Sustainable Business Institute

Sustainable Business Institute

Sustainable Business Institute

The Sustainable Business Institute (SBI) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to bringing about increased understanding of, and commitment to, the concept of sustainability within business and communities worldwide. SBI was founded in 1994 by business leaders who recognize sustainability as a strategic driver for enhanced competitiveness and profitability. SBI continues to serve today`s most influential decision-makers, corporate executives and future leaders with conferences, seminars, media and education initiatives and user group programs.

Company details

467 Saratoga Avenue #1411 , San Jose , CA 95129 USA
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Business Type:
Professional association
Industry Type:
Environmental Management
Market Focus:
Globally (various continents)
Year Founded:

What is Corporate Sustainability?
Corporate sustainability is the business practice of improving profitability, competitiveness, and market share while preserving natural resources and ensuring the well-being of all life on this planet.

Why is Corporate Sustainability important?
Private and public business choices enormously impact the quality of life in our communities. Effectively managing our business footprint addresses current market dynamics while ensuring a better quality of life for future generations. The bottom line is sustainable business practices make good business sense. Corporate sustainability offers a compelling return on investment by driving innovation, managing risk, and improving stakeholder relations.

Our Vision
The Sustainable Business Institute (SBI) is the premier catalyst for the business community and public to take the lead in implementing equitable worldwide sustainability practices.

Our Mission
To benefit the public through outreach initiatives that encourage business leaders to identify, create, implement and communicate economically viable sustainability practices.

Our Initiatives
SBI educates business leaders and the public through a variety of programs including the CEO Forum on Sustainable Business and the Seal of Sustainability.

  • CEO Forum on Sustainable Business: Since its founding in 1994, the SBI has convened five CEO Forums on Sustainable Business. This year's Sixth Annual CEO Forum on Sustainable Business will further augment the ability of SBI to conduct its educational outreach on an increasingly global scale. READ MORE HERE
  • Seal of Sustainability: Another vehicle to promote sustainable business practices is the Seal of Sustainability (the “Seal”). The Seal recognizes businesses that are committed to sustainable business practices economically, environmentally, and socially. The Seal also serves as a powerful tool for the public. When individuals choose to do business with a recipient company over a non-recipient company, it signals that they value socially and environmentally responsible corporate practices and support businesses that value the same. READ MORE HERE
  • Sustainable Business User Group (SBUG): Sustainable Business User Group, hosted by a variety of business leaders, facilitates bimonthly learning, teaching, supporting, and networking opportunities amongst internal stakeholders interested in implementing sustainable business practices, which includes increasing ROI and managing risk.
  • Youth Leadership and Mentoring: The SBI recognizes that today’s youth will become tomorrow’s leaders in sustainable business. To foster that potential, we have mentored over 800 students and offered hundreds of internships and numerous dialogues between senior executives with younger generations at our SBI Forums.

The SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS INSTITUTE is the oldest private enterprise-oriented sustainability organization in the world. The Sustainable Business Forum (SBF) was founded in 1994 by Jessica Fullmer, and since then, the organization has completed numerous projects and initiatives. It became a nonprofit 501(c)(3) in December 1995 and was renamed SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS INSTITUTE (SBI) in 2000 to reflect its educational purpose. Over the past ten years the SBI has grown to a nationally and globally recognized institution for the private sector, garnering cross industry support and participation from companies such as: Dow Jones, Novo Nordisk, Intel, Patagonia, ST Microelectronics, and Texas Instruments.

SBI since 1994 has grown to now reach corporate business leaders worldwide. SBI as a result has become one of the foremost organizations dedicated to the education of our most influential decision-makers - corporate CEO's and executives - on issues concerning sustainability and sustainable business practices.

We are now progressing to our 6th CEO Forum on Sustainable Business which will happen simultaneously with the hard launch of the Seal of Sustainability.

Historical timeline of SBI and its initiatives

Jessica Fullmer was introduced to sustainability in 1991 when she was asked to chair the March 1993 Dallas, Texas Conference “The Quest for Sustainability: Businesses Face the Challenge.”

SBI was founded by Jessica Fullmer and a team of business volunteers as an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with the charter – “Motivating Business to Enhance Profitability through Sustainability.” They created a stimulating, informative, supportive organization where leaders, from various industries and small to large companies, can cross-pollinate ideas and share lessons learned in sustainable business practices.

The Sustainable Business Institute became a non profit -501c(3)

CEO Forum on Sustainable Business The first CEO Forum on Sustainable Business, an annual conference where chief executive officers can hold an open dialogue with their peers educated and experienced in sustainable business practices. Many early adopters in the private sector developed a competitive advantage by integrating sustainability into their company's business initiatives.

Future Leaders Program
Since the first CEO Forum on Sustainable Business over 800 students ranging from middle school to PhD students have been mentored and participated in our events. Presentations have also been given at numerous colleges and universities including Stanford and UC Santa Cruz.

Since Walter Cronkite’s hosting of the 1999 2nd CEO Forum on Sustainable Business, SBI produced a TV special for Public Broadcasting Corporation (PBS) for use in PBS Educational Channel Network. The first episode of “Sustainable Business” a television special on sustainability with Walter Cronkite Productions, was broadcast in October of 1999, and was aired throughout 2000 on PBS/BTU television. This was linked via cable television networks to over two thousand colleges and universities.

Global Outreach
SBI has a commitment to assist and collaborate with other worldwide organizations. One early collaboration was with Business in the Environment (BiE, now BiC) in London, where SBI down linked a CEO to their conference for a television event on sustainable business. This led to BiE’s invitation of Jessica and her guests to have an audience with HRH Prince Charles in 1999.

The idea of the Seal of Sustainability was proposed by one of SBI’s key advisors at a strategic offsite in June 2000. The Seal Team was then assembled and met many times weekly to prepare for the Seal’s soft launch at the 2001 CEO Forum on Sustainable Business.
Seal of Sustainability

The Seal of Sustainability ™ is awarded to honor those businesses and business leaders throughout the world who have distinguished themselves through the implementation of sustainable business practices that rise above the norm. The Seal serves a dual purpose to inform the public of those achievements.

3rd CEO Forum on Sustainable Business provided an important venue for CEO's to air and confront diverse viewpoints. Some of the issues covered were: competitors Interface Carpet and Collins-Aikman presented opposing views over the best carpet recycling methods; Patagonia and Dow Chemical over the optimum methodology of manufacturing clothing and other alternative product from corn; Novo Nordisk and Stonybrook Farms over the role of enzymes in manufacturing; Dow Jones and Innovest over the ways to index companies to Sustainability for Investors; Electric Power Research Institute and the University of North Carolina Business School over the role of the “have not's” in the development of the world economy. STMicroelectronics and Hewlett Packard each delved into sustainability in the emerging and developing countries.

The 4th CEO Forum on Sustainable Business held on March 6, 2001 at the Hotel Sofitel in Redwood City, CA, where the first three recipients of the Seal of Sustainability were announced. The first recipients of the Seal of Sustainability included Puroast Coffee Co. (Woodland, CA), Novozymes Biotech (Denmark), and General Motors on a corporate level (Detroit, MI).

The notorious energy crisis of California starting 2001 led to the SBI holding the first major conference with business, government and the public to seek solutions. The title was: “California Energy Summit 2002: Taking Charge of Our Future”. Nine key organizations co-sponsored this event from January 22-24. Former Interior Secretary and Presidential candidate Bruce Babbit was the honorary chair of this conference. Principal speakers were executives from industry and national and state government.

SBI has been involved with presenting at Earth Day programs including the events at Hewlett Packard and the City of San Jose. In 2002 Jessica Fullmer was asked to speak on sustainability at Hewlett-Packard to inform staff members on its benefits.

The 5th CEO Forum on Sustainable Business was held on October 15-16, 2002 at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose, CA. Speakers included: Newman’s Own Organics, President and CEO Nell Newman, STMicroelectronics, Vice President Mike McClarence, Domini Social Investments, Founder and CEO Amy Domini, and BP America, Vice President Sylvia Baca. Three more companies were awarded the Sealof Sustainability including Hot Lips Pizza (Portland, OR), ST Microelectronics (France), and Beijing Glorious Land Agriculture Co. (China).

On March 3, 2004 the Sustainable Business Institute jointly hosted “Sustainability in Action” Forum with the Stanford Graduate School of Business to educate students, faculty, and staff on integrating social and environmental practices as core elements of their business models.

The Sustainable Business User Group was launched on November 16, 2004 as a meeting to for and by companies on the sustainable business journey to support and share experiences where successful sustainable business management practices and methods, as well as barriers to implementation, are reviewed and discussed.

Major undertaking by volunteers from corporations, NGOs, and other backgrounds to upgrade the Seal of Sustainability. A wide range of stakeholders, including the EPA Environmental Supplier Partnership and the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable worked to create a comprehensive, credible, and fact-based application, while volunteers from numerous organizations worked to formulate the branding of the Seal. Efforts culminated in the Seal of Sustainability Launch event in Washington, D.C. in October, 2007. Concurrently, SBI continued to hold Sustainable Business User Groups and corporate events to promote sustainable business leadership.