Climate Alliance for the Common Good is a La Crosse nonprofit that has created and made available the La Crosse Small Business Toolkit on Sustainability, along with some tools that help businesses tackle the creation and implementation of sustainability plans. These plans ensure a business's long-term viability, increase profits, attract customers, and help the community and the planet.
- Small Business Toolkit Press Release
- Sustainability Workshop
- Small Business Toolkit: Fact Sheet
A Sustainability Toolkit that Helps Small Businesses Cut Through the Jargon
The La Crosse Small Business Toolkit on Sustainability helps small businesses increase profits with simple steps to achieve sustainability.
LA CROSSE, WISCONSIN, November 27, 2023
Business buzzwords and trends can overwhelm any business owner: ESG, Upcycling, Resilience, PHEV, Continuity—and many more. That’s why a local nonprofit, Climate Alliance for the Common Good, created the La Crosse Small Business Toolkit on Sustainability. It’s an easy-to-use guide that helps small businesses pursue profitable sustainability—the new economic model based on business planning that incorporates the community, society, and the environment. A no-cost workshop is also scheduled in coordination with the City of La Crosse.
The toolkit is free to download courtesy of the local nonprofit Climate Alliance for the Common Good, funded in part by grants from the Trane Corporation, La Crosse Community Foundation, and Gundersen Health Systems. By downloading the no-cost guide and tools from the nonprofit’s website, small- to medium-sized businesses can get the information they need to readily implement a custom sustainability plan. Organizations of any size can now follow the steps to create a strategy that increases profit while also protecting people and the planet. This can be as simple as replacing lights with LEDs or providing a composting option for staff.
“We realized that sustainability was being implemented by large corporations, but that smaller organizations had no easy way of finding information to guide sustainability efforts,” said Tom Schlesinger, Executive Director of the Climate Alliance for the Common Good. “Because sustainable practices increase profitability and help the planet, we created the guide, tools, and optional no-cost workshops.”
The guide has been favorably reviewed by local small businesses and sustainability experts. Mark Schneider, owner of Schneider Heating and Air Conditioning, said, “I think the plan helps owners realize that this shouldn’t be overwhelming; […] you don’t have to do it all immediately but it’s important to get moving.” Another reviewer said, “…this looks absolutely EXCELLENT and I am so excited to for this to be […sent] out.” All reviewers had positive feedback: “All felt this was something that would help the business community to make a real difference.”
The La Crosse Climate Alliance for the Common Good is focused on education about sustainability and protecting our planet. To download the free guide and tools, go to www.climatealliancecg.org/content/toolkit.
Sustainability Workshop for La Crosse Small Businesses and Organizations
Presented by the City of La Crosse and The Climate Alliance for the Common Good
La Crosse-area small businesses and organizations are invited to attend a hands-on workshop to create a draft sustainability plan. At the workshops, experts will guide attendees from concept through to a nuts-and-bolts plan through reducing energy, emissions, and waste while sharing ways to pay for it with rebates, incentives, and savings from reduced energy demands.
The workshop is based on the free-to-download La Crosse Small Business Toolkit on Sustainability. The toolkit, and companion tools, are available on the website of the La Crosse nonprofit Climate Alliance for the Common Good. The nonprofit developed the toolkit to make it easy for small businesses and organizations to create and implement a sustainability plan.
To get the most out of the workshop, please consider reading through the toolkit prior to arrival.
Date: Thursday, January 18, 2024
Time: Noon to 3:00 pm
Where: The La Crosse Center
Registration: Click here to register.
The toolkit and workshop were developed with the support of the Trane Company part of Trane Technologies, the La Crosse Community Foundation, and Gundersen Health System. The Climate Alliance is grateful for this support.
The 20-page toolkit is loaded with concrete steps small businesses can take to implement a custom sustainability plan.
The sustainability toolkit helps small- to medium-sized businesses become more resilient, and research shows that sustainability plans help small- to medium-sized businesses become more profitable. The toolkit includes tips, how-to, and financial resources. With this, businesses can:
- Reduce business costs through energy-saving upgrades.
- Attract customers by marketing business sustainability efforts.
- Increase profits, according to research by Harvard.
“Bottom line [for small businesses]: Adopting sustainable business practices can improve your profits both in the environmental and traditional sense.” (Forbes)
La Crosse Specifics:
- 87% of La Crosse citizens report being affected by the changing climate: these are potential customers who are willing to spend more at small businesses taking sustainability into account. This is a significant draw for new customers, creating customer loyalty and attracting and retaining staff.
- This toolkit is designed for very small organizations, up through medium-sized businesses--those without a staffed position for sustainability. This fits well with businesses in La Crosse: The average firm in La Crosse employs fewer than 20 people.
- La Crosse has a Climate Action Plan, which, if acted on, will reduce energy costs per employee by an average of $518/job. These savings go directly to the bottom line. The toolkit emphasizes steps small businesses can take to financially benefit from pursuing sustainability.
- Electric vehicles are far less expensive to operate than the alternatives. To help businesses and employees make the most of electric or hybrid-electric vehicles, the toolkit references La Crosse area EV charging stations and incentives and rebates businesses can use to lower the cost of EV purchases.
- La Crosse County offers free hazardous waste collection options for businesses that generate a limited amount of hazardous waste.
- The toolkit has been viewed by multiple area sustainability coordinators and small business owners, incorporating their feedback, to make sure the information helps to La Crosse area businesses.
Additional tools provide more in-depth information on:
- Obstacles small businesses face in pursuing sustainability.
- Preliminary tasks to complete before planning.
- Engaging employees in sustainability efforts.
- Facts supporting the need to go sustainable.
- Green marketing 101.
The toolkit includes information about local and Wisconsin-specific rebates and incentives, along with links to business tax credits and incentives through the Inflation Reduction Act.
Businesses can help our planet through some simple changes and using affordable technology while helping their businesses prosper.
Media Contact: Tom Schlesinger
Climate Alliance for the Common Good
La Crosse Nonprofit
Climate Alliance for the Common Good
The Climate Alliance for the Common Good, a La Crosse-based 5013c, helps people learn about climate change and take action. Empowered people have hope. We have the technology we need to win the fight against climate change. We need to create the political and social will to take action.
We found hope by learning about great tools and technologies we can use to address climate issues. Knowledge guides the steps we need to take and the policies we need to support. We are dedicated to working with citizens in our area, and in fact anywhere, to inspire action against climate change. We provide speakers and tools and want to engage all of us, including organizations, businesses, government, developers, power utilities, and more, and work with everyone to tackle climate change.
We share unbiased information about the threat of climate change and what we can all be doing to combat it. Inactivity puts society and its descendants at risk, while action offers hope.
Local efforts are central to making a global change.
History of Climate Alliance for the Common Good
The Climate Alliance for the Common Good started out as a group of La Crosse and area citizens and experts with the goal of fighting climate change, especially using some energy conservation techniques (one called exergy, particularly—a method of high-value energy conservation—a longer-term infrastructure approach to reusing otherwise wasted heat).
Through this work, we came to understand that some of the biggest challenges to making climate-smart investments and actions arose from a lack of information: people don’t know the many ways available to stop climate change. We humans already have the tools, with more becoming available all the time, to stop climate change in its tracks. Our group decided to switch gears, so that rather than pushing a specific infrastructure change, we would engage the community and work locally in addressing global climate change.
We provide speakers on topics related to climate change and business sustainability. We also offer the La Crosse Small Business Toolkit on Sustainability and some companion tools to help small businesses create and implement strategies that ensure profitability and long-term viability while helping people and the planet.
Wisconsin Clean Energy Plan: Our input has led to the inclusion of a high-value conservation/exergy strategy in the Wisconsin Climate Plan
- Study by the Center on Wisconsin Strategy and the University of Wisconsin-Madison: The group requested a study, which found that taxpayers currently spend $14.4 billion annually for energy produced outside of Wisconsin, making a powerful argument for the implementation, in Wisconsin of high-value conservation and other climate-friendly initiatives that will save citizens billions of dollars.
- Grants from the La Crosse Community Foundation, the Trane Company part of Trane Technologies, and Gundersen Health Systems.
- The La Crosse Small Business Toolkit on Sustainability, along with companion tools, to support small businesses engage in sustainability efforts. Large companies have sustainability coordinators, while smaller businesses don’t have staff to tackle the issue, and so have been left out of the new sustainable model of business. The toolkit is an easy-to-use guide that helps small businesses become sustainable and increase profits.
Spoken with dozens of groups and hundreds of people in the La Crosse area.
The Climate Alliance for the Common Good is working with the La Crosse community to talk about climate change and what we can do to mitigate it. We offer speakers to local groups, help lead a Rotary committee on environmental issues, work with local congregations, and help small businesses and organizations move our community to a sustainable, climate-positive future.