On Monday, February 27, 2017, Vallejo’s Chamber of Commerce (CoC) decided to support the City of Vallejo’s Staff recommendation, the vision formed in the New General Plan, and the wishes of the residents of Vallejo in opposing the Vallejo Marine Terminal (VMT)/Orcem Project application. With this, they are proving themselves to be the next generation of leaders and relevant in bringing prosperity to Vallejo and our neighbors in coming decades.
Given we are well into this new age of information and business without borders, it begs the question: How does a CoC serve a purpose in the 21st century? If it upholds the vision and values of its community, then yes. If its members are the puppets of a dinosaur corporation, then it is time to let it die since it is no longer an “advocate on behalf of the community at large.” Time for those people who are starting new businesses—co-working, Kickstarters, and home-based but global—to form a new kind of chamber.
CoC’s may no longer be defined by city boundaries. Their service territories can span as little or as much as the businesses forming them desire. CoC’s may focus their members around specific needs such as women-owned, LGBT, heritage, or regional- or shared-cyberspace goals.
However they form, they must be open to coalition building with neighboring and/or like-minded chambers because CoC’s are key in introducing B2B (business-to-business) to nurture growth. Sadly, profit can sometimes drive decisions that are in opposition to the health of a community. Right here on our own Napa River we’ve seen it: The “green” cement company planning to produce portland cement, the many meetings between Syar and Orcem: these relationships must be questioned: Who benefits?
That word ‘benefit’ is so important to the Millennial generation, that Deloitte studies show over 70% of Millennials demand companies value equally the 4-P’s: People, Planet, Purpose and Profit. And when major players like Unilever are now lead by CSR (corporate social responsibility), integrating it into all departments, ‘Benefit Corporation’ is no longer the stepchild of business, but the worldwide B-Corp movement. “B Corps meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability, and aspire to use the power of markets to solve social and environmental problems.”
The challenge for any ‘institution’ is remaining relevant in this fast-paced climate; Vallejo’s Chamber of Commerce is heading in the right direction with this declaration supporting City Staff’s recommendation for permit denial of VMT/Orcem.