NC State, Institute for Sustainable Development Partner to Help Small Businesses


At a Raleigh Chamber of Commerce Green Plus™ recognition event today, the Institute for Sustainable Development announced a new partnership with North Carolina State University.  The Institute is a consortium of universities and chambers of commerce to help small businesses and communities become more sustainable, and to help foster a new generation of interdisciplinary leaders in the sustainability field. The Institute partnership comprises seventeen regional chambers of commerce and representatives from Duke University, Durham Technical Community College, Elon University, and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Chris Carmody, Executive Director of the Institute, said, “We have been working with exceptionally talented NC State students since the spring, and we’re delighted to have Dr. Winner represent the University in this great partnership. The combination of NC State with Duke University, Durham Tech, Elon and UNC Chapel Hill will be another potent force to advance a sustainable and prosperous economy in this region,” Carmody concluded.

At a national level, the Institute partners with the American Chamber of Commerce Executives. The Institute’s university-chamber of commerce partnership educates, connects, and recognizes smaller enterprises pursuing triple bottom line sustainability through its Green Plus™ program in twelve states. Green Plus™ organizations are assessed and assisted by graduate students from participating universities in improving their business, environmental, community and employee practices. Green Plus™businesses use sustainable practices to save and make money, and become part of a network of businesses pursuing the same goals. Enterprises with exceptional ratings in People, Planet and Performance categories can earn Green Plus™ Certification. Non-profit organizations can also take advantage of the Green Plus™ program.

Dr. William Winner, Co-Sustainability Officer and Professor, Dept. of Forestry & Environmental Resources, will represent NC State on the Institute’s Board.

“NC State University is proud of our accomplishments in building sustainability into the missions of learning, discovery, and engagement,” said Dr. Winner. “In addition, we are proud of efforts to advance sustainability across the operations of the University.” Winner continued, “The effect is to bring the issue of sustainability to students in ways that prepare them for future activities, and are expressed in their future careers, professional and graduate academic programs, and lives as citizens,” concluded Winner.

In the new partnership, NC State students will receive Green Plus™ training and work along side students from other Institute university partners to assist smaller employers in improving their business, environmental, community and employee practices. In 2010, Green Plus™ Fellows from six universities worked with chambers and Green Plus small businesses in Arkansas, Ohio, North Carolina, New Jersey, South Carolina in person and with businesses from seven other states online.

About North Carolina State University

NC State University is noted for development of public/private partnerships that link its faculty members and students to the development of enterprise in North Carolina and beyond. It has specific programs in the Sustainability Office to promote activities on

campus.  In addition, NC State’s Cooperative Extension and Industrial Extension programs extend ideas about sustainability to thousands of state residents.  The Solar Center provides continuing education and information to the public through websites to help citizens learn of opportunities to finance Energy Star purchases and other resource conservation measures.

Many research programs at the University are developing the new technologies and policies needed to advance sustainability across the public and private sector.  An example of an exciting research program is the FREEDM Systems Center, funded by the National Science Foundation, to accelerate research and development of the Smart Grid.

The newly revised Environmental Sciences Academic Program is now providing new courses and curricula to students interested in the topics of sustainability.  The revised ES Academic Program will provide students with opportunities for a flexible course selection, extensive studies in areas chosen by faculty members and students, and discovery based learning so students learn how to complete projects related to energy, environment, and sustainability.

About Dr. Winner

Dr. Winner was named Co-Sustainability Officer in August, 2009. He also serves as the co-chair of the Campus Environmental Sustainability Team (C.E.S.T.). Dr. Winner received his Ph. D. in Biology from the University of Calgary in 1978, and previously held academic positions at Stanford University, Virginia Tech and Oregon State University. Between 2003-2006, Dr. Winner served at the National Science Foundation. Dr. Winner is an internationally recognized scientist in the field of plant physiological ecology, and co-edited several books. At NC State University, Dr. Winner is a professor in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources, Coordinator for the academic programs in environmental sciences, and Coordinator for the NCSU Energy Council.

About the Institute for Sustainable Development

The non-profit was founded in the North Carolina Research Triangle in 2007 by a unique partnership of academic, business and philanthropic leaders. Early partners included Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro and Greater Durham Chambers of Commerce, and the Fenwick Foundation.

Institute founders recognized that while many large companies were integrating sustainability into their operations, saving money and improving their reputations, most Americans were employed by businesses with 50 or fewer people, and these smaller employers had neither the time nor the financial resources to pursue sustainability. In the fall of 2007, the Institute engaged the Center for Sustainable Enterprise at UNC Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School to develop a business plan to address this problem. This plan led to the development of Green Plus, a program that provides training, networking, and recognition for small businesses and non-profits working toward becoming more competitive and sustainable.

A vital part of Green Plus™ is providing real-life experiences to university students in the area of business and sustainability by connecting the students with real organizations engaged with these issues. The Institute trains interdisciplinary teams of graduate students and professionals to provide practical, affordable tools and assistance to help smaller enterprises and their communities become stronger, healthier, and more competitive. To date, more than 160 businesses and non-profits in more than twelve U.S. states have benefited from the Green Plus™ program.

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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