In the center of smoggy Chicago, a new establishment is springing up to transform the city into the height of sustainability. Green Exchange, a business and retail center, will house about 100 businesses that cater to green and sustainable causes.
"We set out to design Green Exchange to be a physical venue and a [community] that would advance green businesses and the green community," says Phil Baugh, director of leasing for the project.
Several businesses have already joined Green Exchange to spread awareness about sustainability and benefit from the concentration of like-minded businesses--most of them plan on opening early next year. But for Rich Cohen, Green Exchange is more about building community spirit.
In 1999, Cohen traveled around the world, visiting 27 countries and discovering the economic and social strains put on developing nations. Returning to Chicago a year later, he founded Distant Village Packaging, a buyer and supplier of sustainable, artisan-made packaging from around the world.
"It'll be exhilarating to be part of an entire building of people who think the same way and also have the business connectivity," Cohen, 42, says of his partnership with Green Exchange.
Green Exchange, which plans to offer services ranging from car share and bike programs to in-house marketing, marks a giant leap in the trend toward sustainability. And for Cohen, who has seen his sales double over the past two years, the grass keeps getting greener.