The Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) and its small business partner, the Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE), have received Green Plus™ Certification that recognizes the implementation of sustainability practices and progress toward incorporating energy-efficient practices into the workplace. It also recognizes COSE’s leadership role in empowering small businesses to take steps toward greater sustainability and energy efficiency.
The certification was awarded by the North Carolina Research Triangle-based Institute for Sustainable Development, a combined effort of universities and chambers of commerce to provide smaller employers with affordable tools to improve their bottom-line sustainability. The GCP/COSE is one of only four chambers in the U.S. that has received this certification. Others are the Durham (N.C.) Chamber, Chapel Hill-Carrboro (N.C.) Chamber, and the Columbus Area (Ind.) Chamber. Three NEO businesses – Lubestop, Pantek Inc., and The Taylor Companies -have also earned the national Green Plus Certification.
GCP/COSE is actively working to minimize the organization’s collective impact on the environment and reduce expenses. Staff-related activities, led by the GCP/COSE “Green Team,” include:
- Setting organizational sustainability metrics and goals
- Sharing “green” tips with staff through the monthly GCP 411 employee e-newsletter to promote adoption of environmental-stewardship practices in the workplace including reducing waste; conserving energy; screening products for environmental impact; and purchasing products made from environmentally friendly materials consumption,
- Promoting the use of public transportation by offering discounts for rail/bus passes
- Utilizing motion-sensor lighting and bathroom sinks
- Utilizing Green Seal cleaning products and Energy Star appliances; Promoting paper, plastic and glass recycling for staff and visitors with recycling stations placed in prominently throughout the workplace.
“Sustainability is a ‘hot topic’ in the business world,” said GCP President and CEO Joe Roman. “A growing number of businesses of all sizes are incorporating internal sustainability practices. For some, it also includes exploring emerging opportunities in the development of sustainability products and systems. As a business organization, we’re ramping up our internal efforts that signal to our members that we’re engaged in this emerging business trend.”
Through COSE, the GCP has taken an active leadership role in sustainability, offering discounts, incentives and resources for small-business members Among other initiatives, in October 2010, COSE launched an Energy Efficiency Guide with easy tips for improving energy efficiency and case studies of eight small businesses that successfully incorporated energy efficient practices into their enterprise. COSE also offers discounted energy audits to its small business partners and sustainability news and tips to members through its Sustainability Blog.
“Finding the best rates on things like natural; gas and electricity is only part of the energy equation for us in helping our small business members” says Steve Millard, president and executive director of COSE. “Helping small businesses understand how sustainable practices can have a positive impact on their businesses is also an area of focus for us. Earning the Green Plus certification encourages us to continue to ensure we are walking the walk on sustainability.”
The Green Plus™ model was developed by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler School of Business in 2007. UNC Chapel Hill and Duke University developed online sustainability tools for small business that were tested in Ohio and North Carolina throughout 2008. COSE was the Institute for Sustainable Development’s partner in beta testing the Green Plus™ program with Ohio businesses. Green Plus™ is now the official small business sustainability program of the American Chamber of Commerce Executives, a network of over 1,400 U.S. and Canadian chambers of commerce representing upwards of 1.5 million smaller enterprises. For more information on Green Plus, please see www.gogreenplus.org.
“GCP and COSE leadership not only supports their members but help companies across the country understand that sustainability is another great way to achieve bottom line savings and top line growth,” said Chris Carmody, Executive Director of the Institute for Sustainable Development.
About the Greater Cleveland Partnership
As an association of business members, the Greater Cleveland Partnership mobilizes private-sector leadership, expertise and resources to create jobs and leverage investment to improve the economic vitality of the region.
COSE is one of Ohio?s largest small business support organizations, striving to help small businesses grow and maintain their independence. Comprised of more than 15,000 member companies, COSE has a long history of fighting for the rights of all small business owners through group purchasing programs for health care, workers? compensation, or energy; advocating for specific changes in legislation or regulation to benefit small business; and, providing a forum and resource for small businesses to connect with and learn from each other. (www.cose.org)
Judith Malone 216.592.2412 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Randy Carpenter 216.592.2371 / email@example.com
The Institute for Sustainable Development