Holiday gift-giving means toys and appliances powered by batteries.   Keep your gifts as green as they can be by purchasing Certified Carbonfree® Eco Alkalines™ Batteries to power up those gifts for Hanukkah and on Christmas morning.  

Today, more and more people are mindful of the products they use every day and how those products affect our environment. Certified Carbonfree® Eco Alkalines™ Batteries have completed a rigorous evaluation of their carbon footprint, reducing emissions where possible, then neutralize the remaining greenhouse gases associated with the entire life cycle of each battery.  By purchasing Certified Carbonfree® Eco Alkalines™ Batteries, you're doing your part to reduce the CO2 and climate change impact from the production, distribution, and disposal of alkaline batteries. 

“Eco Alkalines™ Batteries continue to lead the market in environmental conservation and sustainability initiatives,” says Eric M. Carlson, president of Carbonfund.org Foundation.  “By measuring, reducing and neutralizing their products’ carbon footprint, Eco Alkalines™ Batteries become the most environmentally responsible batteries available on the market today.” 

Eco Alkalines™ Batteries packaging is manufactured with 80% of recycled materials and the batteries are derived from earth elements which have no trace amounts of harmful metals such as mercury, cadmium and lead.  Eco Alkalines™ perform equal to or better than the leading national brands in usage and longevity tests, and despite these eco accolades, Eco Alkalines™ batteries are competitively priced compared to the leading national brands.  Eco Alkalines™ have a guaranteed 5-year shelf life and a unique patented leak resistant seal. 

Eco Alkalines™ Batteries are available online, at Amazon Smile (please support Carbonfund.org when you shop here!), and in retail stores in the US, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand.  For more information on ECO Alkalines™ watch their YouTube video.  Keep the holidays green – power up with Certified Carbonfree® Eco Alkalines™ Batteries this season.

Published in carbonfree blog

Edward & Sons Trading Company, Inc. supplies innovative natural and organic vegetarian foods to stores and consumers throughout the world.  Since the introduction of Miso-Cup® natural instant soup mix in 1978, they’ve been guided by their motto, "Convenience without Compromise"®. It is a principle that runs throughout the whole family of food offerings. 

Edward & Sons’ Trading Company, Inc. was born out of a commitment to create delicious natural foods featuring convenient preparation in step with busy, health-aware lifestyles. Their team travels the world to taste and evaluate regional foods, to source the finest ingredients, and to partner with the most reliable farmers, packers and food artisans to create their unique range of natural and organic specialties. 

The company also believes in minimizing the environmental impact of its operations.  Since 2009, Edward & Sons’ Trading Company has partnered with Carbonfund.org to neutralize the carbon emissions associated with its annual operations.  Over the past six years, Edward & Sons has mitigated the impact of almost 4 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, the same quantity of greenhouse gas emissions that would be absorbed by 45,500 tree seedlings planted and grown for ten years! 

Edward & Sons’ Trading Company believes in convenient foods with simple, wholesome  ingredients and its products will never contain artificial flavors or colors, chemical preservatives, or hydrogenated fats.  All items are vegetarian and most are suitable for vegans.  Edward & Sons™ products are available online and in natural food stores and supermarkets throughout North America and many international locations.  With its Carbonfree® business operations and product shipping, Edward & Sons’ Trading Company is a great choice for the eco-conscious and health-minded shopper.  

Published in carbonfree blog

Spring is here – weekend warriors are out in droves, trying to create a special oasis in their back yards.  Homeowners in the greater Boston area with a yen for natural and easy-care landscaping have an advantage – they can have their own "everyday getaway" with the help of Land Escapes Design Inc. 

Land Escapes brings a passion for the natural world to environmentally friendly, low-maintenance landscape designs and custom cutting edge floral inspirations.  They’ll help  create an "everyday getaway" in your outdoor living space, a sanctuary  where you can unwind, relax, entertain and enjoy your natural surroundings. 

Land Escapes is serious about its commitment to the environment, for client landscaping designs and for its own business operations.  A Carbonfree® Business Partner for the past five years, Land Escapes makes an annual donation to Carbonfund.org each year to neutralize the carbon footprint from its operations.  Over those five years, Land Escapes has mitigated the impact of almost 350,000 pounds of carbon emissions, the amount of greenhouse gases sequestered by 4000 tree seedlings planted and grown over a ten-year period.            

“Carbonfund.org has helped us achieve our sustainability goals in two ways.  The first is by ensuring that our donation goes toward worthy necessary causes to heal our planet and help offset our portion of the damage done,” explains Trevor Smith, Principal of Land Escapes Design.  “The other is by helping us assure our clients that we mean what we say and practice what we preach.  By having the Carbonfund.org logo on our site and literature clients and potential clients alike can be sure they are making a wise choice and choosing a company with a conscience, concerned with the role they play in the world. Having the Carbonfund.org logo also helps us set the bar for our peers and competition as well causing them to rethink their roles.”  

Land Escapes specializes in landscape design, water features, rain harvesting systems and rain gardens, living wall and living roof systems, as well as complete event design for all occasions and seasonal decorating.  

Land Escapes Design partners with its landscaping clients to design unique “everyday getaways” and partners with Carbonfund.org to ensure that its own operations do no harm to the natural environment it seeks to enhance. 

Published in carbonfree blog

For Colorado residential and commercial property owners faced with construction defect issues, there’s a leading law firm that specializes in effective case verdicts and settlements, and that’s also a leader in managing its own environmental responsibilities. 

Benson, Kerrane, Storz & Nelson, P.C. is one of the leading construction defect litigation law firms in Colorado, representing property owners with construction defect claims against builders, subcontractors, and their insurance companies.  The firm takes a unique approach to construction defect cases, developing and implementing several alternative approaches to construction defect claims that often resolve claims without their clients ever stepping foot in a courthouse. 

This leadership in creative and effective construction defect case settlement parallels the firm’s leadership in its ongoing commitment to maintaining environmentally sustainable business operations. 

Six years ago, Benson, Kerrane, Storz & Nelson, P.C. committed to offset 100% of its carbon footprint created by office activities, including electric usage and business car travel, in partnership with Carbonfund.org.  Each year, the firm makes a donation to Carbonfund.org to neutralize its annual estimated operational emissions by supporting third-party verified renewable energy, energy efficiency, and reforestation projects. 

To date, the firm’s carbon footprint offsets have neutralized almost 1.4 million pounds of greenhouse gases, the same quantity as is sequestered in a year by five acres of US forest lands preserved from conversion to cropland. 

“We are excited to continue our partnership with Carbonfund.org,” states Doug Benson, Founding Partner.  “We hope that our commitment to offset our carbon footprint will serve as an example to other law firms, community associations and their vendors.” 

Carbonfund.org is proud to partner with Benson, Kerrane, Storz & Nelson in their ongoing efforts to maintain environmentally responsible business operations.

 

Published in carbonfree blog

What’s one way to reduce your carbon footprint?  Reduce your waistline and stay fit. 

For some, this is easier said than done, but for those in Southern California, there’s a Carbonfree® Business Partner that can help.  Southern California-based fitness and nutrition center HDX Fit offers an integrative approach to optimal health through fitness, nutrition and lifestyle guidance with multiple HDX Fit locations around the Orange County and Los Angeles area.

Through their Carbonfree® Business Partnership, HDX Fit neutralizes its annual operational emissions each year by supporting Carbonfund.org’s reforestation projects around the world.  Over the past five years, HDX Fit has mitigated the negative impact of almost 380,000 pounds of greenhouse gases, equivalent to growing almost 4500 trees over a ten-year period.

"We chose to partner with Cabonfund.org because we believed that as a company, if we were to lead by example and help offset our carbon footprint, we could encourage our clients and business partners to do the same,” explains Huw Lloyd Davies, owner of HDX Fit.  “We believe that we all need to do our part to bring about sustainable change."

HDX Fit also donates 1% of its profits back to the planet through support of various environmental organizations.  They recommend environmentally friendly household cleaning products, nutrition supplements and food that are grown organically, and environmentally renewable clothing suppliers.  HDX Fit hosts seminars to help clients maintain more energy efficient and environmentally friendly homes and arrange local energy efficiency contractors for clients at a reduced rate.  Many HDX Fit events take clients “outdoors” so they can develop and deepen a keen interest in both a more active lifestyle and in protecting the resources they enjoy.

HDX Fit operates on the belief that a healthy body coupled with a nourished, focused mind can achieve anything, and part of what they strive to achieve is a meaningful contribution to protecting our environment.  Carbonfund.org is glad to continue our partnership with HDX Fit in these efforts.  

Published in carbonfree blog

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.

Published in carbonfree blog

Scientists predict that in 50 years we’ll have lost almost 70% of our natural reefs.  “Which is quite a heavy statistic,” says environmentally inspired artist, Jason deCaires Taylor.  He is the focus of a documentary named, Angel Azul, exploring the weaving of art with an important environmental solution; the creation of artificial coral reefs.

You may be asking yourself why coral reefs are important to humans.  The fact is that they’re important for several reasons.  The first is that they provide us with resources and services worth many billions of dollars each year; namely through food, protection and jobs.  Coral reef ecosystems support commercial and recreational fisheries and are tourism-related destinations that inject billions of dollars to local economies.  Furthermore, healthy coral reefs are a natural shoreline buffer helping to protect us from waves, storms and floods.  Lastly, coral reef plants and animals are important sources of new medicines being developed to treat cancer, arthritis, human bacterial infections, heart disease, viruses and other diseases.

"As humans continue to pump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the climate is … on the threshold of a new regime, with dire consequences for reef ecosystems unless we get control of climate change," said Richard Aronson, a biology professor at Florida Institute of Technology.  He continues to add, "Local issues like pollution and overfishing are major destructive forces and they need to be stopped, but they are trumped by climate change, which right now is the greatest threat to coral reefs."

Taylor founded the Museo Subacuatico de Arte (MUSA) in Cancun, Mexico, installing 400 life-like cement statues made from plaster molds of a diverse selection of human models.  The documentary is named for a sculpture of an angel with outstretched arms and Gorgonian coral wings that gently flutter with the tide.  The hope is that the Angel Azul will symbolize a guardian of the reef, protecting and nourishing the aquatic life around her.  This kinetic sculpture is the first to be installed underwater.

Angel Azul the movie also features Paul Sánchez-Navarro, Director of The Ecological Center in Akumal, Mexico explaining the fragile state of the Yucatán's coral reefs and proposing solutions for their survival. The documentary’s narration is provided by actor, writer and social activist, Peter Coyote.

“Obviously this type of work is quite different from normal art projects. Because the main objective of it is about conservation; making an artificial reef, increasing the biomass underwater, creating habitat areas, aggregating fish” says Taylor. 

Coral reefs are resilient.  They can recover and re-grow, but only if climate change can be mitigated or reversed.  We need to examine our lifestyles and find ways to reduce energy use.  It will help our wallets and the environment.

Published in carbonfree blog

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. 

Published in carbonfree blog

Among other good news on the climate change front this week, renewable energy is projected to exceed gas by 2016.  According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), by 2016 global electricity generation from wind, solar, hydro and other forms of renewable power will eclipse that from natural gas – and should be double that provided by nuclear plants.

The IEA points to a surge in renewables led by emerging economies such as China, which accounts for 40 percent of the projected global growth in renewables between 2012 and 2018.  Although this is positive, we’re not out of the woods yet if we want to avoid the 2 degree Celsius increase threshold that scientists predict could lead to permanent changes to ecosystems.  China still relies heavily on coal, and not just for electricity generation.  The country also depends on the fossil fuel for steel production and making fertilizers, which generate large amounts of greenhouse gases.  Even aggressive expansion of renewables and nuclear power leaves China using coal for up to half of its total energy needs by 2050.

In the U.S., a boom in shale gas production is stunting efforts to expand renewables.  European growth of renewables has also slowed.  But the new economic powerhouses of China, India and Brazil are leading the charge, which sweetens the overall global renewable picture.

However, don’t fall into the trap of thinking the future is rosier than it seems.  On the surface, these projections paint a picture where natural gas fills in for a decade or two while we build a low-carbon future based around renewables.  That is certainly a likely scenario, but it requires the support of long-term policies in many countries to encourage sufficient investment in renewable power plants.

The problem is that policy uncertainty leads to building gas-fired plants that have a lifetime of three to four decades.  This makes it difficult to phase out fossil fuels on the timescale needed to avoid dangerous global warming, which requires major cuts from 2030 onwards.  In fact, the IEA itself warned in its 2011 edition of World Energy Outlook that fossil-fuel plants due to be built over the next five years are already likely to lock the planet into 2°C of warming. 

So how can we fix this problem?  Energy analysts say we need long-term assurances to investors that renewable plants being built now will deliver a better economic return than those fired by coal or natural gas.  It’s a weakness of U.S. President Barack Obama's climate plan, announced earlier this week, which lacks the long-term targets that could be set if Congress would pass new legislation. 

The stakes are high.  We need significant changes in existing proposals for policy.  Otherwise the chances are slim that we’ll avoid surpassing the 2 degree Celsius increase threshold climatologists warn will alter the lives of billions of people.

Published in carbonfree blog

Sometimes the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow, temporarily stalling renewable energy production.  When that happens, what fuel source fills in the energy gap?  Traditionally the answer was coal, but due to increased supply and low prices, the answer of late has been natural gas.  Coal is certainly the dirtier of the two fossil fuels, but natural gas is not a perfect choice either.  The increased supply in natural gas was achieved through the process of hydraulic fracturing (called fracking), which can be harmful to the environment.

Last spring natural gas prices fell to all-time lows of $2 to $3 per thousand cubic feet in the United States.  This spring natural gas prices are on the rise.  In fact, they’ve doubled to just over $4 per thousand cubic feet, but the bottom line is natural gas is still pretty cheap.  Experts say prices in the $4 or $5 range won’t affect the increasing use of the fuel by consumers and the energy industry since the price was $8 just a few years ago.  In Europe and Asia prices are even higher; think $10 to $14.

According to a Citibank research report, “Gas and renewables could in fact be the making of each other in the short term.”  Expect renewables to cost about the same as conventional fuels in many parts of the world “in the very near term.”  Mark Brownstein, an associate vice president at the Environmental Defense Fund, noted that the price of renewable energy has declined substantially in recent years, and that’s expected to continue, making them even more competitive.  As demand for renewables builds, it will in turn “drive demand for more gas-fired” power plants to be used as backup.

Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) missed an April 13 deadline to issue much-anticipated new rules limiting carbon dioxide emissions from new power plants.  Proposed a year ago, the rules were first to set limits on greenhouse gas emissions from new plants.  Once a limit is set for new facilities, the EPA is legally obligated to address existing plants, which pose the true climate threat at the moment.  The US’ power plant fleet is the single biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the world.  Acting EPA Administrator Bob Perciasepe said last week that the agency expects to propose new rules on greenhouse gases from existing plants in fiscal 2014.

The draft rule for new power plants sets a limit of 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour of electricity.  That cutoff point would be easy for natural-gas-fired plants to meet, but not conventional coal plants.  Already, power companies build natural gas plants almost exclusively because of the low price of gas. 

There is speculation that the EPA’s indefinite delay on the new rules limiting carbon dioxide emissions from new power plants is due to second thoughts at the EPA and the White House over the single standard.  The EPA is said to be contemplating setting two standards, one for coal plants and the other for natural gas, which might make the new rule more legally defensible in an attempt to avert the inevitable legal wrangling that goes on whenever the EPA sets a new rule including limitations.

Environmental groups argue that separate standards make little sense.  “Setting a separate standard for coal- and natural-gas-fired plants would greatly weaken the standard’s ability to ensure a transition away from building high-carbon electricity-generation sources,” said economist Rachel Cleetus of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Natural gas may be the interim answer as we build our renewable energy infrastructure and then the backup once we move to a sustainable energy future.  For the sake of slowing down climate change, the EPA needs to set the rules on new electricity generation plants posthaste.  Then they should tackle existing power plants without delay.  Global warming won’t wait.

Published in carbonfree blog
Page 1 of 2