Have You Heard About Sustainable Pittsburgh?

Hero image courtesy of The Aspiring Gentleman.

We’re all trying to do our part to engage in more sustainable practices to lessen the burden of waste and overuse on the environment. While there are many things we can do at the individual level--reduce or eliminate single-use plastics, walk or bike more often, and work to lessen the amount of water we waste--there are also sustainable practices that can benefit our greater community. 

In case you didn’t already know, Pittsburgh has worked hard to turn around its former image of a polluted, industrial city and has embraced more and more green initiatives, which have helped the larger community of Southwestern PA. One organization in particular has taken the reins and spearheaded many programs and directives to help our region become more aware of sustainable environmental and social concerns, and that’s Sustainable Pittsburgh.

Keep reading if you’d like to know more about what this organization has done for our region, and how you can show your support of these ideas and practices to help it grow!

What is Sustainable Pittsburgh?

Putting sustainability to the forefront of policy making in our area

the skyline of Pittsburgh
Sustainable Pittsburgh has worked to increase sustainability awareness since 1998. Image courtesy of Britannica.

Sustainable Pittsburgh is a non-profit organization that was born out of the 1998 visit of the President’s Council on Sustainable Development that involved planning and envisioning practices and projects that could increase the sustainability level of the city and surrounding area. Although many people associate sustainability solely with environmental issues, it means much more than that, and also encompasses social equity, community support, stakeholder engagement, and successful economic practices as well. Sustainable Pittsburgh works with a multitude of different actors across the political, business, community, and distribution networks to build more engagement, communication, and connection to help leaders and civilians focus on sustainable practices.

They focus their efforts based on four core principles: 

  • Create communities of sustainability. We all benefit when our communities work together to achieve more inclusion and more sustainable practices. Sustainable Pittsburgh helps local businesses do this through their performance programs.
  • Work to change the narrative. Many people aren’t aware that sustainability is something that is possible! Working to inform people about how sustainability can have an impact on them is a crucial step. 
  • Be involved with policy. Sustainability must be a part of local policy decisions and should be considered in any regional decision-making conversations.
  • Provide expertise. The experts behind Sustainable Pittsburgh offer their services and expertise to businesses and communities in Southwestern PA to help raise awareness about sustainable initiatives and programs.

Sustainable Pittsburgh works to create practices and encourage discussions that have an impact on the society, economy, and environment of the Pittsburgh region. 

Sustainable Pittsburgh Performance Programs

While this organization works to drive sustainability awareness, create connections with diverse sectors, and include sustainable practices into local government policies, they also have programs designed for businesses and communities to join. These programs are tailored to the unique needs, challenges, and resources of our region, and help businesses and communities strive for improved social, environmental, and economic practices.

people eating in a busy cafe
The list of sustainably certified restaurants in the Pittsburgh region is growing! Image courtesy of Ignite

Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurants

Restaurants can show their support of the region and the environment by getting sustainably certified by Sustainable Pittsburgh. In doing so, they show their commitment to participating in business practices that benefit the environment and the local economy. This program has four different levels of sustainability designation, since no two restaurants are alike. This gives certified restaurants flexibility when it comes to how they can best enact the sustainable practices that are right for them.

Regardless of the level of designation, certified restaurants in the area attract more satisfied customers who appreciate their effort towards improving the Pittsburgh area’s environmental and economic practices. They not only are working to improve their community and the planet, but certified restaurants are also showing their support of local farms and business and improving access to nutritional food.

Sustainable Pittsburgh Shops

There is also a program for local Pittsburgh shops to get certified as sustainable by Sustainable Pittsburgh. If you’re a small business owner who cares about sustainability and wants to make a difference in the local community, you can apply to have your business certified sustainable. Sustainable Pittsburgh provides an assessment form to fill out in order to determine the best steps to take to get your business sustainably certified.

Sustainable Pennsylvania Community Certification

Local communities can also be designated sustainable! Whether you work for your municipality or are an engaged community member, by working with Sustainable Pittsburgh, you can help your community learn about, adopt, and advance sustainability goals that can have a big impact. There are five levels of sustainability, and the experts at Sustainable Pittsburgh will work with your community leaders to help determine which one is attainable for you. 

In addition to these programs, Sustainable Pittsburgh also offers a program for local CEOs and executive level officers. These leaders have the ability to shape how their companies do business, and when they choose to maximize their growth in a sustainable way, the whole region can benefit. The CEOs for Sustainability program seeks out those willing to drive positive economic, environmental, and community change that improves not only their company’s financial performance, but the vitality of the community.

What Can You Do to Help Bring Awareness to Sustainable Pittsburgh?

Get involved in supporting what Sustainable Pittsburgh does!

people shopping at the Pittsburgh farmer's market
Show your support of sustainable businesses and spread the word! Image courtesy of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Now that you know Sustainable Pittsburgh is a major driving force behind the increasing incorporation of environmental, economic, and community sustainability options, it’s time to do your part! If you’re like many Pittsburghers, you want to encourage more businesses and local municipalities to embrace sustainable practices so our whole region can benefit. This is why we thought it might be helpful to list a few of the businesses certified by Sustainable Pittsburgh that you can support. 

Don’t forget to raise awareness of these businesses in your own circle, you never know how fast word of mouth can travel, especially when potential customers learn that supporting these businesses can have a big impact on the health of our region--and the planet as a whole!

Here you can find the whole list of sustainable businesses.

Sustainable Restaurants

Nicky’s Thai Kitchen

This restaurant is proudly certified sustainable, and has been serving the local community traditional Thai cuisine for years. With three locations to try their delicious menu items, you’ll be counting down the days until your next visit!

Bado’s Pizza Grill and Ale House

A cozy ale house that serves some amazing pizza should definitely be on your list of sustainable restaurants to support. Located in Mt. Lebanon, Bado’s is a great place to meet up with friends and family, watch the game, and enjoy some delicious food.


Eleven is a contemporary kitchen that’s housed in a renovated warehouse in the Strip District. This popular spot has a menu that changes with the seasons, so there’s always something new to try!

Sustainable Shops

Love, Pittsburgh

Whether you want a little something to send to a Pittsburgher who lives elsewhere, or you just want a cute memento for yourself, this little shop in Mt. Washington can help. Love, Pittsburgh stocks locally made art and crafts, as well as all kinds of Pittsburgh memorabilia, so you’re sure to find something you love.

Emilie Cohen Studios

If you have artwork that needs a little help, whether restoration or framing, the expert artisan Emilie Cohen Studios can help. This studio can also help out with furniture gilding, decorative matting, or custom framing. 

Evolve Modern Hairdressing

Located in trendy Lawrenceville, you can’t go wrong with a cut or a style at Evolve Modern Hairdressing. Schedule your appointment or color consultation online! 

Sustainable Pittsburgh has made great strides when it comes to creating and advancing sustainable strategies that work for Southwestern PA. Be sure to show your support for these businesses and their forward thinking practices that help our region environmentally, economically, and socially.