American Chamber of Commerce Executives Announces Green Plus™ Partnership

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Partnership To Make Green Plus™ Available to 1.2 million U.S. & Canadian Businesses

The American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) announced today that it will partner with the North Carolina Research Triangle based Institute for Sustainable Development to offer Green Plus™, a program to help small businesses succeed while becoming stronger stewards of the environment and their communities.

Businesses participating in Green Plus™ are evaluated on their business, environmental and community engagement practices, receive university-based coaching, access to a national business network, and may be Certified Green Plus™ upon achieving high scores across three categories. Green Plus™ certification is not industry or product specific, but instead is a recognition program that works across sectors for small businesses in any industry.

“Small and medium sized businesses are critical employers and engines of new job creation – and often have the fewest resources to pursue sustainability. Today, they are under more pressure to demonstrate positive stewardship of their environment and communities,” said ACCE President Mick Fleming. “Green Plus™ will help America’s chambers of commerce lead on these issues and give their members a competitive edge in changing times,” Fleming concluded.

The partnership will make Green Plus™ widely accessible to the 1.2 million businesses represented by the ACCE’s chamber of commerce members, building the brand value of Green Plus™ certification for smaller enterprises and creating a stronger network through which participating businesses can develop leads and share expertise with one another.

ACCE and its foundation will be the key marketing channel for Green Plus™ nationwide, and will engage its chamber executive members in ongoing improvement and expansion of the program. Green Plus™ will be ACCE’s lead sustainability training, networking and certification program for small and medium sized enterprises. Through Green Plus™, the Institute for Sustainable Development will work with its chamber and university partners to prepare small enterprises for new trends in business, the environment and corporate social responsibility.

“Retail customers and large private and public sector purchasers are increasing requiring smaller enterprises to be conscious of their environmental impact and community engagement,” said Chris Carmody, Director of the Institute for Sustainable Development. “As these kinds of standards become the norm, American small business will need affordable assistance in meeting them,” Carmody concluded.

Established in 1914, ACCE is the only national association uniquely serving the professional development needs of individuals managing chambers of commerce throughout the United States and Canada.ACCE has 1,250 chamber of commerce members. The mission of ACCE is to support and develop chamber professionals to lead businesses and their communities.

The Institute for Sustainable Development is a non-profit partnership of higher education, business and philanthropic leadership. The Institute’s mission is to combine university expertise with business leadership to assist small and medium sized enterprises in meeting sustainability challenges. Institute partners comprise the Duke University’s Center for International and its Nicholas School of the Environment; University of North Carolina’s Center for Global Initiatives and its School of Social Work; the Chapel Hill-Carrboro and Greater Durham Chambers of Commerce; and business and philanthropic leaders GlaxoSmithKline, Lenovo, and the Fenwick Foundation. Currently, the Institute has Green Plus™ partnerships with the Cary, Chapel Hill-Carrboro, Greater Durham, Morrisville and Greater Raleigh Chambers of Commerce and with the Lancaster (PA) Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

In 2007, Tony Waldrop, Vice Chancellor of Research and Economic Development at UNC Chapel Hill, commissioned the development of a business plan to assist small and medium sized businesses nationwide in becoming more sustainable. After the plan was developed by the Center for Sustainable Enterprise at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler School of Business, the Institute worked with chambers of commerce and smaller enterprises in the Midwest and southeast to beta test the Green Plus™ tool and build a university and peer-training network.

We educate, motivate, and recognize smaller enterprises for their efforts towards becoming more sustainable. We’re here to offer tangible, practical tips and expertise in sustainability.
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