Frequent travelers know that metal hotel keys are almost a thing of the past, widely replaced by flexible plastic hotel key cards.  In some instances, these key card systems add energy efficiency benefits by auto-controlling the electricity usage in the room, switching off lights or turning off the electricity to the room altogether when the guest leaves the room. 

One of our CarbonFree® Business Partners, The Greenfield Group, has developed unique ways to stand out in the competitive hotel key card marketing business.  As a business committed to maintaining carbon neutral operations by supporting our global reforestation projects, the Greenfield Group has become a  CarbonFree® supplier to its hotel clients.  In order to operate as sustainably as possible, the Greenfield Group partnered with Carbonfund.org to analyze the carbon emissions created by their annual business operations, travel, and product shipping, then implemented a carbon emissions mitigation program by investing in reforestation and avoided deforestation projects around the world. 

The Greenfield Group provides complimentary custom-designed hotel key cards featuring local business advertisements, and they further augment their services by supporting various environmental causes as an integral part of their business model.  In addition to being a carbon neutral business, The Greenfield Group helps provide a free community bike program in the Ocean Beach community of San Diego and participates in local tree planting campaigns and trash cleanup efforts, and they developed a clever and innovative way to recycle old hotel keycards into guitar picks for students, teachers, and guitar players of all ages.   

 “At The Greenfield Group, it is our priority to align our practices with what is best for the environment,” says Rob Greenfield, founder of The Greenfield Group.  “In most businesses, including ours, it is very difficult to not have some undesirable impacts on the earth.  That is why we have partnered with Carbonfund.org to offset the negative aspects of our business that we can't control.”

Currently, The Greenfield Group donates over 5% of its total revenue to environmental projects, and their goal is to reach 10% total revenues to the environment by the end of 2012.  This type of market leadership and environmental commitment is prevalent among Carbonfund.org’s business partners, and we are pleased to partner with The Greenfield Group to help them achieve sustainable business operations. 

Tuesday, 16 October 2012 15:01

Tying the Economy and the Environment

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The anemic U.S. economy could get a boost from a surprising source.  A study released last week calculated that 70,000 new jobs could be created by the Atlantic Wind Connection over a 10-year span as the offshore wind industry grows.  The project includes installing an immense transmission backbone along the East coast connected to a chain of offshore wind farms, and is supported in part financially by Google Energy.  The aforementioned jobs would be created by manufacturing, building, operating and maintaining wind turbines, and an additional 40,000 jobs would be needed to serve the supply chain.

The 110,000 jobs directly created by the industry and supply chain do not take into account 50,000 jobs that could be generated from the additional economic activity effect.  That is when workers in the area use local businesses to meet their daily needs such as grocery stores and housing.

The project entails construction of a 380-mile power line from Virginia to New Jersey that enables up to 7,000 megawatts of electricity to be produced from offshore wind farms.  That’s enough electricity to power over 2 million homes in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Backers of the Atlantic Wind Connection commissioned the study by information and analytics company IHS Inc. which concluded that large-scale wind development along the Atlantic seaboard would also have a combined economic impact for the states of $19 billion and increase local, state and federal government revenues by $4.6 billion.

Wind energy generates more than just renewable energy; it creates actual jobs too and during a time when the nation’s flagging economy badly needs them.

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. 

Thursday, 11 October 2012 14:36

Prioritizing Energy Efficiency

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Some businesses express reluctance when it comes to embracing the path to a cleaner energy future.  They see nothing but dollar signs.  However, a recent case study by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) Climate Corps demonstrates that it is possible to get into a “virtuous cycle” of energy efficiency that pays dividends for both the company’s bottom line and the environment.

EDF Climate Corps is a great program that matches either specially-trained MBA (Masters in Business Administration) or MPA (Masters in Public Administration) students as summer fellows with companies, cities and universities interested in achieving energy efficiency to cut costs and greenhouse gas emissions.  Since 2008, the program’s fellows have built business cases for smart energy investments.  The end results are lighting, computer equipment and heating and cooling system efficiencies that can cut 1.6 billion kilowatt hours of electricity use and 27 million therms of natural gas annually, equivalent to the annual energy use of 100,000 homes; avoid over 1 million metric tons of CO2 emissions annually, equivalent to the annual emissions of 200,000 passenger vehicles; and save $1 billion in net operational costs over the project lifetimes.

 The Virtuous Cycle of Organizational Energy Efficiency has five components: executive engagement; resource investment; people and tools; identification, implementation and measurement; and results and stories.  According to EDF, the virtuous cycle is a model of change for energy efficiency across even extremely different organizations.

The business profiled in the case study is Diversey, which is a subsidy of Sealed Air.  Diversey entered the virtuous cycle of energy efficiency by establishing a public commitment to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions from operations to eight percent below 2003 levels by 2013.  This was also the initial component of the virtuous cycle, executive engagement. 

Once Diversey’s leaders committed, policies from the top down required that energy efficiency projects produce a positive return on investment in a payback period of three years or less.  This criterion allowed Diversey to invest $19 million, and yield $32 million in cash savings over the life of the program in order to reach their emissions reduction goals.

 Because the goals and criteria were clearly articulated, Diversey’s ability to measure success was also positively impacted.  In fact, Diversey’s environmental health and safety department received a 40 percent year-on-year budget increase, which is significant because all other divisions of the company at the time were undergoing a 50 percent budget cut.  This was due to the capacity to produce data that demonstrated energy project performance.  According to the report, plant managers were also engaged and incentivized to implement efficiency measures due to centralized capital budgeting.

This is all to say that there are easy and affordable ways for businesses to invest in a commitment to combat climate change that is both good for the company and the environment.  Saving money is always in style; simply combine that goal with one of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and you’ll be maximizing the good you can do.

Thursday, 11 October 2012 12:55

Welcoming Macmillan Publishing

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Carbonfund.org Foundation Welcomes Macmillan Publishing to the Large Business Partnership Program.

Macmillan is a group of publishing companies in the United States held by Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck, which is based in Stuttgart, Germany. American publishers include Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Henry Holt & Company, W.H. Freeman and Worth Publishers, Palgrave Macmillan, Bedford/St. Martin’s, Picador, Roaring Brook Press, St. Martin’s Press, Tor Books, and Macmillan Higher Education.

As a key component of its sustainability initiative, Macmillan has set a goal to reduce the CO2 emissions generated by its annual business activities by 65% (over a 2009 baseline) by the year 2020.  This includes the carbon emissions mitigation through Carbonfund.org including supporting renewable energy, forestry and biodiversity preservation.

Macmillan is well on track toward realizing this ambitious goal through the programs and actions undertaken to date.  Some examples are: 

  • Rationalizing sourcing of paper based on the CO2 profile of the various mills that manufacturer the specific grades that Macmillan uses in printing its books.
  • By mid-2013, completing the 3-year transition of their car fleet to 90%+ hybrid vehicles which will result in a reduction of over 800 metric tons of CO2 emissions per year from associated fuel savings.
  • Significant investment in lighting retrofits at distribution/returns facilities that are 45-50% more energy efficient than the replaced configurations.

“Sustainability is part of the very mission of our company. Not just as a press release, not just around the edges, but in the very fabric of the place. It is as important as growth, as important as profitability.  It may even be more important."

“While we’ve made great headway in reducing emissions in those areas under our immediate control, we know it will take a longer horizon to gain the required savings in areas where we wield influence, but cannot drive change just by force of will.  That’s why we have pursued a partnership with Carbonfund.org to mitigate our total annual emissions by offsetting approximately 25% of that total through our sponsorship and support of several of the creative, verified, and geographically diverse programs that they administer,” says John Sargent, CEO of Macmillan.

Macmillan sets an important example for the publishing industry in both internal and external carbon reduction initiatives.

About Macmillan (http://us.macmillan.com)

 

 

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.  

Part of an effectively designed corporate social responsibility program is to address the interests and concerns of the clients, customers and employees of the company.  The fitness industry has recognized that its customers and employees seek out businesses that share their commitment to social responsibility and environmental sustainability, but not all have addressed these concerns.

Carbonfund.org partner HealthCare International (HCI), a leading supplier and distributor of innovative products for health, wellness, fitness and active aging, took action by implementing a program to assess and neutralize the environmental impact of its annual operations.  Since 2008, HCI has measured and offset all carbon emissions associated with the energy used in its manufacturing, packaging, transportation and operational aspects of their business through their CarbonFree® Partnership program. This commitment places HCI as an environmental leader in the fitness industry and demonstrates proactive steps in the fight against global climate change.

In order to neutralize its annual operational emissions, HCI has made itself carbon neutral by supporting Carbonfund.org’s carbon reduction projects which are helping to build renewable energy sources, develop reforestation projects and invest in energy efficiency technology worldwide. Considering the implications of climate change, maintaining a carbon emissions mitigation program through Carbonfund.org is a natural extension of the work HCI does in improving the health and wellness of its customers and employees.

Glenn Safadago president of HealthCare International comments, “Collectively, the fitness industry has not made an effort to reduce its impact on the environment. Our goal is to be the first company in the fitness industry to be considered a “green” manufacturer.”  We commend HCI for their leadership position in fitness industry sustainability and are proud to partner with them in these ongoing 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.