A brighter shade of green

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Originally published in Enchanted Homes

The New Mexico Green Chamber promotes a triple bottom line — “profits, people and taking care of the planet.” One needs to make money in order to stay in businesses, of course, but the goal of many businesses is to be financially successful while taking care of people. That means offering great customer service and developing consumers’ loyalty (which also ties in nicely with the first goal) and protecting the environment by producing products that do not pollute our planet.

On that line, the Taos Chapter of the New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce released this year the first version of a local business directory; the Think Local First Guide. It includes a number of local businesses, from solar energy providers to spas to schools. Erin Sanborn, Coordinator of the Taos Chapter, mentioned some specific issues that are particularly important to theTaos community and that the organization advocates strongly for. Among them are a higher renewable energy portfolio, Ecotourism, and tax credits for solar installations. The Taos Chapter, which started in September 2011, already has 100 members.

“Ideally it would be wonderful if many businesses join,” said Sanborn. “If businesses can make profits and take care of the planet at the same time, this will benefit all of us.” The Taos Chapter plans to support marketing efforts for green business and offer workshops to help local business grow and make changes in the way they operate. One future workshop topic is how to make the transition from a traditional company with one or more owners and a number of employees to a profit-sharing company. “Profit-sharing companies like Cid’s have high employee loyalty and tend to be more effective, efficient and have excellent customer service,” said Sanborn.

As for the advantages of becoming a member of the Taos Chapter, Sanborn mentions the fact that the organization is the third largest chamber in the state, and the fastest growing.  “We encourage consumers to support locally owned businesses. We strongly promote networking through our public awareness campaign,” said Sanborn

Another important goal of the Taos Chapter is providing services that will preserve and enhance the local cultures. They are currently working with others to establish a creative-cultural tourism corridor forNorthern New Mexico. This network  will allow businesses and artistic and cultural organizations to work together more efficiently and in a sustainable way. “It will include everything that motivates people to use their creative side and get in touch with Mother Nature like fiber arts workshops, farm visits or working vacations, eco/adventure tourism, river rafting and bicycling,” said Sanborn. “These are activities that cross all cultural barriers.”

The organization is also looking to the collective past ofNew Mexicofor inspiration and awareness. “We need to recognize that some things that are considered ‘new’ now have actually a long history,” said Sanborn. “For example, the land-based culture of the acequias, which is at least 400 years old, can have a lot in common with organic farming, permaculture and cooperatives. We also want to work with wilderness areas and heritage sites which are important to the concept of who we are as a community.”

Inspiring young people to work towards a sustainable future is imperative. “There are new enterprises being developed that are million dollar businesses. They model triple bottom line and are completely green or moving towards zero waste,” said Sanborn. “I hope these examples will motivate our youth to enjoy studying the sciences, math, social studies, civics, business and art. Everyone can either come up with inventions that don’t pollute the planet and make money at the same time and/or work for one of these companies.”

People can contribute to the Taos Chapter in many ways. They can join its mailing list to know about upcoming workshops and events. They can “like” its Facebook page, and leave comments and suggestions there. “They can also volunteer at our events, email or call me and let me know how they want to be involved,” said Sanborn. “We want to motivate people to take action on two pressing issues—combining financial independence with a healthy environment and a positive attitude. We believe that it can be done. There are amazing examples in our community and all over the world. There is hope and a future.”


To learn more about the Taos Chapter of the NM Green Chamber of Commerce, visit http://nmgreenchamber.com/taos/
Or its Facebook page
To contactErinSanborn directly, email her at
or call 575 770 2991