February 18, 2011; Source: Fast Company | In recent years, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been dispensing lots of green in the form of cash meant to elect pro-business lawmakers opposed to climate change legislation. Now that better-known organization faces competition of sorts from an upstart chamber that exists exclusively to promote a pro-green agenda.

Fast Company magazine reports that the U.S. Green Chamber of Commerce, a San Diego-based nonprofit, aims to become a national advocate for environmentally friendly and sustainable businesses by partnering with local chambers of commerce around the country. The group's current business members include Toyota, Kimpton Hotels, Northwestern Mutual, and Union Bank. Green Chamber CEO David Steel says his group's work with these and other members focuses on sustainability.

Businesses pay between $300 and $1000 for membership, which provides access to events, webinars, and occasional consulting from other Green Chamber members. "Sometimes we go out to member businesses, and help them look at sustainability issues like recycling and lighting," Steel says.

According to Fast Company, the Green Chamber might also face some competition of its own. The magazine notes that San Francisco's Green Chamber of Commerce has been branching out to Las Vegas and North Carolina, and hopes to be in Florida, Hawaii, and Oregon soon. Call it the "greening of America," Chamber of Commerce style.—Bruce Trachtenberg