businesses.  In contrast, the Castro/Upper Market, Diamond Heights/Glen Park, and Ocean View each have only one green business in their neighborhoods. 

According to the Green Business Directory, the majority of green businesses provide services: such as services provided by architects, engineers and designers; environmental consultants; marketing and communications, and legal services.  However there are a mix of other green businesses across the city that provide food, lodging and recreational opportunities, sell retail and supplies, and other types of business.  For the most recent list of green businesses, visit:

The goal of the San Francisco Green Business Program is to achieve a healthier and cleaner environment by helping businesses integrate environmental responsibility into their operations in a manner that is sustainable as well as profitable.  The San Francisco Green Business Program is a cooperative effort that assists businesses and public agencies to come into compliance with all environmental regulations, and take steps to prevent pollution and conserve resources. Certified green businesses and public agencies may display the Green Business logo on their premises and in their advertising. The Green Business Program markets the logo so that consumers can identify environmentally responsible businesses. The public's growing environmental awareness represents purchasing power that can motivate businesses to become "green." 

The Green Business Program recognizes businesses that 1) comply with all environmental regulations (including those pertaining to air quality, wastewater discharge, storm water management, chemical storage and handling, and hazardous waste management) and, 2) take steps to go beyond compliance to adopt environmentally-sound practices in four areas - energy efficiency, water conservation, solid and hazardous waste reduction, and pollution prevention. 

The Program is a partnership of various City agencies that promote, recognize and provide hands-on support to local businesses that operate in an environmentally responsible way. The San Francisco Green Business Team includes the San Francisco Department of Public Health, San Francisco Department of the Environment, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and various other agencies participating in an advisory role. This team provides free pollution prevention and resource conservation assistance to the San Francisco business community."


Please note that the number of green businesses are increasing all the time. This indicator is only updated annually, and therefore does not represent the most up to date list of green businesses. As such, we recommend visiting: for the most up to date list of green businesses

Proximity to a green business does not mean that local residents will necessarily benefit for the business’s sustainable business practices.  Many of the certified green businesses offer services that are provided to other businesses and institutions across the city and regionally.  Thus the certified green business’s business practices help promote regional environmental sustainability but may not directly impact the local environmental quality. 

Proximity to a green business also does not represent accessibility to local residents.  Accessibility to local residents is impacted by many factors including the types of services offered, the costs of services, the hours of operation, the languages spoken and cultural competency of the staff, cultural preferences and income of the residents, the availability of and cost of other similar services in the neighborhood, access to transportation, topography, and perceived safety. 

Although green business practices can reduce environmental exposures and burdens which may positively impact health, health is also impacted by the types of services or products offered and the treatment of the business’s employees.  For example, a green business may have sustainable business practices, but sell unhealthy foods or not provide their workers with minimum wage, overtime and paid sick days as required by law.  Green business practices are just one of multiple dimensions of health that are impacted by businesses.

Data Source

List of green businesses from San Francisco Department of the Environment, obtained October 2011.

Map and table prepared by City and County of San Francisco, Department of Public Health, Environmental Health Section using ArcGIS software.  Table data are presented by planning neighborhood.

Detailed information regarding census data, geographic units of analysis, their definitions, and their boundaries can be found at the following links:

Interactive boundaries map