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National Green Chamber Links Eco-Businesses

The Green Chamber brings environmentally friendly businesses from around the US together for networking, resource-sharing and to advance the growth of green businesses

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The Green Chamber for Environmentally Friendly Businesses

OAKLAND, Calif., July 19, 2007 -- The Green Chamber, aims to bring environmentally friendly businesses from around the country together for networking, resource-sharing and to advance the growth of green businesses in the U.S.

Billed as a "walk the talk" partnership between like-minded businesspeople, the Green Chamber advocates for promoting the green principles its members share to other businesses and the public at large.

"Our goal is to create a major, national, green or eco-friendly or sustainable business networking group on a national level," said Jon Anderson, Executive Director of the Green Chamber. "We want to instill in people the educational side of the business, the integrity of our values and beliefs."

Anderson said the first goal of the organization is to grow its membership. It launched with 16 regional directors, who will be responsible for certifying new members from their region, as well as coordinating the activities amongst members of each region. Asked about the genesis for the group, Anderson said he looked high and low for a group like this, and was "shocked that there wasn't an organization like this already."

Anderson said there are a large number of small local or regional green networks that exist already, but no one is operating on a national level, especially not with the goal to organize both resources and legislative lobbying for green-minded companies. Paul Willi, the National Program Developer for the Green Chamber, said that among the goals of the group is to support fair trade efforts, solar initiatives and green buildings across the country. Willi, who is based in Berkeley, Calif., said, "This may be a familiar menu for people in the Bay Area, but in Omaha and other places, we need to make this real in order to make it work."

The Green Chamber certifies each new member of the organization. Companies can fill out an application on the group's website, TheGreenChamber.org, and regional directors review each application to screen out potential greenwashers, Anderson said. The main criteria the group will use is to what extent an organization has embraced green practices. "If it's a retail company, are its products eco-friendly? Are they fair trade, do they limit the waste or help with recycling of the products?" Anderson asked. "If it's a service or business, how are they running their operations -- are they using alternative energy or working on green buildings?"

A key criteria, Anderson said, is what other environmental or green organizations is a potential member working with. One fundamental goal of the Green Chamber is to put businesses in touch with each other to help further the cause of greening the workplace. Anderson suggested, as an example, a company that wants to open an office in a new city. "You want your new office to be as green as possible, so you can call our regional director and he can put you in touch with someone who can help you make that happen," he said.

The Chamber will also be launching the first of its national programs next week, a partnership with electronics recycler Project KOPEG. The Chamber will let member organizations set up recycling bins for e-waste in their offices or stores, and the group's leadership will coordinate the back-end work of picking up and recycling the donated materials.

The Network Center will include opportunities for members to upload RFPs, share referrals, list regional and local events, as well as discuss issues across all levels of the spectrum of today’s green political agenda.

TGC will also work in the education and political arenas, facilitating all local, State and National Pro-Green business mandates and presenting TGC businesses to schools. Members will have multiple communication channels to share market research, employment needs and most importantly business leads. Regular face-to-face gatherings will be scheduled to accommodate all schedules. Online, members can share their business profile, create new partnerships, issue and complete RFPS and obtain referrals from each other in a fun, point-based system.

Source: Matthew Wheeland, GreenBiz.com



Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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