Green Plus, a program of NC Research Triangle-based Institute for Sustainable Development, provides triple bottom line education, networking and recognition for small to mid-sized businesses. The university-backed organization serves members in eighteen states, helping them work towards Green Plus sustainability certification.
Local-Ventures is new company based in Chapel Hill that focuses on a specific component of triple bottom line growth: local sourcing. The Local-Ventures website, currently serving the Triangle region, enables small businesses to more efficiently find, assess, and purchase from vetted local vendors.
“We’re excited about this partnership with Local-Ventures,” said Chris Carmody, Executive Director of the Institute for Sustainable Development. “We hope it will help spread the B2B Buy Local movement. Local-Ventures has developed a very effective and credible platform that we think will add value to Green Plus and non-Green Plus businesses alike,” Carmody said.
“Green Plus is helping SMBs across the country make smart business decisions — smart in terms of business performance, and smart in terms of environmental and community impact. Local-Ventures is pleased to be working with such a strong triple bottom line partner because this type of sustainable growth is exactly what we want to help small businesses achieve in the purchasing process,” said Ann Johnston, Chief Executive Officer at Local-Ventures.
The desire to source locally is thriving; Local-Ventures surveying shows that more than 95% of Triangle small businesses prefer to source locally when possible. But acting on that preference can be time and resource draining.
“Concerns about quality and a lack of information mean that finding the right local vendors is a headache for many small businesses,” said Johnston. “Our website makes it easier.”
The Local-Ventures website provides profiles and reviews of Triangle-area vendors that serve small businesses. It also enables small businesses to submit specific requests for customized information and quotes from a handful of qualified local vendors.
To ensure that small businesses not only find local options, but enter reliable long-term vendor relationships, all vendors are screened before being featured on the website. As part of the new partnership, Local-Ventures will be considering Green Plus member companies to be included in their network of vetted local vendors.
“Because Green Plus businesses have already been through a rigorous certification process, we are confident they will fare well in the Local-Ventures vetting process,” said Carmody.
The Benefits of Local Sourcing
Local sourcing is often touted for the positive impact it has on communities. When two local companies enter a business relationship, they create local jobs, new customers, and a strengthening of organizations with a vested interest in the community. Local business-to-business relationships also foster innovation and can reduce negative environmental impacts.
Johnston also cites the strategic benefits of such relationships.
“Local B2B relationships are often stronger, which can mean greater customization, a better understanding of the buyer’s needs, or a higher potential for a strategic alliance. There are many ways it can manifest, but stronger vendor relationships almost always means better business,” said Johnston.
ABOUT THE INSTITUTE FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT & GREEN PLUS
The Institute for Sustainable Development (ISD) is a Durham, North Carolina-based partnership of universities, chambers of commerce, and business leaders. Its mission is to assist small and medium-sized employers and their communities in becoming more competitive by being more sustainable, and to cultivate a new generation of leaders in the sustainability field. ISD’s key programs include
- The Green Plus Certification program, which has business and nonprofit participants in 18 states
- Green Plus Fellowships and internships, which give graduate and undergraduate students hands-on experience in the issues of sustainability with real businesses
- And the Environmental Help Desk for Business, a free portal partnership with the US Chamber of Commerce’s Business Civic Leadership Program, that gives green supply chain and innovation advice to SMEs.
To learn more visit http://gogreenplus.org/.
The Local-Ventures website, local-ventures.com, helps small businesses discover and connect with Triangle-area vendors they can trust. All vendors — ranging from payroll firms to marketing agencies to innovative software companies — are vetted to ensure that small businesses receive high quality products and services. Users can browse local B2B vendors and reviews by category or enter specific requests and receive customized information and quotes from qualified Triangle vendors. To learn more visit http://local-ventures.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.