COSE Offers Grants to Help Businesses Meet Cleveland’s Sustainability Guidelines

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(By John Funk for the Plain Dealer) “The Council of Smaller Enterprises is offering grants to companies that want to qualify for more favorable treatment when bidding to supply the city of Cleveland.

The city since March has given a discount of up to 4 percent to local companies in the five-county area that can demonstrate they have adopted sustainable business practices, such as conserving energy, reducing waste and supporting community initiatives.

To help small companies prove they are sustainable, COSE has been offering a program called Green Plus in conjunction with the Institute for Sustainable Development of Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Companies that complete Green Plus are certified for sustainability and will receive the more favorable treatment when bidding for city contracts.

Green Plus is a $550 program. That fee is reduced to $150 with the grant and COSE membership. COSE is funding the grants with money from the Ohio Department of Development.

COSE is offering a second grant, $250, toward the cost of an energy audit. The cost of commercial energy audits vary by the size of the building.

The COSE scholarships come on the eve of the city’s second annual sustainability summit, set for Wednesday and Thursday at Cleveland Public Hall.

The city in August 2009 began what Mayor Frank Jackson said would be a 10-year campaign to remake the region’s manufacturing and business culture around the principles of sustainability.

Big corporations, such as Wal-Mart, had already moved to put in place sustainable practices, such as cutting energy consumption and requiring all of its thousands of suppliers to reduce packaging or make it recyclable. Today, Wal-Mart scores its suppliers for sustainability.

But moving to sustainability can initially be expensive and difficult for smaller companies, despite savings later on from reduced energy bills.”

Click here to see the original article in the Plain Dealer.

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