2011 Green Plus Community, Chamber of Commerce Winners Announced


The Institute for Sustainable Development announced the winners of its annual Green Plus Community and Green Plus Chamber of Commerce Awards. The Institute, with Partners for Livable Communities and the American Chamber of Commerce Executives, makes the annual awards to chambers of commerce to recognize exceptional leadership in sustainable, triple bottom line economic development. This year, communities are also being recognized as well for their public-private partnerships to advance a sustainable economy.

Winners of the Green Plus Community Awards include

Cleveland, Ohio

Savannah, Georgia

North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Winners of the Green Plus Chamber of Commerce Awards include

  • The Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce for Leadership in Sustainable Economic Development
  • The Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce for Leadership in Member Sustainability

The Green Plus Awards will be presented at a luncheon Thursday, June 16th, at the Gold LEED Certified PNC Bank regional headquarters in Washington, D.C. The Awards ceremony will be followed by a panel discussion of the winners. The audience will include representatives of the White House, U.S. mayors, legislators, and legislative staffers, chamber of commerce executives and other business leaders.

GlaxoSmithKline is Presenting Sponsor of the Green Plus Awards. The Institute and Partners for Livable Communities are also grateful to Co-Presenters the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce, the Chapel Hill – Carrboro Chamber of Commerce, and to PNC Bank for making these awards possible. (For photos and footage of the Green Plus Awards for Sustainable Enterprises, held in February at North Carolina Research Triangle Park headquarters, please click here).

Partners for Livable Communities has documented chamber leadership in sustainability extensively in its study, “The Dollars & Sense of Green Business,” made possible by support from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

The 2010 Green Plus Chamber of Commerce winners included

About the Winners: The 2011 Green Plus Community Awards

Cleveland, Ohio

Always an innovator in public-private partnerships, Cleveland, Ohio has outdone itself in creating a community-wide effort to spur sustainable economic development. Under the leadership of Mayor Frank Jackson, Cleveland city government has led to Sustainable Cleveland: 2019 — a ten-year sustainability planning process involving thousands of area residents. Cleveland has also created one of the most ambitions PACE districts in the U.S. – the Northeast Ohio Advanced Energy District – and implemented a first-of-its kind policy rewarding bidders on city contracts for their sustainability efforts. The Cleveland Foundation – the oldest community foundation in the United States – is driving Evergreen Cooperatives Foundation financed, employee-owned, green enterprises in some of the city’s most economically challenged neighborhoods. Last year, Cleveland’s chamber of commerce (the Greater Cleveland Partnership / Council of the Smaller Enterprises) was recognized for its partnership with the Ohio Department of Energy to help small businesses save and make money through energy efficiency.

Savannah, Georgia

Mayor Otis Johnson and members of Savannah’s City Council have led an aggressive effort to make Savannah a more environmentally sustainable community with programs like Thrive. Thrive is a process City Government began in late 2007, when staff started collecting data from throughout the City to establish the size of Savannah’s carbon footprint. The City conducted employee commuter surveys and analyzed electricity consumption, fuel usage, and gas emissions. By plugging all of this data into a formula created by the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, a measurement of the city’s carbon footprint was established and reduction goals were set.

In recent years Savannah has been pro-active in converting all of its traffic lights to more energy-efficient LED’s. It has expanded its use of treated wastewater for irrigation, and has been a leader in adopting Georgia’s first graywater re-used ordinance. All 2,500 City employees have been tasked with coming up with ideas to create a healthier environment for Savannah residents. The City is looking at the way it operates its vehicles – from idling policies to the routes employees take. City government is also installing energy-efficient bulbs, and motion detectors to turn them off when no one’s around. The City is looking at everything from the kinds of computers and printers it buys to the kinds of materials it builds with to the latest technology that converts waste into energy.

North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

The North Strand Coastal Wind Team was formed with the goal of turning North Myrtle Beach into a demonstration city for energy independence and success in the green economy. The public-private partnership comprises the North Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce, city government, the Savannah River National Laboratory, Coastal Carolina University’s Center for Marine and Wetland Studies, the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Authority, and the South Carolina Energy Office. Together, these organizations took the first step in bringing wind energy to North Myrtle Beach.

2011 Green Plus Chamber of Commerce Winners

Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce (TN): Clean Air, Clean Industries

In 1969, Chattanooga was noted for having the worst air quality in the United States. Chattanooga’s exceptional success in cleaning up its air quality led it to attract new companies that shared the city’s environmental values – notably the first U.S. home of Volkswagen AG’s manufacturing operations. Volkswagen is investing about one billion US dollars in the development of the facility at Chattanooga, which will be among the world’s most advanced and environmentally compatible automobile plants. 1,700 people are already employed directly by Volkswagen in Chattanooga. 10,000 additional jobs will be created in the U.S. component supply industry.

Gatlinburg (TN) Chamber of Commerce

In 2008, the Gatlinburg Chamber launched the Gatlinburg Goes Green program with the goal of educating and recognizing its members for taking steps to minimize their environmental impact.  One of the first of its kind across the country, the program goes hand in hand with the city’s efforts to keep Gatlinburg, the gateway to Smoky Mountain National Park, healthy and thriving. Over 75% of the Gatlinburg Chambers members have participated in the program to date.



The Institute for Sustainable Development is a non-profit university-business partnership to help smaller employers and their communities benefit from triple bottom line sustainability, and to help foster a new generation of sustainability leaders. For more information about the Institute for Sustainable Development, please see www.gogreenplus.org.

Partners for Livable Communities (PLC), is a national, nonprofit leadership organization working to improve the livability of communities by promoting quality of life, economic development, and social equity. For more information about Partners for Livable Communities, please visit www.livable.org.

The American Chamber of Commerce Executives’ (ACCE) mission is to support and develop chamber professionals to lead businesses and their communities. For more information about the ACCE, please visit http://www.acce.org/main/about-acce/.

The Institute for Sustainable Development / Green Plus


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