While you were busy enjoying their new “Cronut” croissant donuts, earlier this month Dunkin’ Donuts announced the goal of 100 new DD Green™ certified restaurants by year end 2016.

DD Green is a green building certification program that will assist franchisees build sustainable, energy efficient restaurants. 

To be recognized as a DD Green restaurant, a franchisee will follow a five stage program during the planning, design and construction of a store. The five stages of the DD Green program include Site Development, Store Efficiency, Healthy Indoors, Sustainable Operations and Innovation and Community. Each stage of the DD Green strategies provides a synopsis of the strategy goal, specific educational information, guidance and metrics to achieve with the design and construction team. Each stage focuses on securing sustainable strategies and practices for restaurants, including the mitigation of construction pollution and waste recycling, installation of energy efficient LED light fixtures, mechanical units and water saving plumbing fixtures, implementation of healthy environments with indoor air quality management and use of zero VOC paints, and sustainable building operations training for employees.

Franchisees can achieve two different levels within the program, DD Green, where stores meet minimum sustainable requirements, and DD Green Elite, where stores reach beyond requirements, and achieve additional sustainable goals.

The company announced the grand opening of the first DD Green certified Dunkin’ Donuts restaurant at 5560 E. 7th Street in Long Beach, California.

As part of its corporate social responsibility, the company, more than two years ago focused on sustainability and began a move to cage free eggs and gestation crate free pork. Paul Twohig, President, Dunkin’ Donuts U.S. and Canada, and Dunkin’ Donuts & Baskin-Robbins Europe and Latin America, said, "We are committed to building greener restaurants, and this new program is designed to reduce our overall environmental footprint and improve operating costs for our franchisees."

DD Green is an example of sustainability initiatives by an increasing number of U.S. companies. While some pursue third party certification of their real estate as green through the U.S. Green Building Council, others find LEED is not an ideal option and create their own program. This law firm has worked with more than four score and seven organizations creating their own green building programs. And we regularly provide third party validation of green including “opinions of counsel” that specific projects are “certifiable” or otherwise in compliance with specific green building requirements.

Curious here, is that UL Environmental is competing head to head with the USGBC when it says that it “audits and certifies sustainability programs” including DD Green.

Proprietary corporate sustainability programs, including green building certifications, are growing by leaps and bounds. With more than 11,000 restaurants, Dunkin’ Donuts will soon be a leader in sustainability including in green building.