The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has revealed itself in recent years to be an opponent of climate change legislation. Enter the nonprofit U.S. Green Chamber of Commerce, a nationwide expansion of the Green Chamber of San Diego, which already has over 200 local members.
The expansion was inspired by the overwhelming response to the Green Chamber's local events, which regularly attract between 150 and 200 people. In San Diego, the organization has prominent members like Toyota, Kimpton Hotels, Northwestern Mutual, and Union Bank. "With any entities we work with, sustainability is a major focus for their organization," says Green Chamber CEO David Steel, who is also CEO of Smarter Light, an LED lighting company.
The price of a membership varies widely from member to member: It's free for students, $75 for individuals, and between $300 and $1,000 for businesses (depending on the number of employees. In return for a membership, businesses can expect to be have access to events, sustainability webinars, and in some cases, personalized sustainability advising from Green Chamber members. "Sometimes we go out to member businesses, and help them look at sustainability issues like recycling and lighting," Steel says.
At the moment, new members outside of San Diego will have limited access to resources compared to members in the area. But the Green Chamber intends to change that at least partially by partnering up with local chambers of commerce. The Green Chamber might even accept memberships from chambers of commerce in the future in an effort to expand its resources to other states.
"As we go on, we'll continue to add more functionality in different regions," explains Steel.
The U.S. Green Chamber of Commerce isn't the first organization with the idea to take a green chamber national. San Francisco's Green Chamber of Commerce is also setting its sights on becoming a national organization—it already has chapters in Las Vegas and North Carolina, with more to come in Florida, Hawaii, and Portland, Oregon.