press releases | carbonfund.org

The summer travel season is around the corner, and exotic locations lure the most adventurous travelers to remote and environmentally sensitive areas to experience their wonders.  When planning these trips, environmentally responsible travelers will seek out sustainable tours that meet established ecotourism guidelines.     

The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) defines ecotourism as "responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people." CarbonFree® Business Partner Detour, The Adventure Travel Marketplace adheres to this definition and its guiding principles when selecting the local tour operators and outfitters for its online destination tours and travel adventures.  Detour actively promotes sustainable tourism by offering trips operated by local ecotourism companies and promoting green certified hotels in the trip destinations they support. 

As an important part of its sustainability mission, Detour minimizes it own operational carbon emissions then mitigates what it cannot eliminate in partnership with Carbonfund.org.  As a virtual company, Detour follows Carbonfund.org’s motto to “reduce what you can, offset what you can’t™” by maintaining only a small wind-powered office with some employees working from home.  Detour handles all tour information and customer communications online, replacing paper and printing with electronic documents.  And for the past six years, Detour has neutralized all remaining operational emissions through the CarbonFree® Business Partnership program.  To date, Detour has neutralized over 500,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to the amount of carbon dioxide sequestered by 6000 trees over a ten-year period.       

“As a company based on promoting small-scale tourism directly through socially and environmentally responsible local tour operators and outfitters, Detour is committed to protecting the environment and minimizing global climate change,” said Greg Findley, Detour’s CEO.

Working only with sustainable local travel companies ensures that the tours support the local economies.  Detour selects tour operations that employ local people and provide economic incentives for local people to protect their natural and cultural resources.  Traveling with local companies also gives travelers a window into the lives of the communities they visit.  This inside knowledge can make the difference between being a tourist and thoroughly experiencing and learning about a destination.

Taking a trip, even the most sustainably-planned tour, has some negative environmental impacts, including the carbon emissions of airplane travel and on-site ground transportation.  Detour advises its customers to become environmentally-responsible travelers by choosing a sustainable trip, taking fewer and longer trips, and trying to get direct air flights when possible. Finally, Detour encourages tour customers to purchase carbon credits to offset the carbon emissions from their flights through Carbonfund.org.  Join the ranks of eco-travelers by selecting leading sustainable tour operators like Detour and taking the extra steps to neutralize your vacation travel emissions.  

 

There’s only one chance to make a first impression, and product labeling is an important part of a product’s first impression.  CarbonFree® Partner Label Impressions helps its customers make clear, strong impressions through a range of product labeling options while maintaining its own best first impression as an environmental leader in its industry. 

Label Impressions is dedicated to keeping our environment healthy “one label at a time” by offering customers the most current information on eco-friendly products and materials.   Their company vision is to set the standard for efficiency by being clean, lean and green.  An important component of that vision is maintaining their CarbonFree® Partner status for the past five years. 

"We’re setting a precedent in the label industry,” states Jeff Morrow, VP of Sales & Sustainability for Label Impressions.  “Label Impressions has been focusing on environmental printing issues for years now and this is the culmination of those efforts.”

In the past five years, Label Impressions has neutralized almost 800,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions by supporting Carbonfund.org’s energy efficiency and renewable energy technology projects.  That’s equivalent to the carbon emissions produced by burning 40,000 gallons of gasoline. 

Label Impressions maintains CarbonFree® operations and is a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified label printer, offering a variety of environmentally sensitive label choices including soy and water-based inks, recycled and biodegradable labels, biodegradable adhesives, and their own tree-free and water-free waterproof labels made from natural stone.  The FiberStone® labels combine the conformability, durability and toughness of a film label, the aesthetic qualities of a paper label, and the eco-friendliness of a 'green label' made from stone. 

First impressions and first-in-industry environmental accomplishments are important to Label Impressions, and Carbonfund.org is honored to help Label Impressions celebrate these achievements and their fifth anniversary CarbonFree®. 

Many of our business partners focus on following sustainable business practices, specializing in organic products, minimizing waste in their packaging and supporting Fair Trade practices. These programs are important to their business ethics and compatible with the products they’re delivering.

Exemplifying this approach is the husband-and-wife team that created Arbor Teas, a CarbonFree® Business Partner for six consecutive years.

Arbor Teas offers USDA-certified organic loose leaf teas from around the globe through its on-line store, with one of the web’s largest selections of organic tea, three-quarters of which is Fair Trade Certified.  Arbor Teas maintains a daily mission to find the world's most fantastic organic teas and deliver them to customers as sustainably as possibly.  This includes maintaining their CarbonFree® Business Partnership, neutralizing all operational and shipping emissions by supporting Carbonfund.org’s clean air and carbon reduction projects around the world.   

Because Arbor Teas deals in products that come from all corners of the globe, it was imperative to offset the carbon footprint of all shipments that arrive at or depart from their facility as well as the carbon emissions from their internal operations.

“It makes no sense at all to sell an organic product if the method of delivering it to our customers is environmentally harmful,” emphasizes Jeremy Lopatin, co-founder of Arbor Teas with wife Aubrey.  “Although we do everything we can to reduce our carbon footprint, we’re happy to partner with Carbonfund.org to offset what we can’t avoid… yet!”

Arbor Teas became the first tea company to deliver its full line of organic loose teas in 100% backyard compostable packaging, continuing to lead the tea industry through its staunch commitment to sustainable business practices.  Tea drinkers are now able to compost their tea leaves and tea packaging together in their home composting system.  Organic teas delivered CarbonFree® with compostable packaging – that’s commitment to environmental sustainability in action and leadership by example. 

Last week our planet reached a scary milestone for carbon dioxide, the most important global warming gas.  The average carbon dioxide reading exceeded 400 parts per million at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Mauna Loa Observatory (MLO) on the island of Hawaii for the 24 hours that ended at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on Thursday, May 9, 2013.  Earth hasn’t had this much carbon dioxide concentrated in the air for at least three million years, which is before human life on the planet.

This should be a wakeup call that major and potentially catastrophic global weather changes are coming and a sign we’re not doing enough to tackle climate change.

We’ve seen carbon dioxide levels above 400 parts per million in the Arctic last year and even in some hourly readings at NOAA’s MLO.  However, this is the first time we’ve seen the average reading for an entire day exceed that level.  Carbon dioxide levels do rise and fall along with the seasons.  As foliage grows over the summer in the Northern Hemisphere, 10 billion tons of carbon will be pulled out of the air.  But it’s only a temporary pardon in a situation that’s becoming direr by the moment.

We simply must invest in alternative energy technologies and begin curbing our dangerous global appetite for fossil fuels.  Otherwise, the time will come soon where no measurement of the ambient air anywhere on earth, in any season, will produce a reading below 400.

The official target to limit the damage from global warming is 450 parts per million (PPM), which is generally agreed to be the maximum level compatible with that goal.  Our relentless, long-term increases in carbon dioxide emissions are likely get us to 450 PPM in well under 25 years.  The time to slow down global warming is dwindling quickly.  Twenty five years may seem like a long time, but our planet is huge.  It will take more time than that to right the ship.

Not every country has agreed to set binding emissions targets, either.  Unfortunately, the United States count among those shirking their responsibility.  Now greater efforts are necessary, and are all but impossible without severe economic disruptions.

Can we live on a planet that is warmer and wetter?  Probably, but billions of people are going to suffer as we make the transition.  It’s a better plan to lower our carbon footprints and speedily move to no and low carbon energy sources.  The price is going to be high either way, and it’s only getting steeper as we hurtle towards the point of no return.

The printing industry has made a lot of progress in helping its member organizations analyze and reduce carbon emissions from various aspects of the commercial printing process.  These efforts to pursue industry sustainability have resonated with CarbonFree® Business Partner Digital Hub in very tangible ways. 

Now in its fifth year as a CarbonFree® Partner, neutralizing its annual shipping emissions by supporting Carbonfund.org’s renewable energy projects, Mikal Martzel and Digital Hub has developed a broad range of environmentally responsible initiatives.  

"We chose to partner with Carbonfund.org because we are on a mission to achieve as close to a zero carbon footprint as possible," explains Mikal Martzel, VP of Marketing, Sales and Environmental Policy at Digital Hub.  

Over the past five years, Digital Hub has mitigated almost 400,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions through the CarbonFree® Business Partner program, equivalent to taking 37 cars off the road for a year.

Digital Hub produces all printed materials in-house, giving their staff complete control over the paper, inks and chemicals used to produce printed materials. This eliminates the chance of non-environmentally safe materials being used by an outsourced print vendor.  Digital Hub also uses a waterless printing process when possible and reduces the chemicals used in traditional water-based offset printing methods. 

In 2009, Digital Hub switched to 100% wind power for its electricity usage, further reducing its operational emissions. And their internal policies of “one stop” lunch service, in which all employees order lunch for delivery by the same local restaurant, paper and products recycling and food composting programs in their office adds to their sustainability initiatives. 

Carbonfund.org is honored to partner with an industry leader like Digital Hub and commends their broad commitment to maintaining an environmentally sustainable business.

 

In a blog post last month, I wrote about how climate change science is set to be taught unevenly in the US curriculum.  It’s great that middle and high school age kids in the US are going to learn about climate change.  Unfortunately, the Next Generation Science Standards are voluntary and could take years to implement.  So is there an option if we want our children to learn about global warming now?

The non-profit Alliance for Climate Education (ACE) fills this need.  Their mission is to, “educate high school students on the science behind climate change and inspire them to take action to curb global warming”.  One look at their website and you can see they are on the right track in reaching their target audience.  It’s packed with social media links and interactive blog entries. 

Since the fall of 2009, ACE has reached more than a million high school students at over 1,550 schools.  While this is impressive, there are some teachers and parents who oppose the presentations, believing climate change to be a controversial and/or political issue.  However, all of the climate science ACE presents comes from peer-reviewed published science articles, with a focus on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Fourth Assessment Report (IPCC AR4).  The IPCC AR4 is one of the most heavily researched science reports in history.

ACE’s efforts don’t end with their presentations.  They also offer Student Action Programs to help get kids started right away.  Then ACE grooms student environmental leaders who influence peers and lead change. 

With the help of an ACE grant, Daniela Lapidous and Shreya Indukuri installed energy monitoring technology at their school.  Saving both energy and money led them to expand the project to other local schools.  Their project’s success brought them to the White House’s attention, where a mere two years after their first ACE presentation, they advised Energy Secretary Steven Chu on their smartmeter project that reduced their school's electric bill by 13%.  Daniela wrote about her experience on ACE’s blog, “Hot and Bothered” and is a co-founder of SmartPowerEd.org.

It’s inspiring to see the ripple effect that climate change education can bring about.  And getting information about global warming to high school aged kids is critical and a conscious choice.  "They're going to be the generation to feel the impacts [of climate change] hardest and first," says Matt Lappe, ACE's education director. "And so in some sense we target high-schoolers and young people in general, because they really have a right to know climate science."

We should all take a page out of the next generation’s book.  Not only are they learning about global warming, but they are taking the next steps to do something about the problem.  Taking charge of the future is what it is all about since they’re the ones that will have to live with the consequences if we don’t.

ENFIELD, NH May 8, 2013 – Leading Edge Design Group (LEDG), a leading national provider of energy optimization services, announced today that it will offset its carbon emissions with the Carbonfund.org Foundation, one of the country's leading carbon offset organizations. In addition to their existing effort to reduce emissions by advancing corporate recycling initiatives, improving office-wide sustainable products and systems procurement, and establishing team car-pooling mandates for customer visits to reduce travel related emission, LEDG’s CarbonFree® program participation supports their employees, partners, and customers who are striving to increase their own commitment to carbon neutrality. 

“We are proud of our ongoing efforts to help our customers significantly reduce their carbon footprint but understand that this effort necessitates travel and the associated consumption of natural resources, “ said Todd Boucher, Principal, Leading Edge Design Group. “Our partnership with Carbonfund.org allows us to maintain our commitment to our clients while offsetting the carbon emissions required to support the successful implementation of our solutions.” 

LEDG’s emissions offset purchase will go toward supporting reforestation projects in the US and abroad.  

“LEDG has taken a significant step in recognizing that, despite concerted efforts to reduce operational emissions, there remains a portion of their carbon footprint that cannot yet be eliminated,” explains Eric Carlson, President of Carbonfund.org. “By becoming a CarbonFree® Business Partner, LEDG joins leading businesses and organizations around the world that have made this simple and affordable commitment to neutralize all annual carbon emissions and support our carbon reduction projects.”

ABOUT LEADING EDGE DESIGN GROUP Leading Edge Design Group is a leading national provider of energy optimization services that delivers significant energy savings to the public and private marketplaces through efficient data center designs and emerging LED lighting and wireless lighting control technologies. Founded in 2007 with the goal of pursuing, promoting, and providing the finest energy optimization solutions available, we help our customers minimize the environmental impact of their businesses while improving operational reliability and reducing costs. Leading Edge Design Group is dedicated to encouraging, challenging, and contributing to energy industry innovation with an ongoing commitment to our community and our environment. Visit us at http://www.ledesigngroup.com, review our work in the photo gallery, and connect with us on Twitter @ledesigngroup.

 

There have been a variety of studies published in recent years showing that vegan and vegetarian diets produce a lower carbon footprint than omnivore or carnivore diets.  Raw vegans further reduce their dietary footprint by greatly reducing the energy used to prepare foods.  But what about the locavore movement and efforts to source food as close to home as possible?     

 

Live Superfoods, a purveyor of raw, organic, vegan foods and nutritional supplements, recognized that their healthy diet options often came from distant lands, thus increasing the carbon footprint due to packaging materials and shipping emissions.  In order to reduce these emissions, Live Superfoods took several steps to reuse and recycle shipping cartons and packing materials wherever possible, use recycled paper tape for sealing shipments and recyclable fill materials instead of bubble wrap and Styrofoam peanuts.  Then, to neutralize the remaining shipping emissions, Live Superfoods joined the CarbonFree® Business Partnership program four years ago.  The CarbonFree® Partner program makes it simple and affordable for Live Superfoods to mitigate its remaining operational emissions, including all shipping emissions and all employee commuting emissions, on an annual basis.        

Live Superfoods purchases enough carbon offsets from Carbonfund.org to offset the shipment of products not only from their warehouse to their customers, but also from their global suppliers to the distribution warehouse.  Consequently, their products have a lower carbon footprint than what most locavores consider local.  

"As individuals, we're extremely excited about the locavore movement. But since Live Superfoods specializes in superfoods that are typically grown in exotic places, our company hasn't been able to participate,” explains Tom Burke, CEO of Live Superfoods.  “Now, by purchasing carbon offsets from Carbonfund.org, we're able to import and deliver our foods to the ultimate consumer carbon-free. Our products now have a smaller carbon footprint than foods delivered by farmers to the local farmers' market!"

Live Superfoods also participates in their power company’s Blue SkySM Renewable Energy program, which supports a blend of 100% Pacific Northwest renewable resources from Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.  This initiative further neutralizes Live Superfoods’ annual operational emissions, and together with the CarbonFree® Business Partnership, underscores Live Superfoods’ leadership position as a truly sustainable provider of healthy raw vegan foods, supplements and personal care products. 

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