The year is off to a strong start for Pleasanton, California’s Hacienda Owners Association. After a year of community, green business and environmental awards and recognitions, Hacienda Owners Association has renewed its Carbonfree® Business Partnership program for 2015. With this year’s renewal, Hacienda Owners Association has neutralized almost 770,000 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions over the program’s nine years. That’s equivalent to the carbon dioxide emissions sequestered by almost 9000 tree seedlings planted and grown for ten years.
Hacienda is the largest development of its kind in Northern California. Over 11 million square feet of existing, mixed-use, transit-oriented space is occupied by some 650 companies that locally employ approximately 18,000 people. The project provides a home to everything from small offices to regional centers to large campuses for company headquarters. In addition, Hacienda also features homes to some 4,000 residents, featuring a full spectrum of living choices from stylish rental units to single family detached homes.
Operationally, Hacienda has advanced several initiatives to promote a sustainable workplace. These efforts start in the park's management office, which has been recognized as a green business under the Alameda County Green Business Program. Hacienda's management office went through a rigorous analysis to be certified as a business in good standing under the program and has worked with the county and other Hacienda businesses to help them to achieve the same certification.
“In addition to managing our business using a number of best practices required for this designation, we felt it was important to further demonstrate our commitment to these efforts by supporting Carbonfund.org,” explains James Paxson, General Manager at Hacienda. “We believe that Carbonfund.org’s mission clearly aligns with our objectives and we have encouraged other businesses within our development to likewise consider Carbonfund.org as a component of their own sustainability strategy.”
Many Hacienda programs advance activities that help accomplish a number of sustainability goals. Last year, Hacienda was recognized by the Best Workplaces for CommutersSM, a program designed to encourage sustainable transportation innovation, as one of twenty-eight organizations nationwide offering excellence in commuter benefits. Hacienda was also presented with the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce's Green Business Award as part of their 51st Annual Community Service Awards presentation in 2014. Carbonfund.org is proud to continue its partnership with Hacienda Owners Association in promoting a long-term commitment to environmentally responsible operations.
Landfillart is an international effort encompassing 1,041 artists to repurpose a piece of rusted metal and create fine art from reclaimed automobile hub caps from the 1930’s through the 1970’s and turn them into “metal canvases”. Although most “metal canvases” have been transformed by the artist using oil or acrylic paint, some have been weaved on, glued or screwed or welded to, or made into fine sculpture.
“This project embodies several key components. It is a collective endeavor requesting artists, worldwide, to think green and create great art” explains Ken Marquis, gallery owner at Marquis Art & Frame, and founder of the project. “I’m hopeful, that upon completion, this project will weave a global tapestry which tells a compelling story of humanity; our similarities, our differences, and the common threads that binds us all.”
Since 2008, Landfillart Inc., funded by their partner company Marquis Art & Frame, has maintained a Carbonfree® Small Business Partnership with Carbonfund.org as part of his own operational sustainability commitment. “We are excited to partner with Carbonfund.org! Both organizations share the goal of reuse, albeit our focus is reusing rusty old scraps of metal,” says Ken. “Landfillart's mission is focused on funding reforestation with any future profits. By forming this partnership, Landfillart is one step closer!”
To date, Marquis Art & Frame’s donations to Carbonfund.org’s forestry projects have neutralized almost 450,000 pounds of carbon dioxide, the same quantity of carbon emissions sequestered by 5,000 tree seedlings grown over a ten-year period.
The ultimate goals of the Landfillart Project are to compile a collection of 1,041 completed hubcaps from artists from all of the 50 states and as many countries as possible. To date the collection consists of more than 1,000 works of art from 50 states and 56 countries. The final group of artists are hard at work completing their “hubcap art”.
Although awaiting the final projects, phase two is already underway. The first museum showing of Landfillart will be in September 2014. Second Time Around: The Hubcap as Art will include 287 objects from the Landfillart collection, representing every U.S. state and 35 other countries. This exciting premier exhibit will open September 6, 2014 at The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley in Winchester Virginia, details at www.theMSV.org
After the initial museum showing, an abbreviated version of the collection (35 objects) is scheduled to travel, beginning in 2015.
The final phase for the Landfillart collection is to publish a book highlighting all 1,041 completed works of art and their stories. Carbonfund.org is proud to partner with Ken Marquis and the Landfillart project in its efforts to raise awareness about environmental preservation through artistic repurposing.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) jointly created a National Program of standards for light-duty vehicles that lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improve fuel economy. Cars and light trucks' GHG emissions standards in the 2012 model year, the first year of the 14-year program, were 296 grams of GHG/mile. The EPA reports automakers' overall GHG performance was, on average, 286 grams of GHG/mile, which is 9.8 grams of GHG/mile below what the 2012 standards required. The EPA says, the automobile industry is "off to a good start".
GHG emission standards are projected by the EPA to cut 6 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases over the lifetimes of vehicles sold in model years 2012-2025. The agency released a Manufacturers Performance Report last week that evaluates how the automobile industry is doing in meeting GHG emissions standards. The report shows that the industry lowered tailpipe carbon dioxide emissions in 2012 and also used optional flexibilities included in the standards.
Some of the flexibilities include emissions credits transfer among manufacturers on a yearly basis and for improvements in air conditioning systems. The EPA's reasoning in allowing these flexibilities is that they will result in higher emissions reductions, lower compliance costs and more options for consumers.
Speaking of which, the report indicates consumer preference is playing an increasing role. Americans bought lower emission vehicles in the first year of the program than required by the 2012 GHG standard.
The EPA will wait to issue formal compliance determinations for the 2012 model year until 2015 because of the program’s multi-year structure. However, the agency plans to continue tracking compliance and expects to produce annual manufacturers’ performance reports for the program.
In more good news from the EPA, their most recent Fuel Economy Trends Report shows fuel economy improved by 1.2 mpg in 2012 compared to 2011, which is the second biggest improvement in the last 30 years.
Last month there was a question as to whether or not Ford lobbied Congress on the Keystone XL Pipeline. However, publically the automakers’ sustainability marketing promises to help achieve "climate stabilization". In the US, companies have to disclose the subject of their lobbying, but do not have to disclose the position for which they are lobbying. This incomplete reporting raises consumer and investor concerns. Smart businesses are beginning to embrace transparency on climate change policies.
Take Ikea Group, for example. The company recently released this infographic to transparently share their position on climate change. In it, IKEA explained why climate change is relevant to its business interests. And they not only made it clear where they stand on the issue and which policy actions they support, they also communicated the message directly to European policymakers. IKEA is lobbying for ambitious, legally-binding 2030 targets for carbon dioxide emissions, renewable power and energy efficiency.
Not all companies take a black or white stance on global warming. Some are merely silent on the issue. There are a multitude of reasons including fear of publically taking a position on a political topic that might push away customers. Some businesses are grappling internally with climate change’s risks and opportunities, putting out consistent messaging, and trying to find the capacity to publically engage on the issue. Whatever the reason, it is certainly delaying much needed political breakthroughs on climate change.
Although businesses fall different places on the continuum of how to publically address climate change, there are resources available to help them engage responsibly with the issue. Take this guide that is a baseline for action and transparent reporting from the World Resources Institute, which was informed by the United Nations and business leaders, policymakers, and investors.
With the release of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, companies can expect more scrutiny from customers, shareholders and stakeholders regarding their position on global warming. Businesses can make a positive impact on the issue and the time to start acting is now.
One and a half million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions – it’s a large number with huge environmental impact – the equivalent of the carbon dioxide sequestered by 17,500 tree seedlings if planted and allowed to grow for ten years.
It’s also the quantity of carbon dioxide emissions that the Paper Mill Store has neutralized over the past six years through its CarbonFree® Shipping Program. Beginning in 2008, the Paper Mill Store partnered with Carbonfund.org to calculate all greenhouse gas emissions from their outbound product shipments each quarter, then neutralize those emissions by supporting renewable energy projects like 100% wind-generated electricity.
“We began using 100% wind power for our electricity needs through the purchase of renewable energy credits back in 2006,” says Brian J. Cowie, C.E.O. and founder of The Paper Mill Store. “We believe that wind power is a smart choice and a significant part of the solution towards cleaner air, water and a step in the direction of energy independence. The carbon offset initiative for outbound shipments is a natural extension of that commitment.”
The CarbonFree® Shipping program is one in a number of important steps that the Paper Mill Store is taking to run their company in a more sustainable and responsible manner. The company also is certified through both the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI) Chain of Custody protocols.When purchasing their FSC and SFI certified paper and envelopes, customers can be certain that the fiber used to manufacture certified paper and envelopes came from well managed forests where people, wildlife and the environment benefit from the forestry practices.
This commitment echoes the Paper Mill Store’s nature-focused location. Their five-acre campus includes a pond clustered with over 100 tree varieties. Employees enjoy watching a mix of wildlife on the property including fox, coyote, hawks, deer, great blue heron, kingfishers, rabbits and more. The natural setting inspires the company’s continued dedication to providing eco-conscious products with CarbonFree® shipping to customers and underscores the company’s industry leadership in sustainability.