Sustainable Business Alliance

The Sustainable Business Alliance is a membership organization for companies committed to greater environmental and socially responsible business practices. Our members are a diverse community of over 100 sustainable businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area. We strengthen our businesses through networking, education, and partnership opportunities. We learn from and support each other through strong community and collaboration.

Our mission is to promote sustainable business practices, nurture the environmentally-committed business sector, advocate the environmentally progressive policies, and improve the environmental profile of economic activity in the East Bay.

If you are already implementing sustainable practices in your business, or would like to learn more about greening your business, consider membership in our growing network of eco conscious entrepreneurs.

phone (510)757-4954
PO Box 11944 Berkeley, CA 94712

Available by appointment only


Office space available at East Bay Express starting January 1

posted by sustainablebiz on Dec 7th, 2011 at 10:07 pm

The Eastbay Express is leasing out some office space (3 quasi-private offices located in the front lobby area) for $750/month. That covers everything… cleaning, facilities, pg&e, internet, etc. Desks are included if wanted. You only need your own office supplies.

You also have access to a large conference room (which has a conference table as well as a pool table!) as well as a small conference room, kitchenette, and two bathrooms. There is ample free parking in the neighborhood. It’s located in Jack London Square at 620 3rd Street, Oakland, between Jefferson and Martin Luther King. It is a second floor office with no elevator access. 10 minute walk from 12th Street BART (or take the free B Shuttle that stops just a few blocks away). A few blocks from the Oakland/SF Ferry terminal, too. A ten minute walk from the Amtrak station. There are lots of restaurants in the area as well. Quick access to HWYs 880 and 980 as well.

The office is separated, but shared with the East Bay Express larger office space.

For more information, please contact:

Jody Colley, Publisher

East Bay Express



Manufacturing is making a revival in America! And manufacturers are hiring again!

posted by sustainablebiz on Dec 7th, 2011 at 6:14 am

Qualifications? Able to work 24-hour shifts, seven days a week, no breaks, no sick leave, no healthcare. Yes, manufacturing is making a comeback but if you’re human, you're ineligble.

It’s all about the bottom-line, efficiency and . . . robotics. Humans? Mechanical whimps, too independent, unnecessarily creative. These; however, are the key qualifications for our new local economies.

Sometimes, news travels at postal rates but success comes with a whole new mindset. For those who’ve come to the realization that writing resumes and applying for minimum wage jobs is nothing more than familiar repetition, then the words of Mark Twain should resonate: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

That’s what two million American workers did in September of this year. They upped and left their jobs to explore, dream and discover - without another job lined up . . . even in this horrific economy!! Many opted to start their own businesses, out of their homes, on the cheap using free tools that weren't available just five years ago. Each month, 500,000 new businesses launch across this country, most of them employing one to four people – the growing legion of microenterprises.

But a successful microenterprise requires an understanding of what forms business sustainability rather than the unfortunate statistic that 60 percent crash and burn by their third year. That’s why Urban FIRE is a critical step in any new business success. And that’s not just us saying that. The national magazine, Yes!, selected Urban FIRE as one of the seven best ways for America to bring jobs back into our local economy. (Fall, 2011 Issue)

Great businesses that are fun, profitable and long-lasting require owners to engage in five simple areas and to focus their interests beyond just a hobby into a passionate pursuit. The steps are simple but tough for most people to finish. Finishing is the difference between one’s ability to succeed or fail. In Urban FIRE, we come together as a group to learn; and science shows us that group learning and feedback makes for better comprehension, better stick-to-it-ness and stronger odds for success.

To make business even more understandable and interesting, Urban FIRE is a visual experience of entrepreneurial training unlike anything you’ll have experienced. The results; however, will be greater than you’ll have thought possible. And as an added bonus, Urban FIRE was selected by world-renowned Kiva as its first domestic loan partner for interest-free loans to our graduates who qualify.

Our next 12-Saturday training begins on January 7 from 9am to 12pm. To sign up, check out our website at www.urbanfire.orgOur tuition is downright cheap; on a sliding scale from $100 down to $50 for each of our 12-week programs.

Or come to the orientation on Saturdays, December 10 or 17 from 10am to 11am at the Oakland Housing Authority building, 935 Union St., in West Oakland.

Join us as 2012 is celebrated as the "Year of the Local Entrepreneur."


Grow your Business in 2012

posted by sustainablebiz on Nov 23rd, 2011 at 5:46 am

The Alliance for Community Development invites you to network and learn how you can grow your business in 2012, and beyond.   Know what it takes to get the rewards of all your hard work and effort as a business owner through exit planning.  Hear expert presenter Amy Cole, M&A Advisor and Certified Business Broker, ABI.

In small group discussions, learn from Created in Oakland Program graduates how you can run your business and complete growth strategies.  Industries grads represent are:

  • Business Services
  • Professional Services
  • Retail products and services
  • Food and Catering

Click below to learn more:


RSVP required:  RSVP Now!


Veil of Secrecy at the Fed Lifted, Time for Change

posted by sustainablebiz on Nov 13th, 2011 at 10:30 pm

By Sen. Bernie Sanders, Reader Supported News, Nov. 8 2011

As a result of the greed, recklessness, and illegal behavior on Wall Street, the American people have experienced the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Millions of Americans, through no fault of their own, have lost their jobs, homes, life savings, and ability to send their kids to college. Small businesses have been unable to get the credit they need to expand their businesses, and credit is still extremely tight. Wages as a share of national income are now at the lowest level since the Great Depression, and the number of Americans living in poverty is at an all-time high.

Meanwhile, when small-business owners were being turned down for loans at private banks and millions of Americans were being kicked out of their homes, the Federal Reserve provided the largest taxpayer-financed bailout in the history of the world to Wall Street and too-big-to-fail institutions, with virtually no strings attached.

Over two years ago, I asked Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, a few simple questions that I thought the American people had a right to know: Who got money through the Fed bailout? How much did they receive? What were the terms of this assistance?

Incredibly, the chairman of the Fed refused to answer these fundamental questions about how trillions of taxpayer dollars were being spent.

The American people are finally getting answers to these questions thanks to an amendment I included in the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill which required the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to audit and investigate conflicts of interest at the Fed. Those answers raise grave questions about the Federal Reserve and how it operates -- and whose interests it serves.

As a result of these GAO reports, we learned that the Federal Reserve provided a jaw-dropping $16 trillion in total financial assistance to every major financial institution in the country as well as a number of corporations, wealthy individuals and central banks throughout the world.

The GAO also revealed that many of the people who serve as directors of the 12 Federal Reserve Banks come from the exact same financial institutions that the Fed is in charge of regulating. Further, the GAO found that at least 18 current and former Fed board members were affiliated with banks and companies that received emergency loans from the Federal Reserve during the financial crisis. In other words, the people "regulating" the banks were the exact same people who were being "regulated." Talk about the fox guarding the henhouse!

The emergency response from the Fed appears to have created two systems of government in America: one for Wall Street, and another for everyone else. While the rich and powerful were "too big to fail" and were given an endless supply of cheap credit, ordinary Americans, by the tens of millions, were allowed to fail. They lost their homes. They lost their jobs. They lost their life savings. And, they lost their hope for the future. This is not what American democracy is supposed to look like. It is time for change at the Fed - real change.

Among the GAO's key findings is that the Fed lacks a comprehensive system to deal with conflicts of interest, despite the serious potential for abuse. In fact, according to the GAO, the Fed actually provided conflict of interest waivers to employees and private contractors so they could keep investments in the same financial institutions and corporations that were given emergency loans.

The GAO has detailed instance after instance of top executives of corporations and financial institutions using their influence as Federal Reserve directors to financially benefit their firms, and, in at least one instance, themselves.

For example, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase served on the New York Fed's board of directors at the same time that his bank received more than $390 billion in financial assistance from the Fed. Moreover, JP Morgan Chase served as one of the clearing banks for the Fed's emergency lending programs.

Getting this type of disclosure was not easy. Wall Street and the Federal Reserve fought it every step of the way. But, as difficult as it was to lift the veil of secrecy at the Fed, it will be even harder to reform the Fed so that it serves the needs of all Americans, and not just Wall Street. But, that is exactly what we have to do.

To get this process started, I have asked some of the leading economists in this country to serve on an advisory committee to provide Congress with legislative options to reform the Federal Reserve.

Here are some of the questions that I have asked this advisory committee to explore:

  1. How can we structurally reform the Fed to make our nation's central bank a more democratic institution responsive to the needs of ordinary Americans, end conflicts of interest, and increase transparency? What are the best practices that central banks in other countries have developed that we can learn from? Compared with central banks in Europe, Canada, and Australia, the GAO found that the Federal Reserve does not do a good job in disclosing potential conflicts of interest and other essential elements of transparency.

  2. At a time when 16.5 percent of our people are unemployed or under-employed, how can we strengthen the Federal Reserve's full-employment mandate and ensure that the Fed conducts monetary policy to achieve maximum employment? When Wall Street was on the verge of collapse, the Federal Reserve acted with a fierce sense of urgency to save the financial system. We need the Fed to act with the same boldness to combat the unemployment crisis.

  3. The Federal Reserve has a responsibility to ensure the safety and soundness of financial institutions and to contain systemic risks in financial markets. Given that the top six financial institutions in the country now have assets equivalent to 65 percent of our GDP, more than $9 trillion, is there any reason why this extraordinary concentration of ownership should not be broken up? Should a bank that is "too big to fail" be allowed to exist?

  4. The Federal Reserve has the responsibility to protect the credit rights of consumers. At a time when credit card issuers are charging millions of Americans interest rates of 25 percent or more, should policy options be established to ensure that the Federal Reserve and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau protect consumers against predatory lending, usury, and exorbitant fees in the financial services industry?

  5. At a time when the dream of homeownership has turned into the nightmare of foreclosure for too many Americans, what role should the Federal Reserve be playing in providing relief to homeowners who are underwater on their mortgages, combating the foreclosure crisis, and making housing more affordable?

  6. At a time when the United States has the most inequitable distribution of wealth and income of any major country, and the greatest gap between the very rich and everyone else since 1928, what policies can be established at the Federal Reserve which reduces income and wealth inequality in the US?

Given the growth of the Occupy Wall Street movement and given the concerns of millions of Americans about Wall Street, we now have a unique opportunity to make significant changes to one of the most powerful and secretive agencies of the federal government. One thing is abundantly clear: Americans deserve a Federal Reserve that works for them, not just the CEOs on Wall Street.


Supporting Independent Business, Community Banks and Credit Unions

posted by sustainablebiz on Nov 2nd, 2011 at 7:17 pm

Dear Oakland Grown members,

While hard at work on 2011 holiday and long term plans to support you and our local economy as whole, we must take a small break to note today's Occupy Oakland General Strike as an opportunity to remind people and ourselves that the way to a new, equitable healthy economy is to direct our dollars to small, locally-owned businesses and artists, and to our local banks and credit unions.

This is what we at Oakland Grown work on every day.  And this is what everyone can focus on today.

Folks can take this moment to remind people to

1) Spend their money with local independent businesses, and
2) Use cash or credit/debit cards from community banks and credit unions, not big banks.

Here, we share some resources from the community and the nation.

See blog post by Pamela Drake from the Lakeshore BID

A sign to download and print: Working For For those of you staying open today while in support of the occupy sentiment...A community effort called Working For has developed a sign that any of you with storefronts and spaces can use to put on their doors, showing that you, as a small local business, are open for business and Working for, and as part of, the 99%. Feel free to use widely- this is open source!

The sign is downloadable at:


At the Plaza - 4:30pm

Oakland Grown steering committee will be holding its regular Weds. meeting near the plaza today at The Rising Loafer Cafe at 4:30 with signs and markers, if anyone wants to come down and make a sign in support of their own beliefs. 


Bigger picture and sneak preview for the holiday season...

Tomorrow, Oakland Grown will send you a message with details and links for you to participate in our holiday programs, including an Oakland gift guide, the gift card, advertising, events, and much more. As a head's up, our campaign slogan this year is:

Love Oakland? Put your money where your heart is.”


Connecting Nationally

We are also helping to lead a national holiday campaign to support locally-owned independent businesses across the country... the Shift Your Shopping campaign. The idea is to get national attention on our locallly-focused solutions to re-building our economy.

So... we encourage everyone to participate in and share our collective long-term efforts to the problems that the Occupy movement draws attention to today.


Spread the word...Like, Follow, Retweet, and Share the following:

Shift Your Shopping
Twitter hashtag: #shiftyourshopping

Move Your Money (to community banks and credit unions)

Oakland Grown

Oakland Grown Gift Card Launch Campaign
Contribute to the local independent business gift card!

Thanks everyone! We'll be back with holiday info tomorrow!  Best of luck to you today in whatever you do.

The Oakland Grown Steering Committee


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