One cup of premium loose leaf tea inspired Beth Johnston to get into the tea business, and environmental responsibility drives the company’s commitment to organic teas, sustainability practices and Carbonfree® business operations. 

“Conserving our planet’s precious resources has always been a personal concern for me. With our continued expansion, both importing and shipping customer orders, I felt a further responsibility to take it on corporately,” says Beth Johnston, Founder and CEO.  “We had been looking for an effective way to offset the impact Teas Etc. has on the environment but also wanted to give our customers the choice to offset theirs. We did our homework, looked at a couple of different options and decided that Carbonfund.org was the right partner to help us meet our goals.”

For the seventh consecutive year, Teas Etc. is offsetting its own carbon footprint with Carbonfund.org by supporting renewable energy, energy efficiency and reforestation projects. In an effort to generate greater awareness about sources of carbon emissions, Teas Etc. offers customers the option of offsetting the carbon footprint created by shipping their orders.  To date, Teas Etc. and its customers have neutralized the same quantity of emissions as would be sequestered by almost 11,000 tree seedlings grown for ten years.

Teas Etc is has provided premium quality award winning teas and modern accessories to wholesale and retail customers for over 15 years.   The company is USDA certified to package and to distribute organic products, and has a complete line of organic teas.  In addition to their tea line, the company manufactures the innovative, award winning Tea Traveler® that allows tea drinkers to enjoy loose leaf teas on-the-go.  The company opened in 1998 with its headquarters in Palm Beach, FL has an office in Nanjing, China and a permanent show room at AmericasMart in Atlanta, GA.

In addition toCarbonfree® operations,Teas Etc. supports a local recycling program, utilizes recycled paper goods, biodegradable packing materials and chemical-free cleaning products.   Their ongoing commitment to environmental sustainability, high quality products and excellent customer services confirms Teas Etc. as a leader in responsible online premium loose leaf tea retailing and wholesaling.

Friday, 28 March 2014 14:30

Why Forest Conservation is so Important

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This is the first of a monthly blog series about our forest conservation projects in Brazil.  This month's blog gives an overview of tropical deforestation and an introduction to our projects.  In future months, topics shall include updates on the projects' biodiversity, highlights of community projects, stories from the field, and status of the projects' certifications.   

Tropical deforestation is a global problem because such deforestation is responsible for approximately 15-20% of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, reduces habitat availability for a tremendous amount of biodiversity, and further threatens the livelihoods of forest-dependent communities.  With this in mind, only 2% of the world’s total surface area is home to rainforests yet rainforests are home to 50% of the world's plant and animals.  Shockingly, according to The Nature Conservancy, "every second, a slice of rainforest the size of a football field is mowed down. That's 86,400 football fields of rainforest per day, or over 31 million football fields of rainforest each year."

Because of the support of our generous donors, the Carbonfund.org Foundation created its wholly-owned subsidiary, CarbonCo, to design, finance, implement, and manage large-scale forest conservation projects.  Our projects help mitigate this trend of tropical deforestation while also preserving precious rainforest habitat and providing alternative economic opportunities for local communities.  These projects, known as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) projects, are essentially payment for ecosystem service projects which rely on the sale of verified emission reductions (VERs), commonly known as carbon offset credits.

As of today, CarbonCo has several REDD+ projects in the Western State of Acre, Brazil which are protecting more than 700,000 acres.  To help visualize how large these projects are, consider that 700,000 acres is the equivalent to approximately 1,100 square miles.  This is almost as large as the entire state of Rhode Island (1,545 square miles), about the size of the urban area of Paris, France (1,098 square miles) and more than twice the size of New York City (470 square miles).

Our projects are named the Purus, Russas, Valparaiso, and Envira Amazonia Projects.  The Purus Project was the first-ever REDD+ project in Acre to be validated (audit of project design) and verified (audit of project’s performance) to the leading international carbon certifications known as the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standard (CCBS) with Gold Distinction for exceptional biodiversity benefits.  The Russas Project was validated to the CCBS with Gold Distinction for exceptional community benefits and is pending validation to the VCS.  The Valparaiso and Envira Amazonia Projects are also being designed to the VCS and CCBS with Gold Distinction.

Now that we have provided some background on forest conservation, stay tuned for next month's blog post with a more in-depth view of our specific REDD+ projects!

According to the "Climate Change in the American Mind" report, 33 percent of Americans said they believed there was widespread disagreement among scientists and four percent said that "most scientists think global warming is not happening." Less than half (42 percent) of Americans knew that "most scientists think global warming is happening."

The fossil fuel industry is waging a successful disinformation campaign.  They took their strategy straight from Big Tobacco, who successfully bred doubt for many years that health experts were undecided on whether or not smoking cigarettes negatively impacted health.  The idea seems laughable now, but we need to address the serious situation of the ailing health of our planet.

In fact, 97 percent of experts agree climate change is happening and it is human-caused.  A new report was released this week from the world’s largest scientific society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).  The report entitled, "What We Know" doesn’t presume to tell Americans what to think about global warming.  Instead it says in the introduction that, "we consider it to be our responsibility as professionals to ensure, to the best of our ability, that people understand what we know: human-caused climate change is happening, we face risks of abrupt, unpredictable and potentially irreversible changes and responding now will lower the risk and cost of taking action."

Honestly, the first step of admitting that climate change is happening and that humans are the cause is less about blame and more about recognizing that there is a problem before we can take the logical next step to solve it.

I hope we can see the misinformation about climate change for what it is and start making changes before things look like this Isaac Cordal sculpture depicting politicians discussing global warming.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014 12:19

EnvyDerm Cosmetics Becomes Carbonfree® Business Partner

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Environmentally-responsible companies in the cosmetics industry face a challenge to ensure that their products contain healthy, safe and sustainably sourced ingredients.  Southern California-based EnvyDerm Cosmetics takes this responsibility seriously, and recently took the additional step to become a Carbonfree® Business Partner, neutralizing its estimated annual operational emissions by supporting forestry projects through Carbonfund.org.    

EnvyDerm Cosmetics is a high performance cosmetics company that manufactures healthy good-for-you eye and lip products using natural and organic ingredients and eco-friendly packages.  EnvyDerm continues to grow with a passion to offer a complete eyelash and lip enhancement product line that is safe, scientifically proven and fits a wide array of customers' needs.

"We strive to create cosmetics products that are healthy and good for you with less impact on the environment,” stresses Nadia Smith, Founder and CEO.  “Partnering with Carbonfund.org is a natural step in our advocacy efforts and a step further in our effort to not just beautify our customers but further contribute to beautify Earth." 

Part of EnvyDerm’s mission is to keep the planet beautiful and clean for the future.  The company works hard to implement sustainable and eco-friendly measures to reduce its environment impact.  That’s why they manufacture locally in California,  source eco-friendly packaging that is made from 100% recycled material, and source organic ingredients for products as much as possible.  These commitments along with their Carbonfree® operations set EnvyDerm above conventional cosmetics companies as a more environmentally responsible choice for its customers. 

2014 is shaping up to be another strong year for continued environmental leadership by Carbonfund.org’s business partners.  These companies understand the value in maintaining effective sustainability programs that demonstrate their commitment to environmental responsibility.  

Entering its fifth year as a Carbonfree® Business Partner, Software for Good is a design-driven software engineering team producing complete digital solutions for companies doing great things.   

“We are thrilled to be part of the Carbonfree® Business Partnership,” states Casey Helbling, founder and CEO of Software for Good.  “By calculating, reducing, and offsetting our carbon footprint, we are helping to change the status quo and redefine what it means to be a responsible business.” 

To date, Software for Good’s carbon emissions offset donations have supported Carbonfund.org’s carbon reduction projects, neutralizing the same quantity of emissions as are created by a standard passenger car driving almost 600,000 miles. 

Software for Good team members and clients share a vision for what a healthy and sustainable community can be.  They follow the triple bottom line business model, investing equally in people, planet, and profit.  

A great example of Software for Good’s work can be seen in the rebuild for RE-AMP’s website.   The organization is composed of over 150 non-profits and foundations across the US Midwest focused on climate change and energy policy.  The new website focuses on user engagement and easy ongoing site maintenance, so that the various groups can work collaboratively to create a healthier, more sustainable world. 

Software for Good demonstrates its environmental stewardship through the work it performs for its clients and in its continuing commitment to carbon-neutral operations through the Carbonfree® Business Partnership program.

Professor David Dornfeld is the Will C. Hall Family Chair in Engineering and Chair of the Mechanical Engineering Department at UC-Berkeley, where he has taught for over 30 years.  Professor Dornfeld has been working in and teaching sustainable manufacturing for over a decade and writes a green manufacturing blog.  His interest in hands-on experiences in sustainability encouraged the establishment of a student-led carbon emissions footprinting project for the Laboratory for Manufacturing and Sustainability (LMAS) at UC-Berkeley.

In 2008, Professor Dornfeld and his students launched the program to assess, estimate and attempt to reduce LMAS’ annual carbon footprint.  The students were tasked to come up with the carbon footprinting methodology, set the project boundaries, and calibrate the emission source calculations. 

As part of the project’s development, students surveyed carbon offset providers and selected to work with Carbonfund.org, due to competitive pricing for offsets, name recognition, transparency of operations, and ease of working with Carbonfund.org staff. 

The project’s goal to reduce the lab’s carbon footprint is challenged as the lab is part of a larger university facility.  Neither Professor Dornfeld nor any of the mechanical engineering students can directly control the lab’s energy consumption, although the lab benefits from broader University sustainability measures such as energy efficient lighting installations.    One of largest components of the department’s annual carbon footprint is emissions related to travel for conferences and meetings, so efforts are made to use video conferencing versus in-person event attendance.  This illustrates one of the benefits of the project -- to make students more aware of personal choices and resulting carbon emissions. 

After five years of assessing and neutralizing the lab’s annual carbon emissions, the Laboratory for Manufacturing and Sustainability in the Mechanical Engineering Department at UC Berkeley has mitigated the same quantity of carbon dioxide as is sequestered by 6 acres of preserved US forestland.

The UC-Berkeley Mechanical Engineering Department’s experiential learning project to assess, reduce and offset its annual carbon footprint has had a real and measurable impact, and Carbonfund.org is proud to be a partner in these efforts.

 

It’s still early in this new year, and with Earth Day approaching next month, it’s a great time to look for ways to improve, expand and enrich your commitments to protecting and preserving our environment. 

During 2013, Spottswoode Estate Vineyard & Winery of St. Helena, CA augmented their organic agricultural practices and environmental sustainability initiatives by offsetting business flight emissions through Carbonfud.org.  This year, Spottswoode took the additional step to allocate a larger portion of its 1% for the Planet pledge to join the Carbonfree® Business Partnership program, thus neutralizing all of their annual operational emissions by supporting Carbonfund.org’s carbon reduction and clean air projects around the world.    

“Climate Change is the defining issue of our time, and we feel strongly that we must be a part of the solution to this global crisis,” explains Beth Novak Milliken, President and CEO of Spottswoode Estate Vineyard & Winery.  “We take our commitment to the environment seriously, and through our actions, we hope to inspire others to care for and respect our natural resources as well.” 

Spottswoode Estate Vineyard & Winery is a family-owned vineyard and winery renowned for producing classic and refined wines that honor their vineyard origins. The balance, grace, and integrity reflected in their wines also drive a commitment to organic farming and stewardship of the winery’s gardens, historic building, and local watershed. 

Spottswoode Estate Vineyard and Winery has farmed organically since 1985 and became a California Certified Organic Farmer in 1992.  In addition, Spottswoode is certified Napa Green by the Napa Valley Vintners, uses solar power in their vineyard and winery, maintains insectaries and bird boxes in the vineyard, runs tractors on biodiesel and works to conserve water.  The winery spearheaded the restoration of Spring Creek, which defines the southern boundary of their vineyard and is shared with many residential neighbors.  The expansion of the winery’s environmental responsibility to mitigate all operational carbon emissions through the Carbonfree® Business Partnership demonstrates an ongoing dedication to the health of land and air upon which Spottswoode Estate Vineyard and Winery depends.  

David and Victoria Byrnes have worked with organic and fair trade producers for over 12 years, helping other brands launch their products nationally. After seeing there were so few organic snack options on grocery shelves for their own family, they decided to launch their very own brand. With hard work and perseverance, and a focus on organic and Non-GMO Verified products, they launched Good Boy Organics in 2012, featuring BOPS (Baked Organic Potato Snacks), Organicasaurus corn puffs, and Yellow Barn Biodynamic® sauces.      

As part of their commitment to environmental sustainability, Good Boy Organics focuses exclusively on certified organic products. Organic agriculture helps capture and retain carbon in the soil through the use of cover-cropping, green manure and compost. The use of petroleum-based fertilizers is prohibited in organic farming systems.  Organic agriculture’s focus on soil-building improves soil moisture, so less energy is expended to water crops. Good Boy Organics’ Yellow Barn pasta sauce products are also certified Biodynamic®, an agricultural practice in which all inputs and outputs must be grown and re-used on the farm. This reduces carbon emissions from transportation and fosters self-sufficiency. 

Despite all of these benefits of certified organic products and Biodynamic® agriculture, Good Boy Organics recognized that its own business operations produced harmful greenhouse gas emissions, including office space energy consumption, product shipping and business-related travel emissions.  To enhance their environmental commitment, Good Boy Organics joined the Carbonfree® Business Partnership to neutralize those annual operational emissions they could not eliminate. 

“I chose to partner with Carbonfund.org and their Carbonfree® Business Partnership program, because their values to environmental sustainability most closely match our own. They are well-known for their efforts helping companies like mine reduce and offset carbon emissions.” David Byrnes, Founder, Good Boy Organics 

At Good Boy Organics headquarters, they maintain a recycling program for cardboard, paper, glass, plastic, and cans. All materials are printed on recycled paper with vegetable based inks. Their office uses energy-efficient lighting and low-heat strategies in order to save energy.  These measure help to reduce the carbon footprint from their operations, and the Carbonfree® Business Partnership ensures that remaining emissions are mitigated through the support of Carbonfund.org’s clean air technology and carbon reduction projects.

When Carbonfund.org Foundation was created ten years ago with the motto “reduce what you can, offset what you can’t™”, we knew we were positioning ourselves as the last-in-line solution in sustainability plans.  The climate change education component to our mission is a very important one, and a significant portion of our website is dedicated to providing ways that businesses and individuals can reduce their carbon footprint before considering carbon offsetting strategies. 

This approach has attracted businesses that take seriously their responsibility to seek out recycling, reuse, energy efficiency and emissions reduction opportunities.  Fireclay Tile, a California-based sustainable tile manufacturer, is a great example. 

“We are scavengers at heart and scrappy when it comes to saving resources; therefore we are committed to finding new and innovative ways to reuse cast off materials, and to incorporate sustainability into all levels of our manufacturing process, explains Eric Edelson, CEO of Fireclay Tile.  “We chose to partner with Carbonfund.org simply because tile is heavy, and we wanted to offset the carbon footprint created by shipping our tile all over the world.”

Fireclay Tile’s Carbonfree® Business and Shipping program is a final step in the company’s commitment to environmental sustainability.  Fireclay uses Carbonfund.org’s online business calculator to compute annual carbon emissions from office energy usage, business travel, and product shipping and delivery.  The resulting offset donation supports forestry initiatives around the world that sequester carbon dioxide in formal third-party validated, verified and audited projects.      

 Fireclay’s unique process includes made-to-order tile using recycled materials and sustainable manufacturing practices in their California operations.  Their recycled clay body boasts of over 70% recycled materials, which include post-consumer glass, granite dust, and porcelain from toilets collected to back water conservation efforts in the Bay Area. Fireclay’s glass tiles line is composed of 100% recycled glass from local window and solar panel production industries.

 Fireclay maintains onsite recycling practices that include water reclamation at cutting and mixing stations, along with rainwater capture at their Aromas, CA factory.  Glaze overspray is captured at each glazing station and is included with all scrap material and anything considered defective, then crushed into an aggregate for making the recycled clay.  All orders are packaged for shipment using 100% recycled boxes, reused shipping crates, and sawdust from a local furniture manufacturer used to cushion shipments. 

A fine example of “reduce what you can, offset what you can’t™”, Fireclay Tile is walking the walk, and Carbonfund.org is proud to assist in that last step.

 

How does a beautifully restored bed and breakfast with a strong commitment to environmental stewardship, located on the pristine Oregon Coast, overcome practical issues of its operation to achieve its sustainability goals? 

One solution is to join the Carbonfree® Business Partnership program to neutralize all necessary, unavoidable operational emissions in a simple and affordable way.  This solution has worked for The Craftsman Bed & Breakfast for the past six years.

"We chose to partner with Carbonfund.org because they have made alliances with companies we like doing business with," explains Michael Rech, Innkeeper.  “They cooperate with businesses large and small on reforestation and renewable energy projects to meet the goals of companies offsetting their carbon footprint."

The Craftsman B&B maintains a strong “green philosophy” with a laundry list of environmental preservation initiatives, and energy and resource conservation measures.  Lodging rates are discounted for guests that use public transportation, bike or drive an alternative fueled vehicle to the B&B.  In addition, The Craftsman B&B is a certified green lodging property rated “3 leaves” by i stay green.com, and is listed in the Oregon Bed and Breakfast Guild's “Green Inspection Program” developed with Sustainable Travel International. 

The Craftsman Bed & Breakfast offers its guests the chance to experience the beautiful Oregon Coast in style, grace and comfort, and to “park your car, relax and unplug.”  Environmentally responsible travelers have the added assurance that their stay supports strong sustainability practices and Carbonfree® operations. 

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