Frequently Asked Questions: Shops
Who can participate in the Sustainable Pittsburgh Shop program?
Any shop or retailer located within the following Pennsylvania counties is welcome and encouraged to participate in the program and earn designation: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Washington, Westmoreland.
This program is designed with small retail or “mom-and-pop” businesses in mind. To derive the maximum benefit from the Sustainable Pittsburgh Shop program, participating businesses should:
- Have at least one established storefront location in southwestern Pennsylvania or be a purveyor of goods produced in southwestern Pennsylvania;
- Have no more than 50 locations nationwide;
- Have 0-50 employees at each participating location;
- Be an independently owned business;
- Derive at least 75% of revenues from offerings not including tobacco, gasoline, and/or pornographic material; and
- Not sell automatic firearms.
Think your organization might be a better fit for the Sustainable Pittsburgh Workplace program? Learn more about which program best fits your needs here.
Is there a fee to participate?
The fee to participate is $50, and covers access to Sustainable Pittsburgh’s custom online portal, participation in the Sustainable Pittsburgh Shop program, designation, and a designation promo kit. The fee is reassessed every three years.
Note that this fee is waived through 2022 – meaning your three-year designation is completely free if you complete it this year!
When the fee goes into effect in 2023, fee waivers will be made available to organizations that are unable to pay but would still like to earn designation as a Sustainable Pittsburgh Shop. Please don’t let cost be a barrier to participating! Contact email@example.com, or 412-258-6642 to request a waiver.
How long does the Sustainable Pittsburgh Shop designation last?
Designation as a Sustainable Pittsburgh Shop lasts for three years. After three years, a shop has the opportunity to renew its designation. We highly encourage all shops to renew their designations prior to expiration, as the renewal process is expedited for shops whose designations are still active.
What are the benefits of participating in the Sustainable Pittsburgh Shop program?
- Gain access to a framework of actions that promote business resilience and long-term success, along with resources to improve performance and support your business.
- Adopt practices to reduce business risk and expense, better attract employees, support the local community, and stand out with customers.
- Earn a digital badge for placement on your websites and in social media, advertisements, and other consumer-facing channels.
- Be included in Sustainable Pittsburgh’s public shopping directory and map, which is searchable by neighborhood and designation level.
My storefront has more than one location where I’d like to earn Sustainable Pittsburgh Shop designation. Do I need to complete the process more than once to earn designation at all my shop locations?
If you have more than one location, we make it easy to earn designation with all your locations. Once designation is earned at one location, accounts can be duplicated for editability to simplify the process for you.
How can I get started on earning Sustainable Pittsburgh Shop designation?
The Sustainable Pittsburgh Shop program is accessible via a tailored online portal where you can view the questions included in the program, provide answers, and access reports that summarize your progress. Visit this link to create an account and complete the onboarding process.
For more information about how to use the online portal you can view this short tutorial. How to use Sustainable Pittsburgh’s Performance Program Platform – YouTube
How can I earn points and achieve a designation through the Sustainable Pittsburgh Shop program?
The Sustainable Pittsburgh Shop program provides a framework of questions to help your shop assess its sustainability progress to date and identify areas for future impact. Each response you provide will earn a given number of points.
Shops may earn a Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum designation through the Sustainable Pittsburgh Shop program. To achieve a given level of designation, shops must both a) earn a given percentage of the points available in the program, and b) respond affirmatively to a set of required questions specific to each level. Point percentage and question requirements for each level can be found here.
Who from my shop’s staff can complete the performance assessment to earn Sustainable Pittsburgh Shop designation?
We understand that shops are a busy environment and that time can be a factor. For this reason, any one person or team of people from the shop staff can be designated by the owner/general manager to complete the assessment. All we ask is that the shop owner/general manager reviews the completed assessment for accuracy and validity prior to submission.
Once a shop earns a level of designation, can it reassess later in order to achieve a higher level?
Yes, a shop can be reassessed at any time during the duration of its designation with no additional cost. Sustainable Pittsburgh can also assist with shops striving to achieve a higher designation level.
Who created the Sustainable Pittsburgh Shop designation?
This designation program was developed by Sustainable Pittsburgh with the guidance of independent local shops and other subject matter experts.
How were the designation levels created and selected?
The Sustainable Pittsburgh Shop criteria were created through a national benchmarking of best practices in consultation with small retail businesses and community development experts from Southwestern Pennsylvania.
This program is aimed at sustainability in shops. If I am a consumer, what can I do to help our region become more sustainable?
Support designated Sustainable Pittsburgh Shops! You can also encourage your favorite shops, restaurants, workplaces, and even your municipality to participate in Sustainable Pittsburgh designation programs.
What if I have a question or issue that was not addressed in this FAQ section?
We are here to help! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-258-6642. We will update these FAQs accordingly, as one shop’s experience may be helpful to others.