- Any smaller enterprise (an organization of under 500 employees) in the United States or Canada may be nominated for a Green Plus North American Sustainable Enterprise Award
- Nominee organizations may be from the private, non-profit or public sector as long as they fit the award size criteria (under 500 employees)
- There is no fee to be nominated
- There is no required membership in any organization to be nominated
- Winners of juried Green Plus North American Sustainable Enterprise Awards may not win a juried award two years in a row
- Nominees may not be related to or have an existing business relationship with staff or board members of the Institute for Sustainable Development
Green Plus is not only a ‘green’ (environmental) program — it is an effort to encourage a balanced approach to community engagement, environmental stewardship and good business management generally. Through Green Plus, the Institute strives to help smaller enterprises learn from one another as well as from experts and specifically seeks to celebrate enterprises that are trailblazers — innovating sustainable practices that one might not associate with a given business sector. (Click here to learn about the 2010 Green Plus NASE winners).
The 2010 Green Plus NASE categories included the
- NC Research Triangle Park Green Plus Sustainabile Enterprise of the Year
- Wells Fargo Green Plus Small Business of the Year
- Green Plus Medium Sized Business of the Year
- Green Plus Non-Profit of the Year
- Green Plus Sole Proprietor of the Year
In addition, the Institute recognized three chambers of commerce for their leadership in promoting sustainable economies in their regions.
Background on the Institute for Sustainable Development
The mission of the Institute for Sustainable Development is to democratize triple bottom line sustainability by making it accessible to smaller employers and their communities, fostering a new generation of sustainability leaders, and developing a common understanding of sustainability principles across cultures.
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. The Institute Partners with the American Chamber of Commerce Executives to make the program accessible to its U.S. and Canadian chamber of commerce partners and their members.
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, over 140 small businesses and non-profits in more than 18 U.S. states have benefited from the Green Plus program.