To inaugurate the New Year, CarbonFree® Business Partner Inner Ecology™ is proud to become one of the very first Benefit Corporations in the state of Illinois. Founding Director Amanda Kreiss joined thirteen pioneering business leaders to join this newly-established corporate structure to help forge a more sustainable and inclusive economy.
Inner Ecology facilitates the responsible sourcing, assessing, and dispensing of East Asian traditional medicinals of whole plant, mineral and animal origin for the benefit of its customers’ environmental and economic health. Inner Ecology seeks to provide consistent leadership in forging a fresh approach to social entrepreneurship within the field of East Asian Medicine.
Three years ago, Inner Ecology augmented its environmental sustainability commitment by joining the CarbonFree® Business Partnership program in order to neutralize its annual operational carbon emissions and support carbon reduction and clean air projects around the world.
“We relish this singular opportunity to demonstrate publicly the level of our commitment to good stewardship and to be held accountable for the high standards we set”, asserted Amanda Kreiss, the Founding Director of Inner Ecology. “In the longer term, a central aim of our business is to do our part to "green" the profession of East Asian Medicine and support domestic cultivation of our medicinals.”
Benefit Incorporation revives the tradition of corporate charters from an era when states expected and demanded that corporations serve the public good. In Illinois, Benefit Corporations are now legally required to include this material positive impact on society and the environment in their articles of incorporation, and to publicly report annually on overall social and environmental performance in compliance with comprehensive, credible, independent, and transparent third party standards. This offers businesses more freedom in defining success and provides legal protection for those looking to pursue a corporate purpose other than simply maximizing profits.
Carbonfund.org recognizes Inner Ecology’s leadership, both in its ongoing pursuit of environmentally-responsible operations and its new focus on a broader social commitment to fully accountable reporting on all social and environmental performances.
Ecotourism continues to grow in popularity as environmentally-conscious travelers seek out adventures to natural environments while minimizing the negative ecological impacts of their trips. The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) has defined ecotourism as "responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people." New Carbonfund.org partner Quasar Expeditions offers eco-travel adventures through the unique ecosystems of Patagonia, while ensuring that all on-the-ground tour emissions are measured and mitigated through Carbonfund.org.
In order to uphold their commitment to environmentally sustainable tour operations, Quasar Expeditions chose to partner with Carbonfund.org to calculate the emissions generated by each tour vehicle then mitigate those emissions by supporting reforestation and bio-diversity preservation projects around the world.
“Our recent partnership with Carbonfund.org is a big step for Quasar Expeditions in making yet another positive contribution to conservation and sustainable tourism,” explains Fernando Diez, Director of Marketing and E-Commerce. “Although our adventures are methodically designed to leave very light footprints, we know that there is always some environmental impact, so we are now happy to be offsetting our carbon emissions through Carbonfund.org.”
When planning ecotourism excursions, it’s incumbent upon travelers to carefully review and seek out tour providers that are implementing sustainability practices to limit the environmental impact on the fragile habitats they visit. Eco-tour related emissions may be unavoidable, but measurement, reduction and neutralization of these emissions is a key component to maintaining responsible travel options while fighting the negative impacts of climate change.
One of the primary components of Carbonfund.org’s mission is to provide climate change education and public outreach through our programs, and through our business partners and supporters. Two of Carbonfund.org’s business partners recently teamed up in a great example of public outreach, hosting a zero-waste event in their community.
The City of Pleasanton, CA and Hacienda Business Park Owners Association hosted the 3rd annual Pleasanton Green Scene Fair on September 20th at Hacienda West. The event featured over 100 exhibitors providing information, demonstrations, raffles and samples of products related to health and nutrition, energy efficiency, commuting alternatives, water conservation, recycling, and locally-sourced foods. The event also included a special display of alternative fuel vehicles, a mini-farmers market and the “Off The Grid” gourmet food trucks selling natural and sustainable treats.
Hacienda Business Park Owners Association has been a CarbonFree® Business Partner since 2007, calculating and neutralizing annual operational emissions by supporting Carbonfund.org’s carbon reduction and clean energy technology projects. And Hacienda’s Owners Association helps to spread the word about Carbonfund.org’s mission and projects, including the Million Tree Challenge, to the many businesses that occupy Hacienda’s properties. They also recommended that the City of Pleasanton contact Carbonfund.org to evaluate the fair’s carbon emissions and create a program to mitigate emissions associated with the day’s events by supporting Carbonfund.org’s clean air projects.
The road to succeeding in the fight against climate change and to hasten our transition to a cleaner energy future is to act boldly and work together to engage businesses, communities and networks to join in local and global efforts. The Pleasanton Green Scene Fair is a great example of partnership among a local business leader in sustainable operations, their environmentally-aware municipality and Carbonfund.org to promote environmental conservation and sustainable business practices in their community.
The “Leave No Trace Behind” ethic is supported by the four major US federal land management agencies and by most eco-travel organizations trying to uphold high standards of environmentally-responsible tour operations. These principles can be followed in eco-tourism planning and observed onsite during tours, but eco-travel operations still generate other sources of harmful environmental emissions through transportation and onsite energy consumption during tour operations.
Carbonfund.org works with several eco-tour operators who take their environmental commitment beyond the tenets of “Leave No Trace Behind” by measuring, reducing where possible and mitigating all carbon emissions from their operations, and CarbonFree® partner Jackson Hole Eco Tour Adventures is a great example.
Jackson Hole Eco Tour Adventures maintains carbon neutral operations for the transportation and energy consumption they cannot eliminate by supporting Carbonfund.org’s clean air and carbon reduction projects around the world.
"It's so important to do what we can to leave the smallest impact possible here on planet earth. This is why we partner with the Carbonfund.org," states Taylor Phillips, Owner and Lead Guide for Jackson Hole Eco Tour Adventures.
Eco Tour Adventures was created with the idea of helping people connect with and gain a deeper appreciation for the natural world through wildlife observation and natural history interpretation. Their premise is that their tour guests develop a stronger bond with the natural world and will make more environmentally sound choices in their daily lives. TripAdvisor recently named Jackson Hole Eco Tour Adventures as one of ten great wildlife tours. Carbonfund.org is proud to partner with Eco Tour Adventures in their carbon emissions mitigation efforts, helping their organization serve as a positive role model for its tour guests and for other eco-tourism businesses.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology describes cloud computing as offering the potential for tremendous cost savings and increased operational agility to organizations. Another key benefit of cloud computing is the access to up-to-date versions of numerous business technology platforms and applications. New Carbonfund.org Business Partner Spyrel adds to the benefits of cloud computing by providing their customers a service partner whose operations are CarbonFree®.
As part of its own corporate sustainability initiatives, Spyrel maintains carbon neutral operations by supporting Carbonfund.org’s energy efficiency innovation projects. Their status as a CarbonFree® Business Partner provides a market differentiator and underscores Spyrel’s commitment to market leadership in the area of environmentally-sound business practices.
An example of Spyrel’s innovations in energy efficiency is their TREES Technology (Tools for Reporting Energy Efficiency Services), which helps utilities measure the energy efficiency performance of their service delivery, thus reducing energy waste. As the least expensive unit of energy is the one that’s never used, Spyrel’s TREES solution also contributes to the company’s overall sustainability initiatives.
"Our environmental commitment is helping customers enjoy powerful productivity gains by leveraging innovative cloud computing platform based applications for specific business verticals,” explains Imtiaz Khan, CEO/President of Spyrel. “By partnering with Carbonfund.org, we will be able to achieve that goal ensuring corporate sustainability is empowered.”
Spyrel’s leadership in supporting energy efficiency technology development and becoming a carbon neutral business demonstrates their long-term commitment to these corporate sustainability goals and to supporting Carbonfund.org’s overall mission.
The proliferation of killer whales bred in captivity, on display in aquariums and public performances, and in Hollywood movies over the past thirty years has spurred the interest in killer whale watching in the wild. Yet the worldwide population of Orcas has been difficult for researchers to assess, and the species is threatened by depletion of the global fish population, oceanic pollution, large-scale oil spills, and habitat disturbance caused by noise and conflicts with boats, including whale watching tour operators.
Organizations such as the Pacific Whale Watch Association has helped by establishing strong memberships and specific guidelines for whale watching tours that help to protect both the whales and the tour groups seeking the memorable experience of watching Orcas in the wild.
In a stronger step towards developing environmentally-responsible tour operations, Carbonfund.org is pleased to announce a new partnership that brings carbon neutral whale watching to the Vancouver Island area. Carbonfund.org has recently partnered with Eagle Wing Tours, a locally owned and family operated marine adventure eco-tourism company based on Vancouver Island, to create Canada’s first carbon neutral whale watching experience. Eagle Wing Tours assessed the full estimated annual carbon emissions from its whale watching tour operations and established a carbon mitigation program through Carbonfund.org by supporting our carbon reduction and clean energy technology projects. This carbon neutral program is the final step in Eagle Wing Tours’ Go Green Whale Watching Program.
“We are trying to redefine what a wildlife tour company is. Spotting that whale is the cherry on top of an all ready very comprehensive marine experience,” explains Brett Soberg, Co-Owner and Captain at Eagle Wing Tours. “What we can do to protect these species by supporting education, conservation and responsible business is where we really count. We selected to support Carbonfund.org due their non-profit designation which supports our 1% For the Planet membership.”
Carbonfund.org encourages eco-tourism companies to carefully monitor their environmental impact and to mitigate harmful emissions by investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy innovation, and supporting forestry and habitat preservation. We are pleased to welcome Eagle Wing Tours to join our eco-tourism partners in these efforts.
Producing environmentally-conscious clothing is a complicated and often vexing challenge for “green” clothing manufacturers. Certainly, conventionally-grown cotton has been clearly identified as one of the world’s “dirtiest” crops, consuming 10% of the world’s pesticides and 25% of the world’s insecticides, according to the Pesticide Action Network North America. Synthetic fabrics are, well, just that – synthetics, made from petro-chemicals, releasing large quantities of nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide, and producing toxic waste water, in their manufacturing processes, and are not biodegradable.
Despite “cleaner” fabric choices, clothing manufacturers face additional unavoidable carbon emissions in the growing, harvesting and refining of raw materials, the clothing manufacturing process, and the ultimate shipping and delivery of their products. Carbonfund.org’s emission neutralization strategies help environmentally-responsible producers to mitigate these operational emissions by supporting renewable energy development and carbon reduction projects around the world.
One of Carbonfund.org’s long-time CarbonFree® Business Partners, ONNO Textiles, produces its socially-responsible t-shirts using sustainable fibers from bamboo, hemp and organic cotton. Their website provides great information about the fabrics used to make their more sustainably produced shirts.
But ONNO Textiles recognized the harmful environmental impact of their overall production and delivery processes. They manufacture their apparel overseas, and move raw materials and finished product all over the globe. To balance the resulting environmental harm, ONNO Textiles has partnered with Carbonfund.org for the past five years to neutralize their operational emissions by supporting our renewable energy technology and carbon reduction initiatives around the world. This long-term commitment to carbon emissions mitigation through investment in clean air projects makes the CarbonFree® partnership between ONNO Textiles and Carbonfund.org a great example of true operational sustainability.