Sustainable Chamber of Commerce

Welcome to the Sustainable Chamber of Commerce Guideline, an all-encompassing resource brought by United Metric that lays the foundation for creating a sustainable and responsible business environment within the global economic landscape. In this guideline, we embark on a journey to explore the critical role of chambers of commerce as catalysts for economic growth and development, while emphasizing the need for embracing sustainability to address the pressing environmental and social challenges of our time.
Chambers of Commerce have historically played a pivotal role in fostering business growth, promoting trade, and advocating for the interests of their members. As influential organizations representing businesses and industries, they have the power to drive positive change and shape the economic future of regions and nations. However, in a world increasingly concerned with the consequences of unsustainable practices, it is imperative for chambers of commerce to lead by example and spearhead efforts to create a more sustainable and inclusive business ecosystem.
The global challenges we face, such as climate change, resource depletion, social inequality, and economic disparities, require collaborative and transformative action from all sectors of society. As we move towards a more interconnected and interdependent world, the United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have emerged as a guiding framework, outlining a holistic vision for a sustainable future. Chambers of Commerce can play a crucial role in aligning their initiatives and strategies with these goals to ensure that economic growth goes hand-in-hand with environmental stewardship and social progress.
In recent years, we have witnessed a growing awareness and urgency surrounding sustainability and its integration into the core values and operations of businesses. Customers, investors, and stakeholders increasingly demand ethical and responsible practices from companies, making sustainability not just a moral imperative but also a strategic advantage. Chambers of Commerce, as advocates for businesses, must support and facilitate this transition, providing resources, tools, and best practices that empower their members to embrace sustainability as a competitive advantage.
This guideline will serve as a compass, offering practical insights, data-driven key performance indicators, and inspiring case studies of chambers of commerce and businesses that have successfully integrated sustainability into their operations. By adopting sustainable practices, chambers of commerce can lead the charge in building resilient economies, creating meaningful connections between businesses and their communities, and driving positive change on a global scale.
As we navigate the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century, the Sustainable Chamber of Commerce Guideline aims to inspire and empower chambers of commerce worldwide to be at the forefront of sustainable economic development. By working collectively towards shared goals, we can create a thriving future that benefits not only businesses but also the planet and all its inhabitants. Together, let us pave the way for a sustainable, prosperous, and inclusive tomorrow.

Sustainable Chamber of Commerce encompasses 5 core dimensions to ensure a balanced and integrated approach: 

 The United Metric has ranked the dimensions of sustainability for a chamber of commerce in the following order:

Economy Sustainability:
Economic sustainability for the Sustainable Chamber of Commerce involves adopting sustainable business practices, optimizing operational efficiency, responsible resource management, and supporting the local economy. By embracing these principles, the chamber can serve as a beacon of sustainability, inspiring other businesses and communities to follow suit in building a more resilient and environmentally friendly future.
The sub-dimensions are included:

  • Economic Vitality
  • Local Procurement
  • Economic Diversity 

Environment Sustainability:
Environment and Sustainability are crucial factors for the Sustainable Chamber of Commerce to thrive. The Sustainable Chamber of Commerce places a strong emphasis on minimizing its environmental impact of its members by adopting practices that conserve resources, reduce waste, and promote eco-friendly alternatives. Key initiatives include the incorporation of energy-efficient technologies, utilization of renewable energy sources, implementing water-saving measures, championing recycling and waste reduction, and actively supporting local biodiversity conservation.
The sub-dimensions are included: 

  • Internal Green Initiatives
  • External Green Initiatives
  • Conservation
  • Sustainable Infrastructure 

Society and culture Sustainability: 

Within the Sustainable Chamber of Commerce, social sustainability takes center stage, focusing on the chamber's commitment to its members, the wider community, and the environment. The Sustainable Chamber of Commerce recognizes its responsibility to uphold fair and ethical practices in its interactions with members, ensuring their well-being and promoting a sense of inclusivity and diversity.

This commitment extends to fostering a safe and healthy working environment for all chamber members, encouraging collaborative efforts in sustainability initiatives. The chamber actively engages with the local community, demonstrating philanthropic support, volunteering, and participating in cultural preservation projects that benefit the region.
The sub-dimensions are included: 

  • Social Responsibility
  • Cultural Preservation
  • Diversity & Inclusion 

Resilience and Adaptation: 

While resilience remains significant, it may not carry as much weight as the other three aspects mentioned above. For a sustainable Chamber of Commerce, resilience refers to its capacity to endure and recover from unexpected events or disruptions, such as natural disasters, economic downturns, or public health crises. By implementing measures like contingency planning, risk assessment, and robust infrastructure, the Chamber can enhance its resilience, ensuring continuous operations and minimizing adverse impacts on the environment, economy, and society.
The sub-dimensions are included: 

  • Disaster Preparedness
  • Adaptation to Change
  • Risk Management

Education and Awareness: 

In the Sustainable Chamber of Commerce, the Education & Awareness dimension plays a pivotal role in promoting sustainable practices among businesses and the community. This dimension focuses on disseminating knowledge and raising awareness about sustainable development, environmental stewardship, and social responsibility.

The sub-dimensions are included: 

  • Sustainability Education
  • Public Awa reness 

Success Stories:
Here are a few real-life success stories of sustainable chambers of commerce:

  1. The Portland Sustainable Chamber of Commerce: This chamber of commerce in Portland, Oregon, has been highly successful in promoting sustainable practices among local businesses. They have implemented a range of initiatives, such as the Sustainable Business Leaders Program, which recognizes businesses for their commitment to sustainability. Through networking events, educational workshops, and resources, the chamber has helped numerous businesses adopt environmentally friendly practices and reduce their carbon footprint.
  2. The B Corp Movement: While not a traditional chamber of commerce, the B Corp movement has gained significant traction globally. B Corps are for-profit businesses that meet rigorous social and environmental standards. Many local chambers of commerce have played an essential role in supporting and promoting B Corps within their communities. They have facilitated connections between B Corps, organized workshops on sustainable business practices, and encouraged businesses to pursue B Corp certification. This collaboration has led to a growing network of sustainable businesses working together to create positive social and environmental impacts.
  3. The Oslo Chamber of Commerce: The Oslo Chamber of Commerce in Norway has been recognized for its commitment to sustainability. They actively promote sustainable business practices and support environmentally friendly initiatives. For instance, they launched the Oslo Innovation Week Green, an event dedicated to showcasing sustainable solutions and connecting businesses in the green sector. The chamber also offers resources and guidance to businesses looking to adopt sustainable practices, helping them navigate the complexities of sustainability and facilitating their growth.
  4. The Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce: Located in California, the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce has made significant strides in promoting sustainable practices among local businesses. They launched the Sustainable Quality Awards, which recognize businesses that demonstrate excellence in sustainability across various categories. By highlighting sustainable practices and showcasing leading businesses, the chamber encourages others to adopt similar initiatives, fostering a culture of sustainability within the local business community.
  5. The Vancouver Island Green Business Certification Program: This program, supported by the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance and local chambers of commerce, has been successful in promoting sustainability among businesses on Vancouver Island, Canada. The program provides businesses with resources, workshops, and assessments to help them adopt sustainable practices. By completing a certification process, businesses are recognized for their efforts and gain access to a network of other sustainable businesses, fostering collaboration and knowledge-sharing within the community.
  6. Wellington Chamber of Commerce (New Zealand):
    The Wellington Chamber of Commerce has been actively promoting sustainable business practices in the region. They launched the "Green Business Toolbox" initiative, providing local businesses with resources, workshops, and networking opportunities to adopt sustainable practices. Many businesses have benefited from the program, improving their energy efficiency, waste management, and overall sustainability performance.
  7. Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (Sweden):
    The Stockholm Chamber of Commerce has played a crucial role in advancing sustainability within the business community. They organized an annual event called the "Sustainability Summit" that brings together industry leaders, policymakers, and entrepreneurs to discuss sustainable solutions and innovations. The summit has inspired collaborations, facilitated knowledge sharing, and resulted in the implementation of various sustainable initiatives across multiple industries in the region. 

These success stories demonstrate how sustainable chambers of commerce have played a crucial role in encouraging businesses to adopt environmentally friendly practices, supporting their growth, and creating a more sustainable local economy. 

SDGs & Sustainable Chamber of Commerce 

The Sustainable Chamber of Commerce, an initiative by United Metric, is committed to forging a strong connection with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Serving as a comprehensive framework, the SDGs address global challenges and pave the way for a sustainable future for all. By aligning our efforts with the SDGs, we ensure that businesses within the chamber actively contribute to the achievement of these crucial targets.
Understanding that sustainability encompasses environmental, social, economic, resilience and awareness dimensions, the Sustainable Chamber of Commerce adopts a holistic approach. We firmly believe that true sustainable development can only be attained when all these aspects are harmoniously balanced.
To facilitate the seamless integration of sustainable practices, the chamber has meticulously developed a robust set of 105 key performance indicators (KPIs). These powerful tools empower businesses to assess their current sustainability performance, establish ambitious targets, and continually monitor their progress. By providing clear and quantifiable metrics, we enable our member businesses to track their impact and make informed decisions to enhance their environmental and social performance while ensuring economic viability.
At the Sustainable Chamber of Commerce, we aim to be the driving force that propels businesses toward sustainability. Our platform fosters collaboration and knowledge sharing among our members, facilitating the exchange of best practices, innovative ideas, and cutting-edge solutions. Through these collective efforts, we can accelerate the transition to a more sustainable and responsible business landscape.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of 17 interconnected goals established by the United Nations to address global challenges and promote sustainable development. The goals cover a wide range of social, economic, and environmental issues. The specific SDGs and sub-targets that a sustainable chamber of commerce may touch upon can vary depending on its focus and activities. However, here are some examples of SDGs and their sub-targets that a sustainable chamber of commerce may address:

SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

  • Sub-target 8.3: Promote decent work for all and sustainable economic growth.
  • Sub-target 8.8: Protect labor rights and promote safe and secure working environments for all workers.
  • Sub-target 8.10: Strengthen the capacity of domestic financial institutions to encourage and expand access to banking, insurance, and financial services.

SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

  • Sub-target 9.2: Promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization.
  • Sub-target 9.4: Upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries for sustainability and resource efficiency.
  • Sub-target 9.c: Significantly increase access to information and communications technology and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet.

SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

  • Sub-target 12.2: Achieve sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources.
  • Sub-target 12.4: By 2020, achieve environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle.
  • Sub-target 12.8: Ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature.

SDG 13: Climate Action

  • Sub-target 13.2: Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies, and planning.
  • Sub-target 13.3: Improve education, awareness-raising, and capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction, and early warning.

SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals

  • Sub-target 17.16: Enhance the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development by promoting partnerships between governments, private sector, and civil society.
  • Sub-target 17.17: Encourage and promote effective public, public-private, and civil society partnerships, building on the experience and resourcing strategies of partnerships.


These are just a few examples, and there are additional SDGs and sub-targets that a sustainable chamber of commerce may engage with based on their specific objectives and priorities.

Data Collection Methodology

The Sustainable Chamber of Commerce's (SCC) approach to sustainability is rooted in a comprehensive data collection methodology that spans five essential dimensions: environmental, social, economic, resilience, and awareness. By following a structured and rigorous data collection process, the SCC enables businesses to assess their impact on various sustainability domains and identify areas for improvement.

Under the environmental dimension, the SCC evaluates businesses' ecological practices, including energy consumption, waste management, and efforts to reduce their carbon footprint. Water usage and conservation efforts, as well as initiatives aimed at preserving local ecosystems and biodiversity, are also scrutinized.

Within the social dimension, the SCC assesses how businesses engage with and contribute to their communities. This involves evaluating social responsibility initiatives, support for local communities, and efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion within the workforce.

Economic indicators are a crucial part of the SCC's methodology, as they provide insights into businesses' financial sustainability. The SCC analyzes cost-effectiveness measures, sustainable procurement practices, and investments in environmentally and socially responsible projects.

Resilience and adaptation to changing environmental conditions are paramount in today's rapidly changing world. The SCC evaluates businesses' efforts in climate change mitigation, disaster preparedness, and risk management strategies to ensure their long-term viability.

Finally, the SCC emphasizes the importance of awareness and education. Businesses are encouraged to raise awareness about sustainability issues among their stakeholders, including employees, customers, and suppliers, to promote a collective effort towards positive change.

Analysis, and Improvement Projects

After gathering the data, the SCC conducts a thorough analysis to derive actionable insights. By evaluating performance indicators across the five dimensions, businesses can identify their strengths and weaknesses in terms of sustainability practices. The analysis phase empowers businesses to prioritize sustainability initiatives based on their specific goals and targets. 

Benefits and Impacts

Embracing the SCC's sustainable approach offers numerous benefits and impacts for businesses and society as a whole. By integrating eco-friendly practices, such as energy and water conservation and responsible waste management, businesses can significantly reduce their ecological footprint. This not only contributes to environmental preservation but also leads to substantial cost savings, ultimately enhancing the businesses' economic sustainability.

Moreover, actively engaging with local communities, preserving cultural heritage, and promoting social inclusivity can bolster a business's reputation and attract socially conscious consumers. This positive image can result in increased customer loyalty and a competitive edge in the market.

In conclusion, the Sustainable Chamber of Commerce's data-driven approach to sustainability, encompassing the environmental, social, economic, resilience, and awareness dimensions, serves as a powerful tool for businesses to drive positive change. By identifying areas for improvement and implementing sustainable practices, businesses can pave the way towards a resilient and sustainable future for themselves and the wider community.