For visitors to the greater Chicago area and the locals who’ve endured a long winter, a big three-season draw is the Lake Michigan waterfront.  Among the popular waterfront pastimes are the various Chicago River and Lake Michigan boat cruises that provide passengers with views of the Chicago skyline, architectural tours, dinner cruises, and on-board wedding and special event celebrations.  

To help protect and preserve the Lake Michigan resource, the environmentally-focused passenger will consider a cruiseline’s attention to environmental responsibilities and fuel conservation when booking their tour.  CarbonFree® Partner Chicago’s First Lady Cruises and Mercury, Chicago’s Skyline Cruiseline will stand out as a leader in this area. 

As part of their extensive sustainability initiatives, Chicago’s First Lady Cruises and Mercury, Chicago’s Skyline Cruiseline has partnered with Carbonfund.org to measure and neutralize their annual carbon dioxide emissions.   Office energy usage, business travel and employee commuting emissions, as well as all fuel used by the cruise ships throughout 2012, were included in the emissions calculations.  The resulting total annual operational emissions were mitigated by corresponding donations to support Carbonfund.org’s renewable energy and reforestation projects. 

The CarbonFree® Business Program status joins many other environmentally conscious initiatives followed by the Chicago-based cruiseline company.  Since 2006, all vessels have used B-11 biodiesel fuel, saving more than 4,000 gallons of imported crude oil per year.  Their newest vessel, Chicago’s Leading Lady, added to the fleet in 2011, is equipped with computerized energy-efficient engines that help the boat save over 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel each year. 

Chicago’s First Lady Cruises encourages their passengers to join an active office and operations recycling program by recycling their onboard maps for future guests. Dockside waste bins are constructed of recycled plastic milk containers, and beverage cans and bottles are collected onboard and dockside for recycling.   Promotional materials are printed by CarbonFree® Partner Digital Hub, voted Chicago’s Greenest Printer, with soy-based inks and recycled papers. All employees are encouraged to ride their bike, walk or commute to work by using public transit, and Mercury, Chicago’s Skyline Cruisline encourages its staff to participate in the employee public transit reimbursement program.  

This focus on measures to protect the waterways its passengers enjoy demonstrates a firm commitment to environmental stewardship by Chicago’s First Lady Cruises and Mercury, Chicago’s Skyline Cruiseline, and Carbonfund.org is glad to participate in these efforts.  

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We’ve heard the phrase “think globally, act locally” associated with many environmental movements and causes.  Our CarbonFree® Business Partnership program takes this call to action a step further by helping businesses of all sizes to “act globally and act locally.”

For the past five years, Monica’s Waterfront Bakery & Café in Silverdale, WA has heeded this call.  They’ve maintained a CarbonFree® Business as an important part of their overall commitment to “remarkable customer service” and sustainable business practices.  Monica and her team recognized that it was important to supplement their dedication to sourcing locally, and to eliminating waste and emissions wherever possible, by adding a global commitment to neutralizing all annual carbon emissions from their business operations.     

"Because we know we are doing some things well and there are lots of things that we can do better,” explains Monica Downen, Owner and namesake of the bakery and café.  “We love that we reduce what we can and offset what we can't!"

Monica’s Waterfront Bakery & Café offers a menu featuring local produce, dairy, eggs, coffee, honey, sodas, flour and grains, pickles, and poultry.  The staff composts food waste, recycles, uses compact fluorescent light bulbs and subscribes to green power through the local utility.  All of these efforts accompany their five-year commitment to maintaining a CarbonFree® operation.

Make sure your sustainable business plan minimizes your impact on the environment.  Join Monica’s Waterfront Bakery and Café in our CarbonFree® Business Partnership program and support our carbon reduction and clean air technology projects around the world.         

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As we continue to celebrate fifth and sixth anniversaries with many of our CarbonFree® Business Partners, new businesses are joining our partnership ranks as part of their environmental commitment. 

New CarbonFree® Business Partner Beautycounter launched with its skin care line on March 4, 2013. Beautycounter’s mission is to educate families about the need for safer chemicals and beauty care products, and to be a part of the solution by creating safe and effective skin care and beauty products in a socially and environmentally responsible way.  Beautycounter was founded by a team of social entrepreneurs who believe in using the power of business and strategic partnerships to move in the right direction.

One of these right decisions was joining the CarbonFree® Business Partnership and CarbonFree® Shipping Emissions programs, neutralizing all annual carbon emissions from general business operational and from shipping their products to customers.  Through the CarbonFree® programs, Beautycounter is supporting Carbonfund.org’s energy efficiency projects around the world.         

“In order to be successful in business and in our social mission, we have to reject the short-term thinking that got all of us into the current environmental crisis,” explains Mia Davis, Vice President of Health & Safety.  “Beautycounter recognizes that we can’t do it alone—strategic partnerships are absolutely necessary to create meaningful, lasting change. We’re proud to partner with Carbonfund.org to offset our carbon emissions, and for guidance on reducing our overall footprint.” 

Beautycounter maintains an extensive list of chemical ingredients that will never be used in their products, which contain no hidden fragrances or preservatives.  Beautycounter also prohibits testing of their cosmetics on animals, makes every effort to use FSC-certified paper and post consumer recycled content in both paper and plastic materials, and sources plastics that do not leach toxic chemicals and that are recyclable in most communities.

These comprehensive initiatives demonstrate Beautycounter’s forward thinking approach to entering the beauty and skin care industry as a responsible leader in environmental sustainability, and Carbonfund.org is pleased to be a partner in their efforts.

 

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Many of our CarbonFree® Business Partners set the standards for excellence in their respective industries, in part by leading their peers through a strong commitment to environmental sustainability.  Celebrating its fifth year as a CarbonFree® Business, Elumin Healthcare Solutions of Sammamish, WA maintains its industry leadership through its focus on technology solutions design and implementation, customer service, and its dedication to operating in an environmentally sustainable manner. 

Elumin offers information technology advisory, project management and implementation consulting solutions to the healthcare provider community,  that includes implementation services for Allscripts, Cerner, Epic and Siemens applications coupled with an array of advisory services that includes interim leadership, project management, business and clinical alignment,  process  and workflow design and  enablement strategies.

As an important part of its overall sustainability initiatives, Elumin joined the CarbonFree® Business Partnership program in 2009, supporting Carbonfund.org’s renewable energy technology development projects.  Elumin also is committed to reducing its impact on the environment by reducing unnecessary business travel, conserving energy and water resources in their facilities, and providing incentives for employees to take steps to reduce their own carbon footprint.

“Partnering with Carbonfund.org is more than just our company making a statement about carbon emissions,” says Mark Williams, CEO of Elumin Healthcare Solutions. “This is a whole-hearted commitment to improving the world we live in and doing our part to set an example in the business environment for what can be done.”

Elumin’s long-term commitment to sustainable business operations underscores a dedication to improving our environment and helping to hasten the transition to a cleaner energy future. 

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Two years ago, the Carbonfund.org staff “went virtual” as a way to eliminate the carbon emissions from occupied office space and regular employee commuting to the office, and as a way to save operational costs.  For the past five years, CarbonFree® Business Partner the Boardroom Executive Suites® has offered virtual offices and other alternative workspace options to the Denver community, while also neutralizing its remaining operational emissions by supporting Carbonfund.org’s carbon reduction technology projects. 

Boardroom Executive Suites provides ready-to-use office space, virtual office services, conference room rentals, advanced telecommunications and administrative support services in the Cherry Creek neighborhood of Denver, CO.  “A typical office space is used less than 50% of the time.  That means that there is a huge amount of waste associated with a typical office – heating, cooling, electrical, janitorial services,” explains Nathan Jansch, President and Owner of Boardroom Executive Suites.  “Add to the office emissions those from employee commuting, often from lengthy and highly-polluting commutes.  In an executive suite or virtual office environment, all of that changes.”

The structure of most executive suites and virtual office centers also helps reduce emissions by making use of office space and support resources more effectively.  Instead of having an office suite that is used by one person 50% of the time, executive suites and virtual offices provide shared amenities and encourage maximum utilization of space and resources, reducing the per-worker carbon emissions that the suite emits.

Nathan adds, “the Boardroom Executive Suites furthers carbon emission reduction efforts by engaging in energy conservation efforts in our suites (reducing what we can) and aligning ourselves with Carbonfund.org to offset our estimated yearly carbon emissions (offsetting what we can’t).”  Their long-term commitment to carbon emissions reduction efforts and operating a CarbonFree® business over the past five years shows real leadership and innovation as an alternative workspace provider.

Is 2013 the year to green up your work environment?  Consider virtual office space, home office, virtual conferences and shared office space options as ways to reduce what you can, then talk to Carbonfund.org to neutralize your remaining operational emissions that you can’t eliminate.  

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The CarbonFree® Business Partnership program is intended to provide a simple, affordable way for businesses of any size to evaluate the carbon emissions associated with their annual operations, take steps to reduce these emissions, and neutralize the remaining emissions by supporting clean air and carbon reduction projects around the world.  The program is also structured so that it compliments broader sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility programs, and helps to promote awareness and recognition for these efforts.

A great example of expanding environmental commitment beyond carbon emissions neutralization is CarbonFree® Partner K.L. Security Enterprises’ annual tree-planting projects through their Safe Environments Initiative.  When not out planting trees, the K.L. Security team helps customers store critical business and personal electronic data, documents, vital records and collections with their custom safes, vaults, fireproof file cabinets and ioSafe rugged hard drives.  For residential customers, services may also include preservation and protection of family photo albums, heirlooms and other keepsakes.

 “For the last 5 years, I’ve been a steward of a diverse ecosystem in Indiana - 48 acres of native forest and prairie that deserves to be protected,” explains Johnny Klemme, CEO of K.L. Security Enterprises.  “With the help of friends and family, we’re teaching others about the importance and power of our local environment, and even more importantly, that you can’t sit back and wait for other people to take initiative; you have to make that conscious decision today to make a difference.”

Check out this video to see Johnny and the K.L. Security team in action.

In the last two years alone, K.L. Security has offset 93 metric tonnes of CO2 through the CarbonFree® Business Partnership, the equivalent of carbon emissions from almost 10,500 gallons of gasoline.  In 2013, K.L. Security plans to complete two additional environmental improvement projects with several other local businesses in their community.

"Our commitment to the environment runs deep, and partnering with Carbonfund.org ensures that every bit of our operational CO2 emissions is accounted for,” confirms Johnny. “Each and every one of our customers across the United States can take comfort that the carbon emissions from every safe and vault that we ship to them are offset through our support of Carbonfund.org’s reforestation, renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. We’re doing our part to affect positive change in the world in which we live, work and play and hope our customers value this commitment as much as we do." 

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Founded in 1996 by federal employment veteran John Grobe, Federal Career Experts (FCE) is a small business that specializes in training and consulting in the areas of retirement, career development and transition services for federal government agencies and their employees.  FCE has a network of consultants, most of whom are retired federal employees, with experience in all categories of federal agency employment and career development areas.   

As part of its overall mission, Federal Career Experts believes in protecting the planet by making choices that enhance the quality of the atmosphere and the resulting quality of life.   In order to help achieve this goal, Federal Career Experts became CarbonFree® in 2007, offsetting their carbon footprint by supporting Carbonfund.org’s renewable energy projects.  FCE remains one of Carbonfund.org’s most tenured CarbonFree® Business Partners.

“The nature of Federal Career Experts’ business requires that we travel a great deal”, said John Grobe, President. “Though we are conscientious about our energy usage, we still have a relatively large ‘carbon footprint’ and have chosen to take steps to offset our impact on global warming.”

To date, Federal Career Experts has neutralized carbon emissions equal to the emissions created by combusting over 18,000 gallons of gasoline.  This continuous focus on serving federal employees while maintaining a sustainable business practice sets FCE apart in its field.  Carbonfund.org is proud to partner with Federal Career Experts in this long-term commitment to operational excellence. 

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