Northern California—and the Bay Area, in particular—has been a leader in sustainability for a long time. That’s shown every day through our love for local food, our diverse communities, our charitable organizations, our dedicated programs and initiatives, and our community of driven entrepreneurs. This guide highlights 10 Bay Area businesses to cover every single one of those characteristics, and each featured business or nonprofit offers you the ability to shop products or purchase services. That way, you can show your love for the world, local business and global sustainability, too!
A leader in the sustainable fashion movement, Amour Vert means “green love” in French, a name that perfectly showcases this San Francisco-based brand’s passion for sustainability. Made almost entirely in California, most often within a few miles of their San Francisco offices, the clothing at Amour Vert is made in limited quantities using signature materials like a modal fabric made from sustainably harvested beechwood fibers, organic cotton, OEKO-TEX certified silk, fibers made from sustainably farmed eucalyptus trees, and more. And in addition to all of this, they also plant a tree in North America every time you purchase a tee. To date, they’ve planted more than 220,000 trees!
Everlane is one of the most well-known names in sustainable fashion—and for good reason. Headquartered right here in San Francisco, this team is driven by what they call radical transparency. That means they partner with the best, ethical factories around the world, source only the finest materials, then share those stories with the consumer—down to the true cost of every product, including materials, labor and transportation. And because the focus at Everlane is on basics, their high-quality pieces are designed to last years—even decades—so you don’t have to throw them out or replace them.
Based in an Oakland workshop and inspired by adventure and exploration, Juniper Ridge is a fragrance, incense and soap company creating scents you won’t find anywhere else—literally! That’s because they harvest their ingredients directly from real, native-plant sources. Theirs are distilled and extracted from wildflowers, plants, bark, moss, mushrooms and tree trimmings harvested on the trails of the American West. Think Big Sur, the Mojave Desert and the glacial canyons of the Sierra Nevada. They even create a selection of extremely small-batch, trail-made fragrances designed as aromatic snapshots, capturing the wind on a particular day in a particular wild place. And their sustainability goes beyond old world perfume-making practices and wild harvesting; they also monitor their harvesting areas for regrowth, are actively involved in native plant restoration projects from San Diego to Seattle, and donate 10% of all profits to Western Wilderness Defense organizations. To shop their fragrances, click here.
At this San Francisco-based nonprofit, sustainability goes far past environmentally friendly practices, bringing social and economic sustainability into the mix, too. As a part of the California Green Business Network, their team has proven their work makes our communities healthier and more livable while also conserving resources and saving money. And that classification seems to be built right into their mission: to cultivate low-income food entrepreneurs as they formalize and grow their businesses. This Mission District team provides affordable commercial kitchen space to local entrepreneurs, offers mentorship and access to market opportunities, and amplifies the voices of their entrepreneurs. Uniquely, they focus primarily on providing resources to women of color and immigrant communities. You can support them by donating here, purchasing gift boxes here, ordering catering here, and keeping an eye out for their upcoming market in the Tenderloin. You can get updates on that project here.
At The New Wheel, their mission is not only to change how we get around but to bring good things and fresh ideas into the lives of people in our community and California as a whole. Graduates of UC Berkeley, Founders Brett and Karen have built a San Francisco Green Business that both uses sustainable practices and provides high-tech electric bicycles so you can, too! With storefronts in Bernal Heights and Larkspur, you can get your bike serviced, shop the top e-bike brands, and even test ride as many bikes as you need before you make a decision. Their trade-in program is another green practice that allows you to trade-in and recycle your used bicycle—electric or standard—before upgrading to an e-bike. For more information on that program, click here.
The Plant Cafe is a health-directed, organic restaurant that now has five locations in San Francisco. Unlike many restaurants who operate on the “organic whenever possible” directive, The Plant is always 100% organic and has been for more than a decade, making their locally sourced menus of organic ingredients, ethically raised, organic meats and sustainable seafood one of the healthiest and most sustainable in the region. They’ve even been awarded the highest environmental awards and certification available in the Bay Area by The Nature Conservancy and Eat Real. To see the menu of scratch-made foods, click here.
At this San Francisco-based shoe brand, sustainably and green practices are part of everything they do, and that starts with the shoe itself. The uppers of Rothy’s shoes are knitted from recycled plastic water bottles, the soles are made from vegan, recyclable, carbon-free rubber and TPU, the adhesives are vegan and non-toxic, and the washable insoles contain bio-based caster oil and recycled materials. At the three year mark, their team has repurposed more than 30 million one-use plastic bottles! Beyond the shoes, they also own their manufacturing workshop so they can continually strive for zero waste production and Rothy’s shoe boxes are strong enough to ship on their own so their team doesn’t waste boxes. To shop their flats, check out the website here.
Super Duper is one of the most popular local chain restaurants in the Bay Area, and that’s mostly because they create some of the region’s best burgers at phenomenal prices. Seriously, their Brandt Farms beef is humanely-raised, vegetarian-fed, ground fresh daily, and sourced from a family-owned ranch, and you can get a double patty burger for less than $10. Additionally, their buns are baked by an artisan baker in San Francisco, their non-GMO potatoes are grown in North America, and their shakes and cones are made with organic cream from Straus Family Creamery, a small, family-owned, organic farm located on the shores of Tomales Bay. Beyond the food, all packaging at Super Duper is 100% compostable, too. In fact, they don’t even have trash cans—just recycling and compost!
At True Botanicals, self-care includes caring for the world we live in, and their small, mighty team of mostly women works every day to create natural and non-toxic beauty products that actually work. These products are MADE SAFE certified and are developed, produced, packaged and shipped in ways that minimize impact on the environment. It’s a win-win, especially when you get to support a Northern California company headquartered in San Francisco, too! When you visit their San Francisco shop, you can also get a facial, pick your perfume at the Aromatherapy Bar, get a sneak peek at The Lab, and attend special events.
The team at Unspun combines our Bay Area tech culture with sustainable fashion for perfect fitting jeans and a lot less waste. The venture-backed robotics and apparel company builds custom jeans for each consumer on-demand. This intentional manufacturing model means unpurchased jeans aren’t wasted (because they’re not even made!) and they’ll actually fit. Their mission also includes a goal to reduce global carbon emissions by at least 1% in part by using environmentally conscious materials of the highest quality. After you shop online or visit the brick and mortar store in Potrero Hill, your jeans are woven by local seamstresses, are shipped for free, and arrive in two to four weeks. You can learn more about how it works here.
Do you know a sustainable Bay Area business?
Help us support local and help our global community by telling us about them in the comments below!