From the latest green home innovations to technologies making work and life more climate-friendly, this year's Green Festival in the nation's capital had a climate focus. Carbonfund.org was on hand to help individuals and businesses reduce their climate impact, including speaking on the role of offsetting in solving climate change, and serving as the official carbon offset provider of the DC and upcoming San Francisco festivals. The festival in DC, held on Oct. 23-24 at the Washington Convention Center, drew thousands from the region and visitors from around the world. Many visitors were intrigued by the CarbonFree® Certified products, like the MOTO™ W233 Renew mobile phone—the first to be made from plastics comprised of recycled water bottles, requiring 20 percent less energy to create the phone compared to standard plastic processes. Carbonfund.org also held a popular guess the number of CarbonFree® Certified coffee bean contest. The actual number in the jar—over 2,800 beans—was nearly guessed by some lucky visitors at the Carbonfund.org booth, earning them some prizes like a ZeroCarbon™ Individual offset or a special edition T-shirt. If you're on the West Coast, Green Festival San Francisco is just around the corner, Nov. 6-7, at the city's Concourse Exhibition Center. While Carbonfund.org won't be on hand to exhibit there, you can calculate your carbon footprint and learn how you can reduce your climate impact by visiting our website 24/7 at www.carbonfund.org. You can learn more about Green Festival San Francisco by visiting: www.greenfestivals.org/sf.
Tuesday, 26 October 2010 13:57

Clarity and Credibility Vital to Avoid Greenwashing

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Over 2,000 more products than last year are being sold with some kind of green attribute. It's critical to avoid greenwashing. Labeling helps, but labels should themselves be clear and credible. Credibility means being backed by transparent, accepted standards each step of the way. So that companies can relate their product's climate impact clearly and credibly, Carbonfund.org in 2007 established the CarbonFree® Certified product label. The label means what it says, that a product is carbon neutral, and is backed by a publicly available protocol based on accepted standards on how a product's carbon footprint is determined. The rigorous program requires a third-party conducted product life-cycle assessment and has an expert technical advisory board. By going carbon neutral, a product's footprint is reduced to zero in support of third-party validated carbon reduction projects that are helping fight climate change today. Labeling can be the antidote to greenwashing, if it is clear and credible, which can be important also with regard to the FTC's proposed revisions to its Green Guides. For consumers, labeling also differentiates brands and products that have valid environmental benefits. This makes choosing and buying products that are better for the environment easier and encourages more companies to make better products. To learn more about how you can avoid greenwashing, view this user-friendly guide. You can also learn more about product certification here.
Tuesday, 26 October 2010 13:09

Chicago Band Helps Lead Green Energy Revolution

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What do high school, music, a local cafe and climate change have to do with each other? When music teacher Phil Sheaff takes his students to play the blues every week at a cafe, he makes a special commitment to combat climate change.  After covering basic costs for running a band, PH1LL and the Great Energy Transfer uses 100% of their profits to support worthwhile causes, including carbon offsetting with Carbonfund.org. From a one-time gig at a local Chicago caf�, the band has now become a weekly fixture in the Chicago music scene.� PH1LL formed the band as a creative way to teach his guitar students all the details of live performance�from equipment setup to the live performance anxiety not easily reproduced in a practice hall.� A quick hit, the band expanded its mission to make a difference in the world.� In fact, part of its name �The Great Energy Transfer� refers not only to the rhythm and blues dancing off the instruments, but also to the energy transformation that needs to occur to avoid catastrophic climate change. The band has now committed to donating all of its profits to Carbonfund.org’s third-party validated renewable energy projects, which helps lead the economy’s transformation to a clean energy future. As the band’s success continues to grow, so have its ambitions.  In order to further lead by example, the band is saving to purchase a bio-diesel van so it can tour without worsening the climate.  They’re collecting donations through the nonprofit they’ve set up to purchase the van.  To find out more about this initiative and the rest of their creative approach to music visit their website.
Severe droughts having an "enormous" impact on the US and other countries could occur within the next 30 years unless greenhouse gas emissions are reduced. In the US drought has caused six to eight billion dollars in damage a year on average, the study by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) estimates.  NCAR scientist Aiguo Dai said, "If the projections in this study come even close to being realized, the consequences for society worldwide will be enormous." The US and much of Latin America, Africa and the Middle East could see severe droughts, as well as parts of Asia and Southern Europe.  Regions bordering the Mediterranean Sea could experience "almost unprecedented" drought conditions, the study said.  "Severe drought conditions can profoundly impact agriculture, water resources, tourism, ecosystems, and basic human welfare." Although some higher-latitude regions like Northern Europe, Canada and Russia could become wetter, this will not offset the severe droughts. Dai assessed results from 22 computer models used by the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), as well as data and published studies on droughts.  His projections are also based on expected greenhouse gas emissions this century. His scientific article is published in Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change here.  The study was supported by the National Science Foundation, NCAR’s sponsor. Learn More: Reduce your climate impact as an individual or business. Click here.
Thursday, 21 October 2010 17:40

Leaders in Procurement Convene, Reduce Emissions

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Government procurement has helped drive the market towards more sustainable and innovative products. The federal government has required, for example, that all new federal facilities meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification standards. Next month, the country’s leaders in the government procurement process will be recognized for their efforts at the 2010 Excellence in Partnership Awards ceremony. By working with Carbonfund.org and with a generous donation from Office Depot, the Coalition for Government Procurement has calculated and offset the show’s carbon footprint by supporting third-party validated carbon reduction projects. This year’s awards will also highlight two sustainability leaders with Green Contractor Awards (read more on this year’s winners soon). If the companies highlighted next month are any indication, expect government procurement to continue to help lead the nation towards a sustainable future. If you're interested in attending this year's ceremony, please contact the Coalition for Government Procurement here.
Wednesday, 20 October 2010 15:45

Storybooks Online Connect Families Minus the Miles

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What do you do when you want to show your grandchild how much you love him or her but live too far away? I can think of three ways: Clone yourself and move in with your grandchild; create a robot look-a-like to do your day job; or use Jackson Fish Market’s A Story Before Bed program to record yourself reading a children’s story online. What a great way to share an intimate moment with your grandchild when you’re miles away. Here at Carbonfund.org, we applaud efforts like these to bring people together in low-carbon ways. Virtual meetings, teleconferences, and now nighttime stories can take place without carbon-intensive flights or long drives. Innovative solutions like Jackson Fish Market’s are the kinds of ideas we need to transform our carbon-intensive economy into a clean energy future. That’s not to say you shouldn’t drive to read to your grandkids if you can, but we should all strive to minimize our carbon footprints wherever we can.
Three out of the four US companies with the largest carbon-reduction programs with Carbonfund.org—Dell, Staples and Motorola—are ranked in the top of Newsweek’s 2010 Green Rankings for US companies. Carbonfund.org partners Samsung and Unilever are ranked in the top global companies. As the leading nonprofit climate solutions organization, Carbonfund.org has helped these top-ranked companies and over 1,700 other partners reduce their climate impact. The rankings take into account companies’ climate change policies and performance. Dell ranked #1 for US companies. The company partnered with Carbonfund.org in establishing its Plant a Tree Program to reduce carbon emissions in the atmosphere and engage consumers on environmental sustainability. Dell’s Plant a Tree Program enables consumers to plant trees to reduce emissions, restore habitats and protect the biodiversity of animal and plant species. The program was launched in 2007 and is restoring ecologically critical areas like the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley of the US. Eric Carlson, President, Carbonfund.org said, “Carbonfund.org’s partners represented on the Newsweek rankings are outstanding examples for other US and global corporations in addressing their climate impact as part of their sustainability initiatives. These companies are setting the pace in reducing the carbon footprint of their businesses and demonstrating leadership in fighting climate change—the greatest environmental problem facing the world today.” Carbonfund.org’s business programs help reduce the carbon footprint of operations, products, shipping, events and websites, and can be customized for specific goals and needs. For example, Staples has partnered with Carbonfund.org to further reduce the carbon footprint of certain ENERGY STAR qualified products by offsetting the average energy consumed over three years of use in support of reforestation. Motorola has certified products carbon neutral, including the manufacturing, distribution and operation of phones like the new Motorola CITRUS™, with Carbonfund.org’s CarbonFree® Product Certification Program. Meanwhile, Samsung, which received a Corporate Climate Leadership Award for making the World Cyber Games Grand Final carbon neutral this year, and Unilever have reduced the carbon footprint of company-sponsored events by offsetting in support of Carbonfund.org’s carbon-reduction projects. Carlson said, “We’re seeing more inquiries about carbon-reduction projects every year, with the strongest consistent interest from the transportation and electronics sectors. It’s not just about the rankings; the more interesting story is that corporate climate programs are going mainstream.” The complete rankings can be viewed here. You can learn more about Carbonfund.org's business programs at www.carbonfund.org/business.
Monday, 18 October 2010 17:10

Gulf of Mexico Ecological Outlook Downgraded

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As reported in ABC News, researchers who study the Gulf of Mexico downgraded their outlook on its ecological health because of the Deepwater Horizon oil catastrophe. This reflects a broad belief that, though the Gulf avoided the worst once feared, it will likely continue to feel the catastrophe’s effects for years to come. In order to best gauge the short and long-term damage wreaked upon the Gulf it is important to continually monitor the situation. Carbonfund.org partner LightHawk is responding to the environmental and economic tragedy resulting from the spill of oil and gas into the Gulf of Mexico. By operating the largest and oldest volunteer-based environmental aviation fleet, LightHawk is able to provide donation flights to protect land, water and wildlife.  Their illuminating pictures of the oil spills’ reach help to spur clean-up action and maintain a focus on protecting what’s most important in the Gulf. LightHawk is assisting their existing conservation partners, like the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, in the affected areas and reaching out to new partners to provide donated flight missions. LightHawk is also working cooperatively with their sister group SouthWings whose volunteer pilots are responding to aerial mission requests. When the view from above will enhance efforts to scientifically document, educate and inform constructive responses to this effort, LightHawk will strive to dedicate the aerial resources of their volunteer pilots.