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.

Five years ago the CEO of News Corporation, Rupert Murdoch, claimed that news coverage of climate change in his media outlets would improve gradually.  However, a recent study indicates that not only has that not happened, but that the preponderance of climate change information on Fox News primetime and in the Wall Street Journal’s opinion page is overwhelmingly misleading.

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), a science-policy nonprofit, analyzed six months of global warming discussions on Fox News primetime programs (February 2012 to July 2012) and one year of Wall Street Journal op-eds (August 2011 to July 2012).  UCS found that climate science was inaccurately covered in 93 percent of Fox News primetime programs and 81 percent of Wall Street Journal editorials.

The analysis found denial that climate change is caused by humans, dismissals of climate science as a legitimate science, and derogatory comments about select scientists.  The worst part is that this misleading coverage encourages scientific distrust and portrays climate change as a left-wing idea, rather than based on scientific facts.

How many people are misled about climate science by these media outlets?  Well the number is in the multi-millions.  In 2011, Fox News Channel (FNC) was the United States’ most popular cable news channel.  During prime time, FNC reaches a median of 1.9 million people plus.  The Wall Street Journal has over 2 million daily readers and the largest circulation among American newspapers.

There is nothing wrong with fully examining and debating the merits of policies aimed at addressing climate change.  However, it is ludicrous and irresponsible to deny the overwhelming body of scientific evidence that climate change is man-made and happening right now.

The analysis shows that sadly these media groups continue to waste time and effort that could be put to better use in combating climate change.  Readers of this blog already know that global warming is man-made and many are putting their energies toward what they can do about it by supporting organizations such as Carbonfund.org.  These climate change leaders seek out quick and affordable ways for individuals and businesses to calculate and offset the carbon emissions they generate. 

The science is clear.  Invest in renewable energy sources and support reforestation projects because the time is now to build a clean energy future.

Friday, 28 September 2012 10:44

US Green Energy on the Rise

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According to data recently uncovered from the Energy Information Agency, electricity coming from non-hydroelectric renewable sources (solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass) has doubled in the U.S. to almost 6 percent in a scant four years’ time.

It’s a bit surprising that this significant fact hasn’t been splashed all over the news.  Businesses are portrayed as not believing clean energy is worth the investment, but that is simply not true for all.  Some companies see the wisdom and fiscal prudence in planning for climate change.  The press appears to focus more on manufacturing problems in the sector.

While it is true that the green manufacturing industry is experiencing some growing pains, take solar panel makers for example, it’s worth noting that the green industry is growing overall, and quickly too.  China made enormous investments in solar, and they are the face of rising competition.  They’ve brought down the price of panels by 65 percent in a mere 18 months.  So this leads to fewer and bigger solar manufacturers, which is what happens in all mature industries.  However, the explosion of growth in the solar industry comes from the businesses that sell, install, and maintain solar.

Perhaps renewable energy seems like small potatoes since it’s only a fraction of total electricity generation.  But the magic is in the industry’s potential for exponential growth.  If non-hydro renewables were to double three more times, they would provide nearly half of US electricity needs.  That’s more than we get from coal or natural gas right now.

The renewable energy industry’s growth is not just limited to the U.S. either.  Countries such as Portugal and Germany have transformed their power grids to generate 25 – 45 percent of their electricity needs from renewable sources.

The big question is if non-hydroelectric renewables can continue to double every four years?  Well let’s start by taking a look at what kind of growth would be required to do so.  Non-hydro renewables need 19 percent annual growth in order to double every four years.  Some sectors grow that much or more.  According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, the solar sector is growing 30 percent annually.

The bottom line is that the payback time for investing in renewable energy is getting faster every day.  Wise homeowners, businesses, and governments are ahead of the curve because they see that the future is in renewable sources.

 

Friday, 28 September 2012 09:45

The Price Tag for Climate Change Continues to Climb

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Global warming currently cuts into the planet’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 1.6 percent annually.  This translates into $1.2 trillion, and the number is expected to double to 3.2 percent by the year 2030 if carbon dioxide emissions aren’t curbed.

According to the “Climate Vulnerability Monitor: A Guide to the Cold Calculus of a Hot Planet” report, the costs of inaction far outweigh the costs of taking on climate change.  The report estimates reducing emissions at a cost of 0.5 percent GDP over the next 10 years.

And if money isn’t motivation enough, take a look at the almost 5 million deaths annually due to climate change.  The report estimates it causes an average of 400,000 deaths each year, mainly from hunger and contagious diseases, plus an additional 4.5 million deaths annually from related global warming causes such as air pollution, dangerous occupations in the fossil fuel industry, and cancer.

The average of 3.2 percent losses to global GDP disguises the plight of poorer, developing nations who are disproportionately affected.  The estimate for these countries, such as Bangladesh, for example, is an average of 11 percent of GDP by 2030.  This is not to say that major economies avoid the effects either.  China alone is estimated to lose more than $1.2 trillion in less than 20 years.  By 2030, the total economic losses for the United States, India, and China will reach $2.5 trillion.  According to the report, these three nations also will suffer over 3 million deaths annually, or half of all deaths.

A report released in July by the European Commission Joint Research Centre and PBL, the Netherlands’ environmental assessment agency calculated that last year global carbon dioxide emissions reached their highest point ever at 34 billion metric tons. 

It’s time to tackle climate change now to reverse this scary trend and save lives.  The price tag for doing nothing is too high.

According to a study by the American Bus Association, motor coaches are the most fuel-efficient transportation mode in North America, in terms of passenger miles per gallon of fuel.  As a result, motor coaches are on average seven times more fuel-efficient than single occupancy automobiles, making motor coaches the most environmentally-friendly option for group transportation needs.

Carbonfund.org makes it simple for environmentally-conscious transportation companies, such as CarbonFree® partner The Convention Store (TCS), to further enhance their fuel-efficient coaches by offsetting fuel-related emissions.  TCS specializes in providing ground transportation services to large-scale meeting planners, conferences and events throughout the United States and Canada.   

TCS monitors, designs and implements the most efficient travel routes for their clients to decrease the distance of each trip; then they augment their large-capacity fuel-efficient transportation services by offsetting all carbon emissions from their motor coach services.  This in turn supports Carbonfund.org’s clean air and carbon reduction technology projects.

“We chose to partner with Carbonfund.org because they not only offer ways to offset our carbon footprint but are building a network of other companies that care about our environment as much as we do,” says TCS CEO Sean Higgins.  “It is amazing to watch the list of partners grow and know the amount of change that we will all bring by partnering with Carbonfund.org.”

According to a Pew Research Center report published earlier this year, charitable giving via mobile devices and social networking is on the rise.  The appeal of supporting the fight against global warming is evident through the rapid adoption of cause-related programs choosing to support Carbonfund.org’s clean air projects via various social media groups and platforms.

Carbonfund.org’s mission to reduce the effects of climate change resonates with social networks and with mobile device-using donors.  And Carbonfund.org partner MeetMe is leveraging its social network to enable its members to support various causes, including the clean air and carbon reduction projects supported by Carbonfund.org.   MeetMe’s Causes application allows members to help save the planet by turning their virtual currency, “LunchMoney”, into real money for real charities.  Members can donate their Lunch Money to causes like fighting global warming through Carbonfund.org and over 20 other causes that are part of the MeetMe platform.  At the end of every month, MeetMe writes a check to each charity in its Causes platform, based on the giving activity of their members.

To date, MeetMe members have donated over $25,000 to Carbonfund.org.  With over 1 million daily active users and apps in English, Spanish and Portuguese, the MeetMe community has the strength in numbers to make a difference, and Carbonfund.org provides the compelling mission and projects that attract strong support. 

Friday, 21 September 2012 12:30

More Evidence of an Increasing Market for Renewable Energy

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The desire for renewable energy world-wide is on the rise according to a pair of recently released studies commissioned by wind turbine manufacturer, Vestas.  Eighty-five percent of global respondents want more renewable energy in the market, says the Global Consumer Wind Energy Study.  And 49% of those surveyed would be willing to pay more for renewable energy.  The survey also illuminated that 45% believe climate change is one of the big three challenges facing the globe.

The survey polled 24,000 respondents in 20 countries and also found that 62% would buy products from companies who use wind energy.  Almost three quarters of consumers indicated they would feel more positive if companies used wind as its primary source of energy.

The second study examines what companies do voluntarily for renewable energy production.  Bloomberg New Energy Finance writes the Corporate Renewable Energy Index, which found that global investments in renewable energy capacity are overtaking those of fossil fuels; $237 billion compared to $223 billion.  Furthermore, companies are increasingly committing to renewable energy.  They purchased 40% of renewable energy last year.

The trend of businesses planning for climate change is not news to readers of our blog.  However, it is encouraging to see companies actually making investments in renewable energy.  It only makes sense as it lowers their risk.  So these studies point to both consumers and corporations demanding more renewable energy.  Isn’t it time governments join the trend too?  The scale goes from smaller to larger effects when consumers, businesses, and governments work together to lower global carbon emissions.  We are looking forward to a clean energy future powered by renewable energy sources.