Even in the world of high fashion, social responsibility and environmental commitments make a difference. Witness the example of Master & Muse, a fashion-forward lifestyle brand created by fashion icon and actress Amber Valletta to bridge the gap between high fashion and mindful manufacturing. The mission at Master & Muse by Amber Valletta is to offer customers socially responsible fashion that is stylish, exciting, desirable and accessible. To help achieve this mission, Master & Muse turned to Carbonfund.org to neutralize annual operating emissions by supporting clean air and carbon reduction projects.
“I have always believed that substance and style do not have to be mutually exclusive,” states Amber Valletta. “The partnership between Master & Muse and carbonfund.org illustrates that we can have both at the same time.”
Today, Master & Muse by Amber Valletta exists as an online store on Yooxygen.com, which offers a selection of curated stylish clothes and accessories that are designed, sourced and produced responsibly. The criteria used to vet the brands that are sold on www.masterandmuse.com ascribe to the core values of Awareness, Innovation, Collaboration, Integrity and Creativity.
The themes of environmental and social sustainability run through all of these core values. Each brand in the shop is taking steps to improve how fashion is designed, sourced and produced. Ultimately, Master & Muse by Amber Valletta promotes that “It’s Fashion Forward to Buy Better.” Buying better means buying more consciously, which in turn is better for our planet.
Outdoor sports and activity enthusiasts have regular opportunities to be immersed in our natural environment. Many visit the same locations year after year, often able to observe the negative effects of climate change, habitat destruction, and encroaching urban sprawl. Many companies that provide products and services to the outdoorsy types are aware of the impact of their operational emissions on the environment and have taken steps to address the issue.
A great example of leadership in carbon emissions neutralization is Seattle-based evo, bringing high quality ski, snowboard, wakeboard and skateboard gear and apparel to their customers. For the past six years, evo has offered its customers a simple, affordable way to neutralize the carbon emissions created by shipping their products to customers through the CarbonFree® Shipping program.
"Carbonfund.org was clearly the best partner for our business for several reasons,” explains Bryce Phillips, Founder and Owner of evo. “Firstly, they are the only non-profit organization among the larger companies offering carbon offsetting. Secondly, due in part to their non-profit status they can offer the same product (carbon offsetting) at the best price. Lastly, Carbonfund.org has been amazing to work with in implementing our website checkout. They were extremely helpful with messaging and promotion as well as logistics and aiding in the calculation of offset amounts."
evo seeks to involve its customers in the company’s environmental commitment and to raise awareness about how easy and effective carbon offsetting can be. evo customers help spread the word about the options people have to green up their lives by supporting Carbonfund.org’s clean air and carbon reduction projects, and help pave the way for other companies to offer carbon offsetting. That’s industry leadership – making a commitment, leading by example, and encouraging customers and supporters to join in the effort to transition to a cleaner energy future.
The Internet is flooded with green buying guides and “Ask Angie” referrals and recommendations for all types of customer goods and services. But how do you decide upon a reliable source? Direct experience and expertise certainly makes a difference, and one of our new CarbonFree® Business Partners provides just that when it comes to selecting the best and safest products for the family dog.
Pet Expertise is a small family-run business owned by Jessica Rollins, who was inspired to create Pet Expertise in order to help her dog training clients make informed product choices for their pets. Jessica is a certified positive dog trainer through the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals with a bachelor’s degree in biology. She personally tests each dog product for quality then creates thorough and detailed descriptions to help you select the right product for your dog.
Pet Expertise specializes in dog supplies that are safe and effective, and this year, Jessica took the additional step to make her business CarbonFree®. This measure is an important component to Pet Expertise’s environmental focus and part of their “brag list”, which also includes reusing shipping boxes and packaging, purchasing biodegradable shipping materials, and sourcing products that are made in the USA of natural materials.
“We love the earth and all of its creatures and do our best to make the world a better place in all of our activities through Pet Expertise,” states Jessica.
Pet Expertise claims a leader-in-the-pack position for dog products and training by including a strong environmental sustainability component to its overall operations and becoming a CarbonFree® business.
The enduring premise of the CarbonFree® Business Partnership program, and key to the program’s ongoing success, is the simplicity of the commitment: recognize and measure the annual operational emissions of your business, do what you can to reduce those emissions, and then support carbon reduction projects to mitigate the negative impact of the business emissions you can’t yet eliminate.
Hundreds of businesses around the world have joined the program, and many have maintained a long-term commitment to remaining CarbonFree®. It fits easily within their business strategies, environmental commitment and operational budgets.
A great example is Gaia’s Delights, a CarbonFree® Partner for the past six years, following its founder’s focus on the environment as underscored by the company’s name. Gaia was the goddess of Earth in ancient Greek mythology, and Gaia means “Mother Earth”. Gaia’s Delights is the parent company for a number of businesses known for their commitment to fair trade practices and to small independent herbal farms and farmers. Keith Cleversley started the company in the late 1990′s while at the peak of his record production career. With the resources that Gaia’s Delights has gathered over the past years, the company now devotes much of its time to helping worthy causes, doing important research, and engaging in activities that help to preserve and improve the world’s environment.
"When searching for more ways to enhance our efforts to help to save this beautiful planet of ours, Carbonfund.org was the obvious choice and a shining example of what grass roots determination can accomplish," explains Keith. His ongoing devotion to developing enterprises that provide healthy products from the herbs and extracts found in nature, while supporting local farmers and communities and maintaining fair trade practices, demonstrates Keith’s continuous commitment to environmental sustainability that exemplifies our CarbonFree® Partners.
This year offered several events that shone a spotlight directly on the important and urgent issue of climate change, but the question remains, “Was it enough to bring about meaningful efforts to reduce climate change?”
June of 2012 presented the United Nations Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil which disappointed many as international representatives hemmed and hawed instead of establishing true endeavors to tackle global warming. Meanwhile the continental United States embarked on summer heat waves that were some of the hottest in its history.
This year also saw drought cover more than half the country; farmers suffered as their crops and animals died.
Then October of 2012 brought superstorm Sandy, this year’s biggest example of extreme weather and a deadly harbinger of the devastating effects of climate change. Can we continue to sit idly by in the face of all these signs that global warming is making broad changes to our planet? Should we leave these environmental problems for our children to face as we continue down an unsustainable path?
The close of the year is a time to reflect on the previous events of the year and make resolutions for the coming year. Let’s pledge to make 2013 the year where we confront climate change in every possible way. We can all embark on energy efficiency efforts; reducing what we can and lowering our carbon footprints. Every bit helps. Then it is a powerful combination to offset the rest of our carbon emissions. It would be a genuine shame to let the lessons of this past year slip from our consciousness while there is still time and so much that can and should be done to address climate change.
Environmental conservation is a broad, global goal that will only be achieved by the aggregate of actions taken by small businesses and individuals in communities around the world. Carbonfund.org is engaged in large-scale initiatives, such as the development of our forestry projects in Brazil, but we continue to offer simple and affordable ways for any person, family or start-up business to make a difference in the fight against the negative impact of climate change.
Our personal emissions offsetting programs and CarbonFree® Business Partnerships help everyone to be part of the solution to climate change. New CarbonFree® Partner Citizen Yogurt is a great example of a local business putting its community and environmental mission into action. Citizen Yogurt in Raleigh, North Carolina is a 100% locally owned and operated family business, offering self-serve frozen yogurt with bold and unusual flavors and toppings, and a commitment to social and environmental responsibility.
Citizen Yogurt’s community involvement includes sponsoring local swim teams, sports clubs and organizations in their neighborhood. They sponsor charitable donation nights where at least 10% of the night’s revenue will go to community organizations. The yogurt shop features sustainable bamboo hardwood floors and their yogurt comes from rBST-free cows.
“Citizen Yogurt has chosen to take a different path to success. We have committed to running our business in the best way possible – including the impact on the environment and community. Carbonfund.org’s transparency, not-for-profit status and strong partner list help make that goal easier to achieve,” states Charles Park, Owner and President of Citizen Yogurt.
Citizen Yogurt joined the CarbonFree® Business Partnership program this year, neutralizing their annual operational emissions by supporting Carbonfund.org’s projects that reduce carbon emissions elsewhere through reforestation efforts, energy efficiency innovation and renewable energy technology development. Their CarbonFree® Business Partnership program underscores their commitment to sustainable operations and helps to create awareness in their local area about mitigating carbon emissions and encouraging customers to think about environmental commitments in their own lives.
We believe that Citizen Yogurt is leading by example as a great model for environmental commitment while serving up tasty froyo treats to the Raleigh community.
The “Leave No Trace Behind” ethic is supported by the four major US federal land management agencies and by most eco-travel organizations trying to uphold high standards of environmentally-responsible tour operations. These principles can be followed in eco-tourism planning and observed onsite during tours, but eco-travel operations still generate other sources of harmful environmental emissions through transportation and onsite energy consumption during tour operations.
Carbonfund.org works with several eco-tour operators who take their environmental commitment beyond the tenets of “Leave No Trace Behind” by measuring, reducing where possible and mitigating all carbon emissions from their operations, and CarbonFree® partner Jackson Hole Eco Tour Adventures is a great example.
Jackson Hole Eco Tour Adventures maintains carbon neutral operations for the transportation and energy consumption they cannot eliminate by supporting Carbonfund.org’s clean air and carbon reduction projects around the world.
"It's so important to do what we can to leave the smallest impact possible here on planet earth. This is why we partner with the Carbonfund.org," states Taylor Phillips, Owner and Lead Guide for Jackson Hole Eco Tour Adventures.
Eco Tour Adventures was created with the idea of helping people connect with and gain a deeper appreciation for the natural world through wildlife observation and natural history interpretation. Their premise is that their tour guests develop a stronger bond with the natural world and will make more environmentally sound choices in their daily lives. TripAdvisor recently named Jackson Hole Eco Tour Adventures as one of ten great wildlife tours. Carbonfund.org is proud to partner with Eco Tour Adventures in their carbon emissions mitigation efforts, helping their organization serve as a positive role model for its tour guests and for other eco-tourism businesses.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology describes cloud computing as offering the potential for tremendous cost savings and increased operational agility to organizations. Another key benefit of cloud computing is the access to up-to-date versions of numerous business technology platforms and applications. New Carbonfund.org Business Partner Spyrel adds to the benefits of cloud computing by providing their customers a service partner whose operations are CarbonFree®.
As part of its own corporate sustainability initiatives, Spyrel maintains carbon neutral operations by supporting Carbonfund.org’s energy efficiency innovation projects. Their status as a CarbonFree® Business Partner provides a market differentiator and underscores Spyrel’s commitment to market leadership in the area of environmentally-sound business practices.
An example of Spyrel’s innovations in energy efficiency is their TREES Technology (Tools for Reporting Energy Efficiency Services), which helps utilities measure the energy efficiency performance of their service delivery, thus reducing energy waste. As the least expensive unit of energy is the one that’s never used, Spyrel’s TREES solution also contributes to the company’s overall sustainability initiatives.
"Our environmental commitment is helping customers enjoy powerful productivity gains by leveraging innovative cloud computing platform based applications for specific business verticals,” explains Imtiaz Khan, CEO/President of Spyrel. “By partnering with Carbonfund.org, we will be able to achieve that goal ensuring corporate sustainability is empowered.”
Spyrel’s leadership in supporting energy efficiency technology development and becoming a carbon neutral business demonstrates their long-term commitment to these corporate sustainability goals and to supporting Carbonfund.org’s overall mission.
It seems only fitting that a business that depends entirely on organic and natural herbs, flowers, and medicinal plants would maintain a strong commitment to environmentally responsible business practices. Carbonfree® Business Partner Mountain Rose Herbs sets a high standard in this regard and has made significant steps in following Carbonfund.org’s motto of “reduce what you can, offset what you can’t™” by lessening its energy consumption prior to neutralizing their remaining annual operational emissions with Carbonfund.org.
Mountain Rose Herbs’ primary facility was constructed with LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards and relies heavily on natural lighting. Energy demand was further reduced by making a complete lighting upgrade to energy-efficient bulbs in their principal facilities and installing Energy-Star rated heating and cooling systems. In addition, Mountain Rose Herbs upgraded all their computers to those with Gold Star ratings for energy conservation, minimal shipment packaging and elimination of environmentally-harmful materials as well as more energy-efficient flat screen monitors. Mountain Rose Herbs converted all electrical usage to their local Greenpower program to ensure that a significant portion of their electricity comes from wind and solar sources.
Despite all of these energy-saving measures and efficiency enhancements, Mountain Rose Herbs still generates a measurable annual carbon emissions footprint from its business operations. In order to neutralize these annual operational emissions, Mountain Rose Herbs has partnered with Carbonfund.org for the past four years to measure and offset these unavoidable emissions by supporting Carbonfund.org’s clean energy and carbon reduction projects.
"If we are to move past coal and look forward to a greener future that is full of alternative energy, then we must support the endeavors of Carbonfund.org, who are creating the infrastructure necessary to make it happen," states Shawn Donnille, Vice President of Mountain Rose Herbs.
We applaud Carbonfree® Partner Mountain Rose Herbs for pursuing a meaningful commitment to environmentally-conscious business operations, measuring and neutralizing their annual carbon emissions, and supporting our clean air technology projects.