Thursday, 23 September 2010 17:50 Written by Ivan Chan
I think you have to take chances in life. You probably get three, four or five chances in life to jump and see what’s going to happen. And if you don’t, you’ll always regret it. —Eric CarlsonToday marks Carbonfund.org's 7th anniversary and its inspirational growth from a start-up nonprofit to a national leader in fighting climate change. Often, knowing how things began provides a great deal of insight about an organization. I had the opportunity to sit down with Carbonfund.org's founders Eric and Lesley Carlson to talk about the beginning, where the organization is, and where it's going. What was the biggest challenge of turning Carbonfund.org into a national leader? EC: We had a big hurdle to get over in convincing people that you can reduce your carbon footprint at an affordable price. Once we were able to do that, the entire market changed. There were groups charging $20 or so to offset a ton of carbon. We knew we could do it in the $5-$6 range, and that’s what we charged at that time. After we got over that initial hurdle of saying basically a certified ton is a certified ton, we were off to the races. It was that explanation that got our first large partners. Now we’re known for both our high-quality projects and our low cost-per-ton. Was it difficult to balance family with a shared work life? Did you take turns worrying about work and family? LC: Absolutely, and really when starting on a mission that has a great impact, one’s going to talk about it a lot. It’s hard to separate work and home. How we did it was deciding that Eric would take the lead on the organization, and I’d take more of a part time role so that someone would take care of the kids. Do you have advice for young families starting on an entrepreneurial path? EC: I think you have to take chances in life. You probably get three, four or five chances in life to jump and see what’s going to happen. And if you don’t, you’ll always regret it. So being an entrepreneur, taking that chance, leaving that job, hiking that mountain or doing whatever it is you decide—you should. It’s exciting and those opportunities almost always work out better, whether they are instantly successful or not. So I think young people should become entrepreneurs. Now, how you manage that within your family, within your relationships, is a challenge, and you need to work at that almost as hard as running your organization or business. LC: I think there have to be rules to ensure some balance. At some point the work discussion has to end so you have time for specific days or hours that are only family-oriented. Starting an organization takes a lot of work and time, a lot of thinking and conversation. But it’s nice because your family is then invested in something; our daughters definitely feel they’re part of the organization we’ve created. What are Carbonfund.org’s key priorities? LC: You hear people talk about some of the solutions. The Obama administration talks about green jobs, and just the other night Bill Clinton was talking with David Letterman about green jobs and how easily the transformation can be made. Carbonfund.org’s role needs to be helping make solutions easy and affordable, including keeping the message simple—that there are simple solutions out there, while building support for understanding and reducing one’s carbon footprint. What are Carbonfund.org’s biggest accomplishments from your perspective? EC: One of our biggest accomplishments is that we’ve been able to prove there’s a viable market for carbon. There were academic reports that said it would cost $50-$100 to reduce one ton of carbon. Those of us in the energy-efficiency sector and other industries knew that wasn’t the case. At $50-$100 ton, there is no climate legislation because it simply breaks the bank. We were able to show that you can reduce carbon for $10 or less a ton, and that these are the types of carbon reduction projects that people will support. Please click here to read more of this Q&A with Eric and Lesley Carlson.
Thursday, 23 September 2010 11:14 Written by Alterra Hetzel
This year’s Virgin Mobile Festival is poised to bring a day of free music to the D.C. metro area. At Saturday’s concert at Merriweather Post Pavilion will be M.I.A., Pavement, Ludacris, Thievery Corporation, LCD Soundsystem, Joan Jett, Matt and Kim, Jimmy Eat World, T.I., Chromeo and more artists on several stages. Instead of taking money, Virgin Mobile FreeFest’s motto is “We’ll take care of the tickets. You take care of the karma.” They are trading tickets for volunteering, taking donations, and have the message on the grounds to “get involved.” Last year, volunteers donated about 30,000 hours and raised $80,000. They turned Merriweather “green.” And they invited nonprofits to educate the public on ways to get involved. That’s where Carbonfund.org comes in. Virgin Mobile FreeFest has invited us to spend the day there talking with concertgoers on how to Reduce Where You Can, Offset What You Can’t. Carbonfund.org will have a booth to hand out information on reducing one’s carbon footprint and offsetting. The festival itself is taking many reduction measures including composting, recycling, biodegradable food service items, running on B99 biodiesel fuel, and, of course, carbon-offsetting. We will see you at the festival! Have an event you would like to offset? Click here.
Despite a cooldown in the East Coast recently, 2010 is still on track to be the hottest year on record in terms of global average temperature. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, from January to August, the planet's average temperature was 58.5 degrees Fahrenheit (14.7 Celsius), which thus far ties the record in 1998. The heat waves this summer as well as extreme weather have been noted by climate scientists as consistent with global warming. Meanwhile, sea ice and glaciers continue to shrink. The National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado says that Arctic sea ice appears to have reached its minimum extent and follows a 14-year trend of dipping below historic levels. Arctic sea ice covered 1.84 million square miles this month, whereas in August, sea ice covered an average of 2.3 million square miles, or 22 percent below the 1979-2000 average extent. Learn more and take steps today to reduce your climate impact by clicking here.
Wednesday, 22 September 2010 08:43 Written by Ivan Chan
Choosing greener, environmentally sustainable office products is more important than ever in the U.S., as the amount of waste sent to landfills continues to rise. Dolphin Blue, a leading online retailer of green office products and printing, has joined Carbonfund.org’s CarbonFree® Partner program as the next step in reducing its carbon footprint and supporting carbon reduction projects. Individual waste generation in the nation is about 4.5 pounds per person daily as of 2008, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, up from 4.4 pounds a decade earlier. The good news is that while Americans are on average still throwing away more, they are also recycling or opting for recycled products more. The country’s recycling rate stands at about 33 percent as of 2008, compared with about 28 percent a decade earlier. Dolphin Blue has helped close loop in recycling by supplying eco-friendly products to businesses from at least 20 percent post-consumer recycled material. In 1992, Dolphin Blue founder Tom Kemper, conducted the first public recycling event at the Shakespeare Festival of Dallas. He collected and sorted 350 fifty-gallon bags of recyclable materials, but had little success finding anyone to accept them. Kemper realized that recycling works only when consumers and businesses are buying products made with recycled materials. He founded Dolphin Blue the following year. “Carbonfund.org is an organization that shares the values on which we have built our business,” said Kemper, Dolphin Blue’s CEO and president. “As Dolphin Blue continues to grow as an organization, our ecological footprint increases, and everything I’m able to do to offset that footprint creates value for future generations. Carbonfund.org assists us in meeting that challenge.” Eric Carlson, Carbonfund.org's president said, “Dolphin Blue, like Carbonfund.org, is making it easy and affordable for businesses to reduce their climate impact and become sustainable, not only in their operations but in their purchasing decisions. We are proud that Dolphin Blue is now part of our CarbonFree Partner program.” Dolphin Blue has expanded its eco-friendly product offering to include remanufactured laser toner and inkjet cartridges, business and academic calendars, stationery and other supplies, as well as post-consumer recycled paper. To further reduce its carbon footprint, the company sells only green printing and office supplies manufactured in the U.S. Dolphin Blue uses energy-efficient office equipment, sources energy from wind power, and reuses packing and other office materials. The company also supports third-party validated projects in renewable energy, energy efficiency and reforestation in its partnership with Carbonfund.org.
Monday, 20 September 2010 17:24 Written by Ivan Chan
Managing greenhouse gas emissions is increasingly a part of how businesses need to operate. The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) asks global companies annually about their emissions, as well as risks, opportunities and actions in mitigating climate change. The outcome of this year's CDP report places Samsung, a Carbonfund.org partner, among the top five companies in carbon disclosure and performance. Carbon performance includes actions taken to reduce emissions and integration of climate-related priorities in business strategy, governance and communications. The other companies in the top five this year are Siemens, Deutsche Post, BASF and Bayer. "Carbon management is becoming a strategic business priority and competitive driver for the largest global companies, despite the lack of global agreement on climate change," said the CDP. Also, 85 percent of leading global companies surveyed reported having board or senior executive level responsibility for climate change and nearly half, 48 percent, are now embedding climate change initiatives into the overall business strategy and across the organization. Carbonfund.org recently launched Carbon ExpressTrack™, a web-based solution for businesses that makes carbon management and accounting more accessible and affordable, so more businesses can monitor and mitigate their emissions. Click here to learn more. The uncertainty over regulations on climate change is affecting companies around the world, yet nine in ten companies surveyed note significant commercial opportunities in mitigating climate change. This year's CDP report was produced by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and sponsored by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Friday, 17 September 2010 10:15 Written by Greg Taylor
Carbonfund.org commends Ernst & Young, a leading international financial services firm, for slashing the carbon footprint in its Americas division by 15% in fiscal year 2009. By conserving electricity, the number of servers it uses to store data, and carbon footprint savings from travel, Ernst & Young has significantly reduced its footprint. They have also taken action to move markets in a cleaner, more sustainable direction. By requiring that all of their $250,000+ RFPs detail their environmental impact and initiatives, they can help change operations and operating priorities at companies. Similarly, Ernst & Young has announced a goal to have at least 30 percent of its office space in LEED certified buildings by 2012. By offsetting the carbon footprint of its annual Strategic Growth Forum, Ernst & Young is supporting renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, and helping reforest degraded ecosystems. To learn more about Ernst & Young’s sustainability efforts, click here.
Friday, 17 September 2010 09:59 Written by Greg Taylor
How green can one event be? If you’re at the US Green Building Council of New Jersey’s September 22nd Annual Luncheon and Golf Outing you’ll be swearing everything around you has turned green–from your conversations about the latest green trends in sustainable design to the putting green where you chip in your birdie. The event has been designed to take the environment into consideration. By playing on one of New Jersey’s only Audubon certified golf courses, you are supporting sustainable management techniques that maximize a golf course’s potential for protecting wildlife habitat. Further–the event has been made carbon neutral by offsetting in support of Carbonfund.org's third-party validated carbon reduction projects. If you’re looking for a fun way to support a great cause, sign up to compete in the US Green Building Council of New Jersey’s Golf Outing next week. They’re still signing up foursomes and you can register directly on their website.
Wednesday, 15 September 2010 16:12 Written by Ivan Chan