Best Practice

Step 3 Recognition Best Practice for Category A and B cities

Category A and B cities: implement this best practice by completing any two actions.

Category C cities: implement this best practice by completing any one action.

Optional Metric for Step 4 Recognition

Metric # 16: Jobs and Employment


Cities typically assist businesses within their borders to become more financially stable and positive community assets. Small locally owned businesses in particular keep dollars recirculating in the community. Small business owners have a personal stake in the social and economic well-being of their community, and the same entrepreneurial and problem-solving skills required to run a farm or small business can readily be applied to community issues.

City assistance to local businesses can be direct or structured through existing statewide programs, such as Minnesota Main Street. Increasingly, businesses that adopt more sustainable practices and produce more sustainable products and services report cost savings, lowered compliance costs, improved risk management, new/more loyal customers, and motivated employees. This best practice calls on cities, working with local business associations and support organizations, to shift some of their existing assistance efforts to support businesses in meeting the market need for a greener economy.

Greenstep Advisor

Melissa Wenzel light skin, short dark brown hair, brown eyes, large smile. Wearing a blue shirt with bicycle images printed and a purple sweater.

Melissa Wenzel, Built Environment Sustainability Administrator, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, 651/757-2251,,

Connection to State Policy

The Minnesota Toxic Pollution Prevention Act (Minn. Stat. 115D) of the early 1990s included policy direction and funding for business assistance from the MPCA that has moved businesses and others beyond compliance with environmental regulations and into the realm of preventing the use and generation of waste and pollution. This economic development strategy has proven itself over the past 25 years in Minnesota.


Major Benefit

  • See case studies of businesses saving money by reducing waste, conserving natural resources and saving energy from Minnesota Waste Wise / Minnesota Energy Smart and the Minnesota Technical Assistance Program .
  • State and county taxes placed on business waste bills present a tax incentive for businesses to separate materials for reuse, recycling and composting, for which implementation assistance is available from each county's solid waste office.
  • The American Sustainable Business Council articulates the triple bottom line principle of People, Planet and Profit, and believes government has a role side-by-side with the marketplace: to structure markets so they work effectively, to manage the impact of externalities, and to ensure that public resources receive stewardship for the long term.
  • Green tourism actions aim to deliver a number of benefits:
    • Increased recycling of dollars in the local economy
    • Employment of more local residents at living wages
    • More business for local producers and other locally owned businesses
    • Minimized energy and water use and environmental impacts
    • Increased use of sustainably produced or organically grown products
    • Engagement of customers in local culture