Friday, 29 June 2012 15:30

What is a Carbon Footprint?

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Your carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases produced to directly and indirectly support your activities. It is usually expressed in equivalent metric tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2).

The average American is responsible for a whopping 50,000 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions annually. Some examples of your carbon footprint are:

  1. When your car’s engine burns fuel it creates CO2, the amount generated depends on its fuel consumption and the driving distance.
  2. Heating your house with oil, gas, or coal also generates CO2.  
  3. Even if you heat (or cool) your house with electricity, CO2 is emitted during the generation of electrical power, most of which comes from coal in the US.
  4. When you buy food and goods, the production of the food and goods creates CO2; again, the amount depends on where the foods and goods came from and how they were created.
  5. Traveling on a plane generates CO2 in the same ways a car does.
  6. Weddings even create CO2 emissions!  See this past post for more information about how to reduce your wedding’s environmental impact.
  7. Also consider all the indirect emissions you are in part responsible for: the roads we drive on, the schools our kids attend, the mall and grocery story, our shared military and city hall. It all adds up.

The bottom line is your carbon footprint is the sum of all carbon dioxide emissions that were generated by your activities in a given time period, typically one year.

The carbon footprint is a powerful tool in understanding your personal impact on global warming.  Most people are surprised by the amount of CO2 their activities create.  If you personally want to reduce your contribution to global warming, the calculation and monitoring of your carbon footprint is critical.

Carbonfund.org offers helpful calculators to estimate your carbon footprint.  Individuals can follow this link for more information.  http://www.carbonfund.org/individuals  There is also a calculator for businesses here

At Carbonfund.org, our motto is “reduce what you can, offset what you can’t.™”  Make a commitment to sustainable living; get started on reducing and offsetting your carbon footprint now!

There are many driving factors today that cause businesses to evaluate their goals, objectives and operational initiatives.  New CarbonFree® business partner C1 Consulting, a market research and consulting firm serving the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, found incentive to begin a complete assessment of their business operations when they decided to apply to the San Francisco Green Business Program.  What began as an effort to become “more green” has led C1 Consulting to evaluate every aspect of their business’ impact on the environment. 

The San Francisco Green Business Program was started by three city agencies, coordinating a set of strict standards for environmentally sustainable business practices, providing resources and assistance to business applicants to help them meet the program’s standards, and recognizing these businesses for their efforts to operate in an environmentally responsible manner. 

C1 Consulting helps its pharmaceutical and biotechnology clients successfully launch and grow their products in the rapidly changing and challenging healthcare environment, so C1 Consulting understands the value of knowing your customer base and addressing what matters most to them. C1 stands for "customers first" and client satisfaction is their most important measure of success.  Now, environmentally sustainable operations are a key goal and a valuable measure of C1 Consulting’s success as well.

Last year, C1 Consulting made the decision to identify, calculate and neutralize the annual operational emissions from their New Jersey, Georgia and California offices, including emissions from office energy usage, business travel, employee commuting and mail/materials shipments. C1 Consulting is determined to evolve into a more environmentally responsible, forward-thinking organization. 

“Although C1 Consulting is a small organization, our employees travel frequently for research. We have always been cognizant of the impact of air travel and other aspects of our business operations on the environment, and have always thought of finding some way to offset it,” explains Stephanie Polizzi, C1 Consulting Office Manager in San Francisco.  “When we applied for the San Francisco Green Business Program, we began to evaluate our choices and our impact on the environment. We did some web sleuthing and finally settled on Carbonfund.org’s carbon offset program for both our New Jersey and California offices. In Carbonfund.org, we found not only our gateway to environmental responsibility, but helpful, dedicated staff to help identify the extent of our need and present the best possible solutions.” 

C1 Consulting is supporting Carbonfund.org’s energy efficiency, renewable energy and reforestation projects as part of their commitment to sustainable business operations.  Carbonfund.org applauds C1 Consulting’s efforts to be an industry leader against the effects of climate change and to reduce the environmental impact of their operations.  

Thursday, 28 June 2012 19:14

EPA Free to Regulate Greenhouse Gas Emissions

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We can do a lot as individuals to combat global warming.  But it is undeniable that governments can do more since they harness the power of the collective.  The Obama administration’s strategy is to control global warming emissions through regulation.  This week a huge victory was given to both the administration and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by the federal appeals court in the District of Columbia.  The decision was unanimous in upholding the agency’s landmark rulings to control greenhouse gases.

The issue seems like a “no brainer” that the EPA should regulate greenhouse gases.  However, dozens of lawsuits from industry groups and 14 states challenged four rules that aim to limit greenhouse gases.  The biggest rule is the EPA’s 2009 “endangerment finding” and the foundation on which the other three rules rest.  The EPA contended, and was vindicated in this ruling, that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions constitute a danger to public health and therefore could be regulated under the Clean Air Act.  The three-judge panel acknowledged and gave credence to climate change as a real and legitimate threat to public health and safety.  So now climate change deniers have less of a leg to stand on; the EPA based its case on sound science and careful research which stood up to a rigorous judicial review and emerged victorious.

The ruling cleared the way for the EPA to proceed with clean car standards and restrictive permits on power plants and other major industrial polluters.  Perhaps now power plants will put increased effort into developing cost-effective and reliable methods to capture carbon emissions, or at least offset them.  If not, the future will certainly be in renewable energy sources now that there are stricter limitations on greenhouse gas emissions.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012 08:39

With Solosso, Style Can Be Sustainable

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Many of us might associate custom-tailored dress shirts for men as being a high luxury item; something only the elite can afford, and probably not made by a company with a strong commitment to environmentally sustainable operations.

CarbonFree® Business Partner Solosso Private Limited breaks that mold by combining their passion for creating high quality, custom-tailored men’s dress shirts with a dedication for producing their shirts from fine fabrics that are produced in a sustainable way, and are made in an environmentally conscious manner.

A Swiss-led Singaporean company, Solosso works hard to minimize the environmental impact of their organization, and with the help of Carbonfund.org, to calculate their operation’s carbon footprint, including all product shipment emissions, and neutralize these annual emissions.

"As guiding principle, we aim to run an environmentally friendly and socially responsible organization that offsets its environmental impact that cannot be reduced. There is just no better way to do it than with Carbonfund.org," says Severin Jan Rüegger, Co-Founder of Solosso. 

We commend Solosso for adhering to their environmental commitment, and we appreciate their partnership and ongoing pursuit of sustainable operations. 

Friday, 22 June 2012 11:09

Verde Fulfillment for a Greener World

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As online shopping becomes the norm for businesses and consumers around the world, shopping-related carbon emissions are shifting from personal vehicles and public transit to modes of product shipment.  While this shift may result in an overall reduction in “shopping emissions”, they aren’t being eliminated.  Many environmentally-focused customers and businesses are growing savvy to this shift in greenhouse gas emission sources and are eager to find ways to reduce or neutralize product shipping emissions.    

CarbonFree® Shipping Partner Verde Fulfillment USA, of Boise, Idaho, is taking the lead in fighting greenhouse gas emissions associated with product order fulfillment by embedding carbon emissions neutralization into their product shipping process. 

Verde provides the full spectrum of product order fulfillment, e-commerce drop shipping, warehousing/inventory management, shipping logistics and accounting, and they’re doing this with a greener approach to neutralizing the resulting shipping emissions.

Verde’s fulfillment process is simple, and includes shipping products to their facility, handling order fulfillment, then shipping products directly to the customer.  Each quarter, Verde calculates their total product shipment emissions and makes a donation to support Carbonfund.org’s carbon reduction projects, thereby neutralizing the emissions from all product shipments and ensuring CarbonFree® shipping.

And the folks at Verde Fulfillment practice what they preach through their own operation’s focus on environmental responsibility by: 

  • using 100% recycled paper for packing slips;
  • purchasing green power from their local utility;
  • running green electric powered forklifts;
  • using brand new recycled boxes and recycled paper-tape to ship all products; and
  • sending only electronic invoicing.

We’re proud to partner with Verde Fulfillment’s environmentally-sustainable shipping and warehousing services, featuring CarbonFree® shipping.

Friday, 22 June 2012 09:09

Ensuring that We Have a Future

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Everyone has heard the saying that children are our future.  Well, this week, a child spoke out about climate change and how the path we are on “with the earth warming, emissions and sea levels rising, our future here is questionable.”

Tcktcktck.org, the Global Campaign for Climate Action, offered young people around the world a chance for a Date with History by asking them, “If you had two minutes to tell the world's leaders what kind of future you want, what would you say?”  The organization received nearly 200 video entries and thousands of votes.  The winner was 17-year-old Brittany Trilford of New Zealand.

This eloquent young lady addressed heads of state from more than 130 nations on Wednesday, June 20, 2012 and spoke for the world’s approximately 3 billion children, roughly half of the Earth’s population, at this week's U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  The conference is also called Rio+20 to mark the 20th anniversary of the initial Earth Summit.

 “Our future is in danger.  We are all aware that time is ticking and we are quickly running out” said Miss Trilford voicing many parents’ fears.

“The people [20 years ago] at the [first Earth] Summit knew there needed to be change…  They made great promises...  These promises are left, not broken, but empty.”

“We, the next generation, demand change; demand action, so that we can have a future.”

Watch Brittany Trilford’s moving speech on climate change here http://youtu.be/karQQb-B8Uk and click here to see The Future I Want: her winning entry for the Date with History contest http://youtu.be/hpxsvZ4eqZk.

Climate change mitigation is possible.  Carbonfund.org provides a number of ways for individuals to make a difference and reduce their impact on climate change, including reducing emissions by supporting reforestation projects.  Get involved now so we can build a sustainable world and ensure our children’s future.

According to the Environmental Paper Network’s “The State of the Paper Industry 2011”, the average North American utilizes just over 500 pounds of paper each year.  While this annual average has declined in recent years, it remains the highest per capita paper consumption by continent.

Any of us who has rented an apartment, entered into a lease agreement or served as a property manager or landlord knows that the lease/rental process requires various forms, agreements, notifications and contracts to be reviewed and signed.  One of our newest CarbonFree® Partners, EZLandlordForms, is making it easier – and greener - for property managers, landlords and renters to complete the required lease and rental agreement process online, thus reducing the carbon emissions associated with the process.

 EZLandlordForms was founded in 2005 by Kevin Kiene, a landlord who finally decided to build the perfect lease for himself. Today, EZLandlordForms provides comprehensive, state-specific legal forms for property managers and landlords through the online documents library and platform.  They also offer a variety of free rental and landlord forms, tools to customize lease agreements and resources through their landlords’ forum.

Now, the leasing and rental process can begin by selecting the appropriate state-required forms and disclosures from the EZLandlordForms library, downloading the forms, emailing between landlord and tenant until all provisions are agreed, then using any compatible e-signature service to complete the process for an environmentally conscious, print-free written communication process.  No more printing, signing, and scanning documents back and forth! 

As an industry leader in fighting the effects of climate change, and as an e-business, EZLandlordForms already has a relatively small carbon footprint, but they’re further reducing their operational carbon footprint by maintaining a virtual office environment and neutralizing all remaining operational emissions through their CarbonFree® Partnership.  We at Carbonfund.org are thrilled to be part of this effort to reduce paper waste and unnecessary emissions while simplifying the lease and rental process. 

June has traditionally been the most popular month for weddings.  According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s National Vital Statistics Report for 2009, the latest data available on marriages, June is tied with July and closely followed by August, then September, and then October in order of most to least popular months for weddings.  This means wedding season is just getting underway. 

Travel, whether by air or car, generates large amounts of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere, and for most weddings is the biggest contributor to its carbon footprint.  Carbonfund.org offers a helpful and easy-to-use emissions calculator to determine the level of carbon dioxide your wedding events will emit into the air.

It’s simple and affordable to have a carbon neutral wedding.  If you don’t know the exact numbers try a preset amount.  For example, the 15-ton preset option may be right for you if you have more than 100 guests and many of them are flying.  The 50-ton option can be used for larger weddings of over 200 guests, many of whom are flying, or destination weddings, which involve a lot of travel.

As you prepare for the beginning of a new life together, it is important to share this special time with friends and family.  Your wedding is a celebration of the future, and you can make it a celebration for our planet's future as well!

Go to http://www.carbonfund.org/weddings to learn more about how you can offset the global warming emissions impact of your special day.