A study released in 2009 by two New Zealand scientists, claiming that a medium-sized family dog had a carbon footprint twice the size of an SUV, caused quite a stir in the pet food industry.  Carbonfund.org business partner Ainsworth Pet Nutrition took note.  A fifth generation family-owned and operated company catering to all segments of the pet food industry, Ainsworth Pet Nutrition makes a wide spectrum of pet foods and snacks, from brands that offer sound nutrition and convenience to ultra-premium specialty foods. 

In late 2009, Ainsworth Pet Nutrition began an ambitious company-wide Social & Eco Responsibility program, making significant achievements across the entire company and establishing longer-term 2015 goals for its logistics, packaging, manufacturing, products and community. By 2011, their manufacturing operations achieved a recycling rate of over 90% and reduced waste from 6% to 2% in their largest facility.  The company’s overall sustainability goals for 2015 aim to reduce overall carbon emissions from manufacturing and shipping by 15%, water-usage by 25%, achieve a 99% recycle-rate, and produce less than 1% created waste.   

In 2012, Ainsworth Pet Nutrition took the additional step to analyze then neutralize the annual carbon dioxide emissions related to the manufacturing process and shipping of two of the company’s high-end brand, Back to Basics and Rachael Ray Nutrish.  Ainsworth partnered with Carbonfund.org to support a CCBS-validated reforestation and preservation project in the Darien, Panama rainforest in order to mitigate 2012 annual operational emissions for these two brands.   

Ainsworth plans to continue to extend its sustainability initiatives to examine product sourcing, reviewing the entire supply chain to select suppliers based on their environmental actions, proximity to production facilities, and socially-responsible behavior.

 “Continuous reduction of our environmental impact has become one of Ainsworth’s top strategic objectives,” states Jeff Waters, President of Ainsworth Pet Nutrition.

Carbonfund.org is proud to partner with a forward-thinking company like Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, helping them to lead the pet food manufacturing industry in maintaining an aggressive and ongoing commitment to operational sustainability. 

The American Forest and Paper Association continues to make strides as an industry intent on leading the expansion of paper recycling.  The success of their “Better Practices, Better Planet 2020” initiative will be partly dependent upon consumer preferences shifting to products containing fully or partially recycled paper.  In order to help close the “recycling loop”, “green” consumers must continue to seek out businesses that offer eco-conscious products featuring recycled paper, in order to expand the practice of paper recycling and the manufacturing, marketing and price-competitiveness of products containing recycled paper.  CarbonFree® Business Partner Paper Culture was led by its strong environmental focus, one of the foundations upon which the company has built its business, to develop its product line on 100% post consumer recycled paper and to take additional measures to neutralize the carbon emissions from its business operations.  

As part of its ongoing environmental commitment, Paper Culture took the important step five years ago to neutralize its annual operational emissions and become a CarbonFree® Partner.  "In choosing Carbonfund.org, Paper Culture wanted a partner that had a strong, auditable record of driving additional green house gas reducing projects,” explains Christopher Wu, Paper Culture Owner.  “When we looked at their marquee list of partners that includes names like Staples, Discovery Channel and Virgin, when combined with the audit trail provided by Environmental Resources Trust to verify the various Carbonfund.org projects, our decision was made." 

Over the past five years, Paper Culture’s CarbonFree® commitment has neutralized its own operational emissions by steadily supporting Carbonfund.org's reforestation projects around the world, which reduce carbon dioxide emissions through tree planting and forestry management efforts.     

Paper Culture is an online stationery company offering modern eco-friendly personalized stationery and cards such as baby announcementsholiday cards, and baby shower invitations.  All Paper Culture card and stationery designs are printed on 100% post consumer recycled paper, and Paper Culture plants a tree in a US national forest with every order. These steps, together with the long-term commitment to CarbonFree® operations, underscore Paper Culture’s focus on environmental responsibility and demonstrate their sustainability leadership within the paper products industry. 

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.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) delivered the yearly update of the High-Risk Series report to Congress this week, which officially elevated the threat of climate change.  The report contains the greatest threats the government faces in carrying out federal programs, and the GAO is responsible for identifying items such as flaws in the defense contracting process and health care program fraud.

This year the GAO believed it had to highlight the risk from climate change despite some members of Congress’ dismissal or outright denial of global warming.  Regardless if some in Congress do not like the move, the GAO is supported by the information coming from the National Academy of Sciences and even from the federal government's own global change research program.  The GAO did, however, sidestep the issue of what is causing climate change.  Instead they focus on urging lawmakers to prepare, and most of all, budget for more disasters.

The number of disasters in 2012 was above 90, a record number.  The federal government’s exposure to the increasing number of disasters from extreme weather brought about by global warming includes owning hundreds of thousands of buildings, the operation of defense installations, financial disaster assistance to local governments, and managing crop and flood insurance programs.

Even if the lawmakers cannot agree on climate change, the fact is that a wide variety of disasters are on the increase and Congress has not planned or budgeted for them.  The time for ignoring the issue is past.  Hopefully Congress will heed the warnings and begin addressing our country’s part of global warming in a meaningful way.  If they do not, the issue may be taken out of their hands.  President Obama said in this week’s State of the Union address that, “I urge this Congress to get together, pursue a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change, like the one John McCain and Joe Lieberman worked on together a few years ago.  But if Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will.”

Various studies have shown that a healthier lifestyle leads to a lower personal carbon footprint.  Mother Nature Network cites five specific ways in which a person’s lifestyle choices and fitness can affect the environment and consumption of natural resources. 

There are many options available for fitness instruction and nutritional counseling.  CarbonFree® Business Partner BodyWorks Lifestyle, with five locations in the greater Orange County and Los Angeles area, provides fitness plans and environmental leadership to its clients and to the fitness industry.  BodyWorks Lifestyle is not just about fitness, it’s about taking control—of your weight, your stress levels, your nutrition, your choices and your health, to reach your goals for overall wellness and personal training while reducing your carbon footprint and negative impact on the environment.

BodyWorks Lifestyle has chosen to take a leadership position in the fitness and healthy living industry by offsetting its annual operational emissions, supporting Carbonfund.org’s forestry projects around the world.  They also donate 1% of their annual profits back to the planet and use environmentally friendly household cleaning products at their facility. 

"We chose to partner with Cabonfund.org because we believed that, as a company, if we were to lead by example and help offset our carbon footprint, we could encourage our clients and business partners to do the same,” explains Huw Lloyd Davies, Founder of BodyWorks Lifestyle and a life-long fitness and outdoor enthusiast.  “We believe that we all need to do our part to bring about sustainable change."

BodyWorks Lifestyle fitness coaches promote nutrition supplements and organic foods, environmentally renewable clothing suppliers, and run seminars on home energy efficiency for their clients.  They also offer a wide range of outdoor fitness events to help clients develop their commitment to a more active lifestyle while learning what they can do to protect the natural resources in their community.

If your New Year’s resolutions include a renewed commitment to a healthy lifestyle, and a lower personal carbon footprint, start your exercise regime today, “green” your eating habits, and consider offsetting your annual work commuting or vehicle mileage through Carbonfund.org.

Recent research by a team from Tel Aviv University employed three NASA satellites to measure pollutants in the atmosphere over 189 of the world’s megacities, providing a new global standard for assessing levels of air pollution in various parts of the Earth’s atmosphere.  Ensuring that such uses of space technology, for environmental analysis and other human and environmental security applications, is available now and for generations to come is one of the policy discussions encouraged by the Secure World Foundation (SWF), dedicated to promoting cooperative solutions for the secure and sustainable use of outer space for the benefit of humanity and the environment.

The Secure World Foundation works with governments, industry, international organizations and civil society to develop and promote ideas and actions for international collaboration regarding the safe, secure and sustainable use of outer space. 

For the past six years, SWF has taken a leadership position with respect to its own operations by neutralizing its annual carbon emissions through its support of Carbonfund.org’s global carbon reduction projects. 

 “Our Foundation’s core values challenge us to be good stewards of all our resources to minimize our impact on the Earth.  By upholding our core values, we feel that we show our shared dedication to achieving our mission and our commitment to a sustainable environment on Earth as well as in space.”

Carbonfund.org encourages all of our business partners to shoot for the stars in pursuing meaningful and long-term sustainability initiatives as an integral part of your business plan.  Call us to discuss ways your business can achieve carbon neutral operations and support important clean air and renewable energy technology projects around the world. 

The Carbonfund.org Foundation is honored to receive the support of Forever Cheese for the 6th year in a row.  Since 2007, Forever Cheese has supported wind energy, reforestation and renewable energy projects through Carbonfund.org Foundation.  In fact, with 2012’s support, Forever Cheese has offset over 1,645 metric tons of CO2 and over 7,099 Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) of green power.

To put this support into perspective, the six years that Forever Cheese has supported emission reduction projects is equivalent to removing almost 1,400 cars off the road for a year or to the electricity that almost 1,000 homes would use in a year.  It is also similar to recycling almost 2,500 tons of waste instead of sending it to a landfill. (Source: EPA  http://www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-resources/calculator.html

In 2012 Forever Cheese took their support a step further. For Earth Day 2012 Forever Cheese stepped up and set the bar for Carbonfund.org partners by planting 7,500 trees globally.  Tree planting projects sequester CO2 from the atmosphere, prevent erosion, protect biodiversity, and provide renewable resources for local communities. Planting trees provides flood control by minimizing runoff and the loss of top soil, provides habitat and nutrition for wildlife and nurseries for local fish populations, and offers alternative economic livelihoods for local communities in the form of managing tree nurseries and planting, assisting with regulation of the water and nutrient cycle.

Co founder, Michele Buster, remarks “We are committed to wind energy as a solution for the future and reforestation as well.  We know that we can make a greater impact as a company than as single individuals.  We’d like to feel that we serve as a role model in our industry to incentivize others to support renewable energy resources.”

Carbonfund.org is grateful for the six years of partnership with Forever Cheese - a company showing an important example of how business can be part of critical climate change solutions.

About Forever Cheese:  Forever Cheese, founded in 1998, is committed to sourcing the finest cheeses and specialty foods from Italy, Spain, Portugal and Croatia. The company represents exclusively the following brands: Fulvi®, Dehesa Cordobesa®, El Trigal®, Drunken Goat®, Ca De Ambros®, Bonati, Italfine, Caro, Cacao Sampaka, Casa Pareja, CARM and Mitica®. Forever Cheese products can be found in the finest specialty food shops and restaurants across the country.  www.forevercheese.com -30-

Ever wonder how large facilities in your state are doing regarding greenhouse gas emissions?  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began collecting greenhouse gas emissions data in 2010 under the congressionally mandated Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Reporting Program.  In February 2013, the EPA's program released its second year (2011) of emissions data, which provides public access to emissions data by sector, by greenhouse gas, and by geographic region such as county or state.

The 2011 data includes information from facilities in 41 source categories that emit large quantities of greenhouse gasses.  New this year is data collected from 12 additional source categories, including petroleum and natural gas systems and coal mines.

Highlights of findings from the 2011 data include:

  • Power plants represent approximately one-third (33 percent) of total U.S. GHG emissions, making them the largest stationary source of GHGs in the country
    • 2011 emissions from power plants were roughly 4.6 percent below 2010 emissions, demonstrating an ongoing increase in power generation from natural gas and renewable energy sources
    • Refineries represented the third-largest source of GHG emissions, which increased by a half of a percent over 2010 data
    • Overall emissions reported from the 29 sources tracked in both years were 3 percent lower in 2011 than in 2010

Transparency is critical to a better environment and the key to conquering climate change.  If companies, communities and individuals take a look at how large facilities are doing in terms of greenhouse gas emissions and compare the latest data to national averages, perhaps we can find ways to cut these emissions and begin to curb global warming.  Being better informed is also good for the businesses as they may identify opportunities to conserve energy and thereby save money.

Check out how individual large facilities in your state, county, and even zip code perform.  Access this data through the Facility Level Information on Green House gases Tool (FLIGHT), which is a web-based data publication tool, or dig deeper through the EPA’s online database Envirofacts that allows information searches via zip code.

Page 11 of 78