Frequently Asked Questions

Photo Credit: Chesapeake Bay Program

What does the acronym “B4B” stand for?

Businesses for the Bay, a program of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay.

What is the mission of Businesses for the Bay?

The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay’s B4B program encourages businesses within the Chesapeake Bay watershed to take voluntary and measurable actions to support protection and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay and help the public understand the valuable role of the business community in sustaining the health of the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed.

Why should my business participate?

Research shows that corporate responsibility, including environmental sustainability, has become a crucial part of business success. Businesses for the Bay offers the perfect way to help your business connect with other businesses, share success stories as well as sustainability challenges, positively impact your community, and reach your business’ sustainability goals. By joining B4B, your business team will receive recognition for its efforts and you will be able to network with other like-minded businesses to maximize your sustainability efforts. Businesses often make voluntary efforts which help improve the environment for the Chesapeake Bay. This program is one way for businesses to be recognized and to encourage others to take similar actions.

Who should join this association of businesses working towards a common goal?

All businesses, throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed, are encouraged to join. The Alliance works with businesses of all sizes and from all sectors, with or without sustainability goals. Employee interest in sustainability projects is a plus.

How can businesses help restore the Chesapeake Bay?

The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States. More than 17.5 million people live in the watershed; it’s where we work, live, and play. The Bay’s health is inextricably linked to our own. However, our impact on the Chesapeake Bay watershed has been tremendous. The Bay is dangerously out of balance and the long term health of the Chesapeake Bay is in question. Improving the health of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries should be a top priority for everyone in the Watershed. This heightened awareness creates a powerful opportunity for businesses to address their own environmental footprints, as well as play a greater role in influencing how we think and act as consumers. Businesses throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed can, and do, play a critical role in protecting and restoring the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed through Businesses for the Bay.

How can my business join Businesses for the Bay?

Your company team can join as a Member, a Sponsor, or both!

What does my business’ team need to do to be a Businesses for the Bay Member?

First, please visit the Membership Requirements page on our website. Your team must commit to at least one Action tied to the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement, pledge to actively participate in B4B and encourage employees to volunteer, submit an online membership application, and pay the membership fee. Members receive special benefits. Find out more here.

My business is a B4B Member; are there guidelines to follow for B4B logo usage?

Yes, as a Member, you may use the B4B logo but please download the “B4B Logo Usage Guidelines” here. B4B members should contact Corinne Stephens, Alliance Business Partnerships Manager, at B4B@allianceforthebay.org for a copy of the B4B logo.

When is our initial Businesses for the Bay Membership application due?

Anytime! Applications are rolling. Apply via our online membership application.

I work for a governmental or non-profit organization. May we join Businesses for the Bay?

Yes! Please join us as a B4B Networking Partner. Our governmental and non-profit Networking Partners participate in Businesses for the Bay events, network with businesses and each other, and help us raise awareness about this membership association and the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The Alliance can also help spread the word about your organization’s events. It’s free to participate!

What does the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement have to do with Businesses for the Bay?

The Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement was signed by the federal government agencies and local state governments in 2014. It set goals that will advance restoration and protection of the Chesapeake Bay watershed by 2025. The Agreement contains five Themes, intended to create focus and alignment, in order to achieve the goals. The Themes are Clean Water, Abundant Life (Fisheries and Habitats), Conserved Lands, Climate Change Resiliency, and Engaged Communities. The Agreement provides a regional context within which to communicate and showcase B4B accomplishments, links business sustainability with Chesapeake Bay Goals, and the measurable Actions B4B members will commit to uniquely correlate to the 5 Themes listed above. Please plan to commit to at least one Action from one of the 5 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement Themes.

What is a Project and an Action?

Details about example Projects and descriptive Actions can be found here. Actions are the descriptive subsets of the Projects that your team should plan to commit to for B4B Membership. B4B Members commit to at least one Action from one of the 5 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement Themes, per year. A Member team may commit to and receive credit for any number of Actions in as many Themes as they choose. Members may also commit to Actions under the “Other Green Initiatives” Theme. If your team has its own Project ideas, in addition to those listed, please contact Corinne Stephens, Alliance Business Partnerships Manager, for guidance at B4B@allianceforthebay.org.

What is a Metric?

Metrics are the Action-specific measurements that B4B Members collect and report on every year. Metrics provide a standard for measuring and evaluating the actions that B4B Members commit to. Simply, metrics are results, measured in a defined unit.

Can a team become a B4B Member if their business is not in compliance with an environmental law?

Your business must be in compliance, or working towards compliance, with all applicable environmental regulations and requirements.

I am already doing projects, but they are fully required by the state laws. May my team apply for B4B Membership, using only these projects as our actions that we commit to?

No, the B4B Actions your team commits to must voluntarily go above and beyond requirements. The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay staff are happy to assist you with your projects to help you determine how you can go above and beyond requirements.

I would like to participate in Businesses for the Bay, but do not have a team dedicated to making commitments to Actions. How can I be involved?

If you’d like to be a B4B Member, the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay can work with you to determine an Action that will support your goals. Or, as a first step, join as a B4B Sponsor! Sponsors donate an annual contribution in support of B4B, either in addition to or independent of Membership. Sponsors receive special benefits. Find out more here.

If my company has more than one physical location within the Chesapeake Bay watershed, is it possible to only include one facility in the Businesses for the Bay Membership?

Yes! A B4B Member can either be the team at one physical location or an overarching, parent company. Not all facilities of a company need to be included.

We have 7 facilities, owned by the same parent company. Can all 7 facilities’ teams be Businesses for the Bay Members?

Yes! Each facility team may apply for individual B4B Membership. Or, all 7 may want to apply under the overarching, parent company using the “bundle discount”. Either way, each facility team will be recognized as a Member as long as that team fulfills all Membership requirements. Each facility will be recognized separately on the Businesses for the Bay website and in member lists. Each facility will each receive its own certificate and program-specific press release, if applicable.

My business does not have any land and is located in a small office space. Can we be a Businesses for the Bay Member?

Yes! There are several examples of Actions your team can take without land, located here. We also encourage you to work with the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay to develop your own Actions that will help fulfill your team’s goals.

My team is already working on environmental projects. May we apply for B4B Membership with these Actions?

Yes! You may apply for B4B Membership with new or maintenance Actions. Please plan to commit to at least one Action from one of the 5 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement Themes. If you do not see your current environmental project listed in the example Actions here, or would prefer to develop your own Actions for your team, please contact Corinne Stephens, Alliance Business Partnerships Manager, at B4B@allianceforthebay.org.

How much money does it cost to Sponsor Businesses for the Bay?

There are three B4B Sponsorship levels; Supporting Sponsors donate $1,000-$4,999 annually, Partner Sponsors donate $5000- $9,999 annually, and Leadership Sponsors donate $10,000 or more annually to the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, on behalf of and specifically for Businesses for the Bay.

How much money does it cost to be a Businesses for the Bay Member?

Membership fees are based on the number of employees working for the entity applying for membership (facility or parent company), as described here. There is also a bundle discount available for parent companies with up to 10 facility Member applications submitted in same year.

Can I pay more money to be a higher level Businesses for the Bay Member?

No, Membership levels are commitment-based. If your team commits to and fulfills 1 Action, you’ll be a Bronze Member, if your team commits to and fulfills 3 Actions, you’ll be a Silver Member, and if your team commits to and fulfills 5 or more Actions, you’ll be a Gold Member. (The first year, the membership level and benefits are based on the number of Actions the team commits to in the initial membership application).

How long does Businesses for the Bay Sponsorship last?

B4B Sponsors renew annually, based on the date the previous donation was submitted.

How long does Businesses for the Bay Membership last?

B4B Members renew annually, based on the date the previous application was submitted.

Can my team change the Action(s) we committed to at a time other than the annual renewal?

It’s preferred that the Actions continue for an entire year, but if you would like to commit to a new or different Action in the middle of your membership period, please contact Corinne Stephens, Alliance Business Partnerships Manager, at B4B@allianceforthebay.org for assistance.

Will someone come and inspect the Actions we’ve implemented?

No, by filling out the application, you self-certify that you will actively participate in B4B and carry out the Actions you committed to. If you are interested in inviting an Alliance staff member to your property to help with your Actions, or participate in a team meeting, please contact Corinne Stephens, Alliance Business Partnerships Manager, at B4B@allianceforthebay.org.

Who runs Businesses for the Bay?

The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay (Alliance) oversees the B4B program. B4B is By Business, For Business and a business-based Steering Committee helps the Alliance develop the program. Meet the Steering Committee here.

For more information, and assistance in becoming a B4B Member, Sponsor, or Networking Partner, please contact Corinne Stephens, Alliance Business Partnerships Manager at B4B@allianceforthebay.org.