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Natural Awakenings Metro Phoenix & Northern Arizona

Going Green Across the Board: An interview with Michael Grossman, Chairman of the Board, The Green Chamber

Jul 30, 2013 09:17AM

Michael Grossman, chairman of the board of The Green Chamber, in Phoenix, is quick to deflect attention to the nonprofit organization’s 140 members. He asserts that his role is to lay the foundation for a common mission and message on sustainability across the Valley, but it’s “the brilliance of our collective members that really shines.”

As he describes the group’s mission, “The Green Chamber concept is different in that it’s not geographically based, but rather founded on the idea of sustainability,” says Grossman. “We are the one place in the Valley where people understand what sustainability means—where you can safely talk about sustainability and your ideas.”

The Green Chamber’s membership is comprised of local businesses committed to environmental stewardship through business practices across a variety of industries. Companies represented include architectural firms, traditional and emerging energy source providers, recycling and waste management specialists, LEED certification specialists and professional service providers in accounting, marketing and law, plus many more. Assisting and incentivizing local businesses toward implementing environmentally responsible business practices is a key part of the Chamber’s mission. Educating people and businesses about environmental sustainability is essential.

Grossman’s vision is to have a seat at the table when it comes to affecting public policy decisions, as well as public or private projects. This includes new issues and esoteric discussions about what’s happening in all levels of government, from state to local. “How do we ensure these projects achieve greater sustainability? How do we help the Valley grow, but in a more sustainable way and with a creative class of people that can’t be outsourced?” he asks.

Each year, the Chamber hosts candidate forums where people seeking elected office are interviewed about their views on sustainability. Past events have focused on the race for the mayor of Phoenix and candidates for the corporation commission. This fall, Grossman is planning to hold a similar event for candidates for Phoenix City Council and next year for the gubernatorial race.

The Chamber also hosts quarterly lunch education sessions covering a wide range of topics. The August 22 luncheon features guest speaker Ron Pernick, co-founder of Clean Edge, Inc., where he has co-authored more than a dozen reports on emerging clean technologies and worked with a range of clients that includes multinationals, startups, government agencies and investors. In addition, Green Drinks provides a casual networking forum for connecting businesses and consumers with an interest in sustainability. The event is held at 5:30 p.m., the first Tuesday of the month, at FireSky Resort and Spa, in Scottsdale.

For inspiration, Grossman looks at San Francisco and Seattle, “where the battle for greater sustainability has been fought and won,” and wants to apply the same focus here in the Phoenix-metro area. The Chamber will mark its fifth anniversary this fall, and Grossman believes, “The sky is the limit,” for the Chamber’s prospects.

For more information, call 602-682-5566 or visit Natural Awakenings readers receive a 20 percent discount off annual membership dues.


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