Leadership requires action, and that action often starts with the leader’s own decisions and choices. New CarbonFree® Business Partner Arcolution took a leadership step in hastening the evolution of architectural firms towards more sustainable and environmentally-sensitive practices.
Arcolution is a full-service architecture firm, representing architecture in evolution. The firm aspires to conceive, design and build a future based on the premise of supporting life and natural systems.
“The building industry has a hugely significant environmental footprint in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption, disruption of natural systems and profligate waste stream. As an architecture firm, we are keenly aware of our responsibility to rethink how we will inhabit this earth,” says Eve Reynolds, Principal Architect at Arcolution. “One by one, we can move a stone, but when we work together we can move mountains. That is why we choose to partner with Carbonfund.org - to make our impact that much more effective.”
By neutralizing 36 metric tonnes of annual operational emissions and supporting Carbonfund.org’s carbon reduction and clean air technology projects, Arcolution will achieve CarbonFree® operations.
Arcolution is committed to leading toward the change they envision in the built environment in three ways: first, by setting an example in the choices they make in their work environment; second, by encouraging environmental awareness, conservation and reduction of personal carbon footprints; and third, by becoming educators to their clients and promoting the most energy efficient solutions for each project.
Arcolution has committed as a firm to offset its annual carbon footprint through Carbonfund.org and encourages all of its clients to offset the carbon footprint of their projects managed by Arcolution.
Mac-Gray Campus Solution’s Lighten the Load™ initiative is reducing college carbon footprints while educating students on the benefits of making sustainable choices in the laundry room. We applaud the company for looking at the impact on the environment as a corporate priority. By encouraging campuses to reduce the environmental impact of their properties and facilities, and offering them environmentally responsible solutions to accomplish this objective, Mac-Gray is serving an important role to help campuses further their efforts to promote on campus sustainability. Since the start of the partnership six years ago, we are proud to report that Mac-Gray has mitigated over 107 million pounds of CO2 through external carbon reduction projects chosen to meet the voluntary guidelines set forth by the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC).
In 2012, Mac-Gray supported our exceptional project located in the “lungs of the Earth” - the Brazilian Amazon. In the world's largest rainforest, the PURUS REDD + (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) Project will protect over 85,000 acres from slash-and-burn forest clearing and prevent millions of tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. The Purus Project, the first ever REDD+ project in the State of Acre, to achieve dual-validation to the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standard (CCBS) with Gold Distinction, boasts many environmental and community benefits including: reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, mitigation of climate change, conservation of habitat for endangered and threatened species, improvement for local water quality, retaining of top soil and control erosion, establishing alternative sources of income and employment opportunities, and social projects and programs such as building a new school and health clinic. It is a high standard, cutting edge project that proves beneficial for both planet and people.
Carbonfund.org Foundation is a proud partner of Mac-Gray’s Lighten the Load program and we look forward to building on the great work that has been done over the past six years.
The first step in the path to sustainability is recognizing that you can make a difference. Each of us can reduce our emissions, whether in our personal or business life, and be part of the environmental solution. Leaders take additional steps to neutralize the emissions they cannot eliminate.
New CarbonFree® Business Partner DermaMed Solutions has done just this. DermaMed Solutions manufactures and distributes equipment designed for skincare professionals, including their flagship microdermabrasion product MegaPeel® and other natural skin care products and protocols, nutritional supplements and home care regimens. In their daily operations, they strive to find new ways of packaging or promoting products that are ecologically friendly, and they recycle whenever possible.
To address the remaining operational emissions, DermaMed Solutions has joined the CarbonFree® Partnership program to neutralize their carbon footprint by supporting clean air technology and carbon reduction projects in the US. It’s an important step towards ensuring a healthier earth.
“DermaMed Solutions chose to partner with Carbonfund.org because we wish we could do more,” says DermaMed co-owner Mark Pinsley. “Finding alternative ways to accomplish sustainably is not always logistically and financially feasible. Carbonfund.org is a great way to make a difference. We are happy Carbonfund.org is here to help!”
In Hindi, the word “uchit” means “fair” or “just”. New CarbonFree® Business Partner Uchit Corporation believes that a fairer world should include people and the natural environment in which we live.
Uchit partners with artisan cooperatives – the majority of whose members are women - to offer fair trade, hand woven textile goods through its online store. Uchit was created for women’s empowerment and a majority of profits go towards supporting projects aimed at achieving that goal. As a registered California Benefit Corporation, Uchit is obligated to provide a general public benefit – a material positive impact on society and the environment. Uchit does so by practicing fair trade, following rigorous environmental policies and giving back to the society.
In order to achieve its environmental objective to keep its footprint on the earth as small as possible, Uchit sources only eco-friendly fabrics made using earth friendly dyes. Every aspect of Uchit is run with the environment in mind, and this is reflected in the product fabrics, labels, packaging and shipping. The additional step to neutralize all remaining operational emissions with Carbonfund.org completes Uchit’s commitment to being a fully sustainable business.
“Uchit believes in a fairer world – both for humans and the earth,” states Ruksana Azhu Valappil, President and CEO of Uchit. “Our commitment to the environment matches that of Carbonfund.org. It is only natural that we arepartners in our environmental objectives.”
Uchit offers a “fair deal” to the artisans whose products it sells, to its customers, and to the environment through attention to sustainable business practices and CarbonFree® operations.
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, the transportation industry continues to contribute approximately 28% of the total greenhouse gas emissions in the US. Yet, transportation services are a necessary part of commerce, recreation and daily life for most. While fuel efficiency standards and gas conservation driving techniques help, emissions from the transportation sector likely will be impossible to eliminate.
Leaders in transportation services recognize the importance of maintaining environmentally responsible programs to reduce operational emissions. Carbonfund.org’s business partner Event Transportation Associates (ETA) exemplifies this leadership, reaching its fifth year as a CarbonFree® Business Partner.
ETA is a national transportation management company specializing in hotel shuttles, meet-and-greet services and VIP moves. ETA has designed and operated transportation systems for some of the largest international sporting, convention, and political events in the world. Their clients have included the World Olympics, National Hockey League and National Basketball Association All Star Games, Harley-Davidson, the Consumer Electronics Design and Installation Association, and various other corporate and association groups.
“ETA is committed to reducing our carbon footprint with the assistance of Carbonfund.org. As a small business in the transportation industry, we are proud of our partnership with Carbonfund.org and the opportunities they offer,” states Kelly Clark, Vice President of ETA. “Carbonfund.org's statement of reducing what you can and offsetting what you can't fits our corporate mission of being a responsible partner to the environment. As a leader in the transportation management industry, we feel it is our responsibility to limit our mark on the environment through positive programs such as Carbonfund.org. We are excited to work with Carbonfund.org on reducing the footprint of the transportation services we provide."
By supporting Carbonfund.org’s clean air technology and carbon reduction projects over the past five years as a CarbonFree® Business Partner, ETA has neutralized almost 450,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. That’s equivalent to the emissions created by burning over 22,600 gallons of gasoline. This continuous commitment to environmental responsibility confirms ETA’s position as a clear leader in sustainable national transportation management services.
Some may think jellyfish are simply a pesky problem when we want to take a swim or snorkel, but they are actually a sign of flagging oceanic health. We think of them as the canary in the coal mine. The difference is the canary dies when there is a problem, but jellyfish flourish in the conditions that global warming wreaks on our oceans.
Climate change heats and acidifies the planet’s oceans. Overfishing adds to the first two major problems. All three contribute to creating an ideal environment for jellyfish to thrive and multiply. So what’s the big deal if there are too many jellyfish?
The issue is that jellyfish take a bad situation and make it worse. They have a unique trait where they’re able to eat up the food chain. This is surprising considering these sea creatures don’t even have brains. However, they actually can consume animals that are bigger, smarter and faster than they are. They damage the ecosystem further by competing with large mammals, such as whales, by feeding on the same fish and plankton that these other animals need to survive.
Marine expert Lisa-ann Gershwin wrote the new book Stung! On Jellyfish Blooms and the Future of the Ocean. She points to an example where jellyfish wiped out an entire food chain simply by eating from the bottom up.
The jellyfish species Mnemiopsis leidyi was accidentally introduced into the Black Sea in the early 1980s. In just a few short years, these jellyfish comprised “95 per cent of the biomass in the Black Sea”. This means “ninety-five per cent of every living thing was this one species of jellyfish”.
Jellyfish could rule our planet’s oceans as they once did in the Precambrian era. A time when biodiversity was low, the jellyfish commanded the oceans, and mammals and reptiles did not exist. This is a scary eventuality, that our feet are firmly planted on the path towards. We need to heed the warnings that these gelatinous invertebrates provide and begin seriously reducing our carbon footprints and offsetting the rest of our carbon emissions.
Last week our planet reached a scary milestone for carbon dioxide, the most important global warming gas. The average carbon dioxide reading exceeded 400 parts per million at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Mauna Loa Observatory (MLO) on the island of Hawaii for the 24 hours that ended at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on Thursday, May 9, 2013. Earth hasn’t had this much carbon dioxide concentrated in the air for at least three million years, which is before human life on the planet.
This should be a wakeup call that major and potentially catastrophic global weather changes are coming and a sign we’re not doing enough to tackle climate change.
We’ve seen carbon dioxide levels above 400 parts per million in the Arctic last year and even in some hourly readings at NOAA’s MLO. However, this is the first time we’ve seen the average reading for an entire day exceed that level. Carbon dioxide levels do rise and fall along with the seasons. As foliage grows over the summer in the Northern Hemisphere, 10 billion tons of carbon will be pulled out of the air. But it’s only a temporary pardon in a situation that’s becoming direr by the moment.
We simply must invest in alternative energy technologies and begin curbing our dangerous global appetite for fossil fuels. Otherwise, the time will come soon where no measurement of the ambient air anywhere on earth, in any season, will produce a reading below 400.
The official target to limit the damage from global warming is 450 parts per million (PPM), which is generally agreed to be the maximum level compatible with that goal. Our relentless, long-term increases in carbon dioxide emissions are likely get us to 450 PPM in well under 25 years. The time to slow down global warming is dwindling quickly. Twenty five years may seem like a long time, but our planet is huge. It will take more time than that to right the ship.
Not every country has agreed to set binding emissions targets, either. Unfortunately, the United States count among those shirking their responsibility. Now greater efforts are necessary, and are all but impossible without severe economic disruptions.
Can we live on a planet that is warmer and wetter? Probably, but billions of people are going to suffer as we make the transition. It’s a better plan to lower our carbon footprints and speedily move to no and low carbon energy sources. The price is going to be high either way, and it’s only getting steeper as we hurtle towards the point of no return.
Many people have read in the news about how the United States is tapping into unprecedented natural gas reserves through the process of hydraulic fracturing, also called fracking, where highly pressurized water, sand and chemicals are inserted to fracture shale rock which releases natural gas. Drilling can have environmental impacts such as contamination of ground water, air quality risks, migration of gases and hydraulic fracturing chemicals to the surface, and surface contamination from spills and flowback.
Or they’ve read about the controversial Keystone XL pipeline project that is seeking approval to move oil extracted from Canada’s tar sands down through the western United States to refineries along the Gulf Coast. There is evidence that extracting oil from the sands are increasing levels of cancer-causing compounds in surrounding lakes far beyond natural levels.
The latest news in accessing exotic forms of carbon comes from Japan, where their government announced that they’ve successfully extracted natural gas from methane hydrates, also called clathrates, buried beneath the sea bed. Clathrates are an ultra-concentrated frozen mix of water and gas. A cubic meter of clathrate contains 164 times as much methane as a cubic meter of methane gas. Extraction of methane hydrates opens up the possibility for a catastrophic release of gas in the form of accidents during the extraction process. Even releasing a small amount of clathrates could contribute significantly to climate change.
Governments and corporations worldwide need to stop spending hundreds of billions of dollars searching for new fossil fuel reserves and discovering ways to extract ever more unusual forms of buried carbon. And we need to stop giving them incentives to do so. Yes, it is hard to want less and do less, but for the sake of our planet’s health we need to curb our global appetite for fossil fuels. Let’s start by lowering our carbon footprints. Then we need to agree to leave fossil fuel reserves in the ground.
According to a detailed estimate, we need to leave four-fifths of global fossil fuel reserves untouched for a good chance of preventing more than 2°C of global warming. The worst part is we have already identified more underground carbon than we can afford to burn between now and the year 3000. Now is the time to implement a low carbon lifestyle. We should do it for our planet, ourselves and for the sake of future generations.
CarbonFree® product certification offers companies a method to quantify, reduce and offset greenhouse gas emissions
ANN ARBOR, Mich., USA and TROIS-RIVIÈRES, Quebec, Canada (February 25, 2013) – Bio-Lub Canada Inc., developer of antifriction treatments and solutions for the ecological and biodegradable degreasing industry, has earned the first CarbonFree® certification in the industry for its bio-hydraulic fluid from Carbonfund.org and NSF Sustainability, a division of global independent public health organization NSF International. As a result, industries that utilize hydraulic processes (automobile, construction machinery, excavation, farming, forestry and others) now have access to an environmentally-friendly, carbon-neutral ISO 46 hydraulic fluid.
Hydraulic systems play an important role in our daily lives. Elevators, forklifts, commercial lawnmowers, garbage trucks, farming equipment, aircraft flight control systems and construction equipment such as loaders or bulldozers all use as much as 100 liters (26.4 gallons) of hydraulic fluid. Some loss to the environment is inevitable. With Bio-Lub biobased hydraulic fluid there will be little, if any, environmental impact. By earning CarbonFree® certification for its BLC 710 bio-hydraulic fluid (in 20-, 205- and 1000-liter packaging), Bio-Lub is helping environmentally conscious organizations reduce their carbon footprint and impact on the environment. The bio-hydraulic fluids are made from vegetable oils derived from a renewable source and are also USDA certified as 96 percent biobased under the BioPreferred® program.
To address its products’ environmental impacts, Bio-Lub Canada underwent a detailed life cycle assessment to measure the carbon emissions produced from its bio-hydraulic fluid products sold worldwide. To achieve carbon neutrality for the products, Bio-Lub offset the per-unit carbon footprint through investment in third-party validated renewable energy, energy efficiency and forestry carbon offset projects. These carbon offset projects are supported through the Carbonfund.org Foundation, a leading nonprofit and developer of the CarbonFree® Product Certification program, the first carbon neutral product label in North America.
“Using environmentally friendly ISO 46 bio-hydraulic fluids such as Bio-Lub’s is particularly important for sensitive environmental applications such as farming and marine dredging. By earning CarbonFree® certification, Bio-Lub is taking its commitment to the environment a step further through offsetting the greenhouse gasses made when producing and distributing the products,” said Tom Bruursema, NSF Sustainability General Manager.
“We at Bio-Lub are excited that our BLC-700 series is the first eco-friendly hydraulic fluid in our industry to be certified worldwide as CarbonFree® by NSF International and Carbonfund.org,” said Michel Cordeau, CEO of Bio-Lub Canada Inc. “Bio-Lub products are designed for superior performance and low environmental impact and Carbonfree® certification is just one more way to validate our commitment to environmentally preferred products.”
How the CarbonFree® Product Certification Program Works
The CarbonFree® Product Certification program uses life cycle assessments (LCAs) to determine the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over a product’s entire life cycle. GHG emissions (expressed as carbon dioxide equivalents) that cannot be reduced or eliminated from the product’s life cycle are offset or ‘neutralized’ with third-party validated renewable energy, energy efficiency and forestry carbon offset projects.
A carbon offset is a verifiable reduction in carbon emissions somewhere in the world other than where the emission is generated. These external reductions offer clean energy transformation (e.g. wind, solar), sequestration (e.g. forestry) and clean technology (e.g. energy efficiency). The projects also offer a range of benefits including conservation, clean water, job creation and innovation. Credits are generated when a project is verified and registered – allowing companies to purchase these credits and offset the emissions produced in the manufacturing and use of their products. These credits are then permanently ‘retired’ on behalf of the product/company.
CarbonFree® certified products earn the use of the CarbonFree® mark along with being listed in the Carbonfund.org online product certification database. The CarbonFree® mark can be found on a variety of products today, including foods, beverages, electronics and apparel.
AboutCarbonfund.org Foundation: Carbonfund.org is a leading nonprofit climate solutions organization, making it easy and affordable for individuals, businesses and organizations to reduce their climate impact and hasten our transition to a low-carbon economy. Carbonfund.org supports innovative renewable energy, energy efficiency and forestry projects globally that reduce carbon emissions and help people. Carbonfund.org has worked with over 2,000 corporate and nonprofit partners. More at www.carbonfund.org.
About NSF International: NSF International is a global independent organization that writes standards, and tests and certifies products for the construction, food, water and consumer goods industries to minimize adverse health effects and protect the environment (nsf.org). Founded in 1944, NSF is committed to protecting human health and safety worldwide.
NSF Sustainability draws upon this expertise in standards development, product assurance and certification, advisory services and quality management systems to help companies green their products, operations, systems and supply chains. Product assessments include testing and certification for more sustainable consumer and commercial products. NSF is also an approved testing laboratory (under ASTM D6866) for conducting biobased testing. Through its National Center for Sustainability Standards, NSF also develops sustainability standards for products such as carpet, flooring and other commercial building materials.
Additional NSF services include NSF Education and Training, safety audits for the food and water industries, nutritional/dietary supplement certification, organic certification provided by QAI (Quality Assurance International) and management systems registrations delivered through NSF International Strategic Registrations (NSF-ISR). NSF-ISR services include ISO 14001 environmental management systems registration and Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and Chain of Custody (COC) certifications.
This Sunday approximately 35,000 protesters gathered on the National Mall to march past the White House and demand action on climate change. The Forward on Climate Change march was said to be the largest climate rally in U.S. history. Protestors organized by groups such as Sierra Club and 350.org’s aim was to urge President Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline project and set limits on carbon pollution from both new and existing power plants. Last year, the EPA proposed limits only on new plants.
For quite some time, Congress has remained gridlocked on the issue of climate change. President Obama has promised to tackle the problem on more than one occasion, but perhaps we the people should consider the effect we can have on bringing about meaningful change. Top down efforts are certainly necessary, but we should all be supporting more bottom up efforts as well. After all, that’s how broad changes have been achieved before.
Take for instance the Civil Rights movement. The White House and Congress were encouraged to overcome their extensive political reservations and bring about true change on the issues of racial equality and voting rights only after a strong grass-roots movement led at the local level by activists such as the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. changed public opinion and made it politically unacceptable to do nothing.
There are other examples of successful grass-roots movements, but the core message is that we have to begin leveraging our bottom up power. This weekend’s rally was a great start. Let’s build on the momentum and begin organized, local activism, especially in the districts and states of those members of Congress that are hesitant to act on global warming.
We cannot expect President Obama to do all of the work on combating climate change. Everyone can do their part at the local level and even in their own homes. Let’s also lessen the demand for energy. We live in such a blessed country, but using less energy and being more efficient is in everyone’s best interests. Here are some good ways to start reducing your carbon footprint, and then you can also go carbon neutral and offset the rest.