Sustainable Business Networks Overview

(adapted from the Adena Institute Sustainable Business Networks initiative).

Building strong green and local economies through community and business networking.

A major strategic initiative in support of sustainable community development is the creation of Sustainable Business Networks, community based membership associations, providing marketing, learning and consultation services to member businesses and consumers.

This overview of opportunities for Sustainable Business Networks has been developed in order to support the cross-fertilization of ideas and initiatives which various organizations have been promoting under the "Green and Local" banner.

In particular, we are working with the Ohio Valley initiatives to establish or support Kentucky and regional membership and/or chapters for the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies and the American Independent Business Alliance, Co-op America and other associations which have great promise to shift our economy and communities towards green and local practices.

Sustainable Business Networks are a way for businesses, communities and consumers to build local living economies and gain the benefits of sustainable business practice:

Buy, build, design, produce and sell:

"Local, fresh, certified and quality controlled green, renewable, socially responsible, fair trade goods and services at low cost with real, substantive profits, a living wage with health and quality of life benefits for business and community members."

The Sustainable Business Projects of Adena Institute are affiliated with networks and associations which provide values based advantages to businesses, non-profits, consumers and communities committed to adopting sustainable paths to the future.

Examples of these networks include:

Sustainable Business Network

Sustainable Connections

Business Alliance for Local Livable Economies (BALLE)

American Independent Business Association

Co-op America

National Green Pages

Boycott Action News

Economic Justice Alliance

Non-Profit Service Center

Social Venture Network

Green Procurement Project

Global Fair Trade Alliance

Social Entrepreneurship Network

...and other network, service and trade organizations committed to sustainable business practice.

Sustainable Business Networks are a way for businesses and the community at large to support each other in creating an economic future which places environment and equity as equal priorities with economics.

People, planet and profits are all served by businesses which genuinely embrace sustainable business practices.

Most importantly, sustainable business WORKS, by almost any measure: profit, health, opportunity or community well being.

Through Sustainable Business Networks, businesses and consumers can make individual and large group decisions, sales and purchases which support their values and their bottom lines.

Join us in benefiting from this green business revolution which has been growing over the last generation to the point where it is now the most viable, sustainable approach to local-global business practice.

The Adena Sustainable Business Networks initiatives are currently encouraging association development and affiliation for the Sustainable Business Network in Kentucky, Appalachia, and the Ohio Valley Region of the US, along with global partner opportunities and networking.

Below and in the column to the right are descriptions of resources and links to some primary documents of some Sustainable Business Networks and BALLE. In the coming months more information and opportunities for local sustainable business sales and marketing will be offered as part of Sustainable Business Networks initiatives.

Please take a look at these introductory materials, and check back soon!

All of these materials and more are available through the Business Aliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) at Check them out!

What do local networks do? - BALLE

Local Network Initiative - Social Venture Network

Who we are and what we do - Sustainable Connections

Marketplace Services - BALLE

FAQ on local networks - BALLE


If you would like to participate in the Louisville and Lexington Sustainable Business Networks intitiatives, please contact us at

If you would like to join us in the creation of the Kentucky and Indiana Sustainable Business Networks, please contact us at:

If you would like to learn more or join in the development of next generation business tools and software for global applications supporting local, sustainable, socially responsible business practice and purchasing, please contact us at:


As a business association initiative, SBN initiatives serve participants in many ways:

Connecting local, green businesses and consumers: Sustainable Business Networks connect businesses with each other and the resources they need to "buy local and go green". SBN's also bring green consumers to local green businesses, educates new green consumers and create new community and socially responsible market opportunities.

Establishing local green institutions: Establishing and advancing the formation of sustainable business networks, marketing, public-private consortia, incubators, investment, management and procurement tools, software and standards and practices.

Learning, Research and Resources: Providing or networking for learning, research, financing and business opportunities in support of sustainable development.

Local-Global: Fair Trade and Business means attracting green, socially responsible businesses to the community and selling locally and for export beyond the region in ways which support sustainable development at home and abroad. Providing access to these markets and practices is a crucial service of Sustainable Business Nertworks.

Living Wages and Living Economies for a just society. Sustainable Business Networks support a variety of economic justice and boycott campaigns through their business practices and partnerships with communities. Businesses which participate in Sustainable Business Networks not only enjoy the "High Profits - High Wages" benefits of High Road economic development strategies. They also have the competitive advantage of knowing about and acting in support of social justice campaigns and market trends.


In order to network and effectively support the creation of sustainable business networks, the Adena sustainable business network working group developed relationships with a number of initiatives and projects which help local business people and consumers tools, information and market development support we need to grow local living economies. The result has been the Sustainable Business Networks initiative, which has established a provisional statewide chapter of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies here, and partnered with a variety of networks here in developing joint education and member benefit opportunities, such as the Green Business Conference, Bluegrass Green Living Expo workshops, Sustainable Communities Network, Sustainable Louisville consortia and others.

A major tenet of the Sustainable Business Networks initiative is that green and local business and community networks must partner not only on events but also on marketing, education procurement, and member benefits. That is, members and their associations will have to continue to develop principled and strategic partnerships as "networks of networks" in order to move forward rapidly and effectively in building successful transitions to sustainability which actually include the majority of business es and communities of our region. Honoring and including the diversity of initiatives and their provenance, constituencies and complementarity is crucial in forging successful partnerships.

Some of these networks can be found at the following links: Please note that these links are just a small listing and will be greatly expanded in the near future, to include a variety of businesses and organizations with sustainable marketing information and referrals.

Berea Outpost:

Bluegrass Energy and Green Living Expo


Sustainable Communities Network

Community Farm Alliance:

Kentucky Economic Justice Alliance

Kentucky Fresh Buy Local Campaign:

Business Alliance for Local Living Economies

American Independent Business Association

Keep Louisville Wierd:

CoAlliance of Businsesses:


Sustainable Business Network:

National Green Pages:

Co-op America:

Sustainable Connections:

Communicas Sustainable Development Consultants:

Louisville Neighborhoods network Sustainable Neighborhood Business initiative:

The majority of decisions which determine the sustainability of the products and services we produce and consume are made by businesses at the local level. Green, local business practices provide value, efficiency, and profitability to enterprises. Most businesses are small, and lack sufficient access to the broad range of green products and services available. Sustainable Business Networks initiatives aim to change this by weaving together networks to provide the organizational and information solutions businesses need to "go green and local".

Check back here soon to see updates and links to Sustainable Business Networks resource and website, organizational services, benefits and business opportunities briefings.

No comments: