press releases | carbonfund.org

The Tower Companies is pleased to announce that the Millennium Building at 1909 K Street in Washington D.C. has won the prestigious TOBY Earth award from the DC chapter of BOMA (the Building Owners and Managers Association).   BOMA's Earth award is part of its TOBY (the Office Buildings of the Year) awards program.    

TOBY is recognized as the most prestigious, annual award program in the commercial real estate industry. Established by BOMA International in 1984, the TOBY awards process includes a rigorous review of all facets of the building’s operation and management. 

The Tower Companies envisions a world where buildings inspire and enrich the lives of their occupants, and create a positive social change.  In this world, people seek out buildings that better their health and well-being, connect them to thriving communities and help to sustain the environment. 

 In order to win this award, the property management and engineering team was required to demonstrate excellence in categories that included environmental regulation and sustainability, energy and water conservation, client relations, emergency preparedness, community impact, as well as staff training and education.    

The Tower Companies neutralizes its own Scope I and III annual operating emissions by supporting landfill methane gas-to-energy projects through Carbonfund.org.

Published in carbonfree blog

A good wealth management firm helps its clients get their financial house in order - a great one makes sure its own house is in order, and is accountable to clients and to operational sustainability as well.  New Carbonfree® Business Partner Waymark Wealth Management, located in Westborough, MA, does just this.  The firm made the commitment to neutralize its estimated annual operating emissions by joining the Carbonfree® Business Partnership program earlier this year and supporting Carbonfund.org’s forest preservation projects around the world.

The values based independent wealth management firm helps individuals and families align their personal values with their investments and financial decisions.  The firm also works to minimize its carbon footprint as much as possible.  Co-Founder and Managing Partner Sean Fair participated in the NYC People’s Climate March in 2014 with many other investment companies to show the need for the investment community to take the lead on investing in a sustainable manner.  The staff strives to operate as paperless as possible, and use recycled and 100% wind powered generated paper products when required.  The company car is electric, and this year, the firm is starting an annual golf tournament to support the local land trust.

“We are all a part of a very delicate and often times misunderstood ecosystem,” expresses Sean Fair, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Waymark Wealth Management.  “Environmental and social stewardship must be a priority for everyone if this world is to become the place we all want for our children and future generations.  Simply shirking ownership or kicking the proverbial can down the road is no longer an option.  We want to help people understand that with every dollar you spend whether it is at the grocery store, buying clothes, the car you drive or money invested in the stock market, you are essentially giving those companies “votes of approval” for how they do business.” 

“If we all want sustainability then we need to make sure that we are investing and spending our money with companies that are helping the world achieve that goal.  To that end, we are proud to partner with a great non-profit like Carbonfund.org to make sure our company is helping do its part.”

Published in carbonfree blog

Carbonfree® Business Partner AArete, an international management consulting firm with specialties in supply chain optimization, performance improvement practices and strategic cost reduction, has renewed its annual operational emissions neutralization program with Carbonfund.org for the sixth year.  In that time, AArete has neutralized over 2,300,000 pounds of carbon emissions by supporting Carbonfund.org’s energy efficiency and carbon reduction technologies projects.  That’s equivalent to removing from the atmosphere the carbon emissions produced by an average passenger car that drives almost 2.5 million miles.

Sustainability is one of the guiding principles of AArete’s corporate culture.  The firm is consistently committed to safeguarding our environment and conserving natural resources – not only through day to day actions but through their recommendations to clients.

 “AArete is committed to creating a culture that makes the environment a top priority,” explains Skip Behm, CFO & Managing Director of AArete.  “Partnering with Carbonfund.org just reinforces our promise to promote sustainability within our company and to our clients.”

AArete provides consulting within various industries to attain bottom line improvement. AArete offers proven methodology that will provide stellar solutions to three primary business concerns:

How can I reduce expenses and retain staff?
What opportunities do we have to enhance operating efficiency and effectiveness?
Can you show us how to react to market volatility with our data analytics?

AArete leads its industry in exceptional client services and in continuous commitments to maintaining environmentally responsible operations.  Carbonfund.org appreciates the partnership with AArete and congratulates the firm and its staff for their ongoing efforts to achieve carbon neutrality.

 

Published in carbonfree blog

 

Interview with Mr. Dave Drake, Executive Vice President at ASI / Mac-Gray Campus Laundry Solutions  

 

ASI / Mac-Gray Campus Laundry Solutions’ Lighten the Load™ initiative is reducing college carbon footprints while educating students on the benefits of making sustainable choices in the laundry room. By encouraging campuses to reduce the environmental impact of their properties and facilities, and offering them environmentally responsible solutions to accomplish this objective, ASI / Mac-Gray is serving an important role to help campuses further their efforts to promote on campus sustainability. Since the start of the partnership seven years ago, we are proud to report that ASI / Mac-Gray has mitigated over 107 million pounds of CO2 through external carbon reduction projects chosen to meet the voluntary guidelines set forth by the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC).

ASI / Mac-Gray has supported our exceptional projects located in the “lungs of the Earth” - the Brazilian Amazon.  In the world's largest rainforest, the Purus and Russas REDD + (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) Projects will protect over 180,000 acres from slash-and-burn forest clearing and prevent millions of tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.The Projects are located in the State of Acre, Brazil and, have achieved dual-validation to the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standard (CCBS) with Gold Distinction.

Carbonfund.org Foundation is a proud partner of ASI-Mac-Gray’s Lighten the Load program and we look forward to building on the great work that has been done over the past seven years.   We had the opportunity to speak with Dave Drake, Executive Vice President at ASI / Mac-Gray Campus Laundry Solutions:

 

 1.      Please describe your current role as the Executive Vice President at ASI / Mac-Gray in respect to your work in Sustainability and what led you to that position? 

 ASI / Mac-Gray is a major partner to over 1000 College and University student housing locations. We have a responsibility to provide the most efficient and reliable equipment available for student use, as well to partner with our customers schools objectives to reduce carbon footprints by also providing funding to offset programs to meet the needs of the schools and the challenge of the ACUPCC. I have focused on doing just that for over a decade since high-efficiency machines and programs have been available.

 

 2.      How did you get started in sustainability work? How do you see sustainability improving systems in campus laundry solutions? 

In the mid-nineties, our industry faced new government requirements to meet utility savings and opportunities for new manufactured washers and dryers from manufacturers that would make a significant impact on water usage and energy savings. It started by educating ourselves to help educate student users on how to be more responsible and how to minimize water and maximize energy savings.

 

3.      What personal accomplishments in the sustainability realm are you most proud of? 

We are very proud of developing our carbon-neutral programs to bring awareness to our participating schools. Additionally we have led the industry in setting new standards for installing and operating high-efficiency laundry equipment.  We mitigated over 107,000,000 lbs. of CO2 through some great projects.  I am also happy to report we are saving hundreds of millions of gallons of water each year with our high-efficiency machines.

 

4.      What are you currently working on in the sustainability realm?  

 Our current work involves new and advanced machines that are significantly more efficient, new support programs, and new training ideas for users.  We continue to push the envelope well in advance of regularly accepted equipment and procedures. We would soon like to include more efficient drying of clothes by sensing the clothes are dry, like home use models do, as this would help Colleges and Universities reduce their use of electricity and natural gas.

 

5.      What is your personal biggest sustainability challenge?

Our biggest challenge is that every year we have hundreds of thousands of freshmen use our facilities for the first time. We must educate and train the new users to properly operate the equipment in the most efficient and manner.

 

6.      What is going to be the biggest challenge for sustainability in the next 20 years? 

I hope that government requirements do not exceed the realistic needs to meet the requirements of cleaning today’s clothing.  It would be great if someday the garments themselves may require less to clean and help set a new level of sustainability when it comes to laundry.

 

7.       For the next generation of environmental professionals, what advice would you give?

Be open-minded and think out of the box, but look at all results and demands so you can set realistic and meaningful standards that are achievable.  

 

8.       How did Carbonfund.org help you achieve your sustainability goals?

We have supported their high quality offset projects that allow us to create carbon-neutral laundry operations for our partner schools.  These projects also meet the requirements of the ACUPCC.

 END

Published in carbonfree blog

This year will mark Dolphin Blue’s 5th anniversary as a Carbonfree® Business Partner.  The staff at Dolphin Blue is proud and honored to continue offsetting operational emissions with Carbonfund.org and has decided to take it a step further by purchasing an additional 36 metric tonnes of carbon offsets to neutralize projected annual operating emissions.  Including these latest offsets purchased, Dolphin Blue has neutralized almost 718,000 pounds of greenhouse gases, equivalent to the carbon dioxide sequestered by planting 8350 tree seedlings and growing them for ten years.    

Dolphin Blue has come a long way these past 5 years, by expanding their business offerings to include all-green, no harm products for household cleaning, lawn and garden care, pet care, children’s toys and body care that are produced with a minimal carbon emissions. Every product that Dolphin Blue carries is made from post-consumer recycled content, requiring less energy to produce, and is made in the USA, which means fewer emissions, compared to products made from virgin materials and imported from other countries. 

Dolphin Blue supports initiatives that foster education and awareness in issues of sustainability, energy alternatives, organic agriculture and reducing waste.   Dolphin Blue wants everyone who visits their website to be educated on why they are purchasing these items and the difference buying one eco-friendly product can make. 

Dolphin Blue also is honored to be associated with organizations such as B Corporation, Green Chamber of Commerce, EPA Green Power Partner, Chlorine Free Products Association, North Texas Clean Air Coalition, Green Source DFW, and the Voluntary Renewable Energy Coalition.

For over 20 years, Dolphin Blue has continued to conduct business always respecting the natural world in which we live, and they ask their customers and other businesses to do the same. That’s why Dolphin Blue is encouraging other B Corps to go above and beyond by offsetting their companies’ annual operational emissions and educating their customers on the importance of reducing their individual carbon footprint. 

Published in carbonfree blog

Snuggled in a residential neighborhood in Lower Nob Hill near Union Square in San Francisco, Hotel Carlton offers its guests an eclectic atmosphere, international ambience, outstanding service and an eco-friendly attitude.  As a certified green business, Hotel Carlton strives to incorporate sustainability into all core business operations.

The hotel’s makes every effort to conserve energy, water and natural resources through measures like installing low-flow water fixtures and energy efficient light bulbs throughout the hotel and using Energy Star rated appliances and office equipment.  The hotel also has solar panels on the roof that provide 8-10% of the total electrical load for the building. 

Beginning in 2007, Hotel Carlton took the additional step to offset its remaining annual operational carbon footprint with Carbonfund.org.  Each year, Hotel Carlton calculates its annual electricity and heating fuel usage, its employee commuting and business travel emissions, then makes a donation to Carbonfund.org to neutralize those emissions by purchasing a corresponding quantity of carbon credits produced by one of our third-party verified and validated carbon offsetting projects.  To date, Hotel Carlton has neutralized over 4 million pounds of carbon emissions, equivalent to the emissions produced by driving over 4.3 million miles in a typical passenger car.

Hotel Carlton also strives to increase waste diversion by using paper products with recycled content, and by recycling all paper, bottles, and cans and composting all food and landscape waste.  The hotel purchases environmentally friendly products to minimize the use of toxic materials to protect employee and guest health as well as the environment.

Hotel Carlton was constructed on the tip of one of San Francisco’s few chunks of bedrock. The hotel was designed as one of the nation’s very first buildings specifically constructed to withstand earthquakes. This proved to be beneficial in 1989 immediately after the big 7.1 earthquake. Hotel Carlton ended up with just one broken window along with some very superficial plaster cracks. 

Hotel Carlton’s décor is inspired by travels from around the world, in particular Nepal, India and Morocco.  The lobby is reminiscent of a cozy living room with a roaring fireplace, beautiful Indian accent rugs, and comfortable sofas and armchairs. These elegant and cozy touches underscore the hotel’s commitment to superior guest experiences, and the environmental commitment ensures that the hotel remains a leader in the sustainable hospitality industry.  

Published in carbonfree blog

ClimateStore Inc., located in Boston, MA, officially became a Carbonfree® Partner with CarbonFund.org.  The newly launched retail brand has a mission to make it fun and easy for people to reduce their carbon footprint, and launched its on-line brand, climatestore.com, this past Earth Day. The company seeks to close a gap in the retail space, namely, the lack of an easily recognizable retail brand focused entirely on climate change. 

ClimateStore hopes to tap into a growing market of climate conscious consumers, and carbon offsets play an important role in its sustainability strategy. To help realize its mission, ClimateStore purchased offsets from a portfolio of reforestation and forest conservation projects to offset emissions from its operations including energy use at its offices, freight and parcel shipping, employee commutes, and business travel. The company also relies on partnerships with like-minded organizations, like Carbonfund.org and 1% for the Planet, to support climate change awareness programs and forest conservation initiatives. 

“With the recent release of the latest UN IPCC report and U.S. National Climate Assessment, there can be no doubt this is a critical issue current for future generations. More people are asking what they can do to reduce their carbon impact” says Steven E. Bushnell, Ph.D., Founder and CEO of ClimateStore Inc. “There is a false perception that moving to a lower carbon economy will require giving things up or need extra effort. We take the opposite view; lowering one’s carbon footprint should be fun, easy and rewarding as we collectively secure the stable climate we all hope to live in.” 

The ClimateStore.com website provides summaries of climate science, issues an urgent call for action, suggests plans to reduce personal carbon emissions, and provides products to help people achieve a lower carbon footprint. The company launched with about 250 carbon saving products, including: energy efficient lighting, water saving devices, smart home technology, home décor, laundry items, travel gear and accessories. Each product is evaluated by ClimateStore staff to identify exact how it saves carbon - including the production, use, and disposal phases of the product’s lifecycle - and communicate their findings with a simple icon system and detailed product descriptions. 

Although the focus of the initial products are energy efficiency and upcycled materials, the company plans to expand its product offerings through partnerships including home solar and wind power. ClimateStore invites everyone from the Carbonfund.org blog to visit ClimateStore.com and welcomes suggestions and comments which can be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Published in carbonfree blog

Our newest Carbonfree® Business Partner, CRG Sustainable Solutions (CRGss) of Memphis, Tennessee, spends each day helping their client organizations create innovative and long-term sustainable business practices.  According to the CRGss website, “Sustainability is about the resources we use every day, and the future that each of us will face. The fate of our earth is up to each of us individually, so every choice we make, we should have tomorrow in mind.” 

CRGss was attracted to the Carbonfree® Business Partnership program as a simple, affordable step they could take as an organization to enhance their own operational sustainability. By neutralizing their estimated annual carbon emissions from general business operations, CRGss is leading in the same area of sustainability on which it advises and guides its clients.   

“We believe that we must begin to respect the planet, and live and conduct business in a manner that does not harm the environment,” explains Anthony Gilbreath, Director of Sustainability Solutions at CRGss, about the decision to become a Carbonfree® Business Partner. 

CRGss provides a wide range of sustainability consulting services for all types of businesses in many different industries.  These include sustainability auditing, materiality assessments, supply chain mapping, CDP / GHG reporting and management, Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) reporting, Energy Star Certifications, risk management, supply chain optimization and others. 

CRGss uses CarbonCount™, a suite of carbon management consulting services designed to help organizations with the entire range of carbon management and performance activities.  Services include carbon management scoping, greenhouse gas and emissions Inventory, and carbon emissions reporting in compliance with all major international reporting standards, including the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and the Carbon Disclosure Project.

As businesses and organizations become more conscious of environmental risks, carbon emissions management is gaining a more crucial role in performance management. Carbon management allows companies to improve performance across the entire organization, from lower costs and energy consumption to lower compliance and financial risk.  For those companies that have analyzed and reduced emissions across their organization, the move to carbon neutrality is the next step in sustainability.  With consultancies like CRGss and programs like the Carbonfree® Business Partnership, businesses have the guidance and the affordable access to achieve these goals.     

Published in carbonfree blog

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.

Published in carbonfree blog

Carbonfund.org and National Geographic Society (NGS) have been partners in the fight against global climate change since 2009. Our relationship with NGS is managed by Mr. Hans Wegner, Chief Sustainability Officer at the Society whose leadership in the sustainability realm has been an inspiration to everyone at our Foundation.

In 2011, Han’s leadership with the NGS “Green Team” led to his team receiving our For People and Planet award in the “Media” category for their efforts to reduce carbon dioxide (C02) emissions.

These efforts included reducing emissions from their operations by 80% with an additional goal of reducing emissions from their magazine paper and printing materials supply chain by 10% by 2015. The team has succeeded at numerous other efforts from obtaining Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design for Existing Buildings (LEED-EB) Gold Status for their headquarters building to compost and recycling programs in their cafeteria.

Since the origin of our relationship, with NGS, the Society has been a key supporter of several of our projects including the Purus REDD+ (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) Project in Acre, Brazil, and the Native Species Reforestation Project in Panama to offset the Society’s respective travel and office emissions.

We had the opportunity to speak with Hans on his impressive 41 years at the National Geographic Society and his broader work in the sustainability realm.


1.      Please describe your current role as Chief Sustainability Officer at NGS and what lead you to that position?

 I came to the Society in 1973, with a background in commercial printing. I came here to work in one of the photographic labs, compiling film for wall maps for 1.5 years and subsequently became responsible for the production and then the manufacturing of the Magazine. During that time I also handled all paper purchasing for the Society so I became very conversant with the issues related to paper manufacturing and the paper market. I took particular interest in learning all I could about the environmental impacts of all aspects of paper making; from seedling in the ground to recycling of old paper products. I took great pride in working with our paper suppliers to make sure they abide by or exceeded all applicable environmental regulations.

In 2006 I headed up a group of concerned NGS employees who felt we as an organization could do more to reduce the impact our operations had on climate change and to raise our collective awareness of our responsibility to conduct our business sustainably. Our groups focused on measuring the carbon emissions that we as a company were responsible for, including those emitted on our behalf by our suppliers. We knew we had to know our corporate carbon footprint, not only in the aggregate, but by product line or service sector so we could have a roadmap for the remedial actions we wanted to take. On the basis of this information, we made our buildings carbon neutral, achieved LEED-EB Gold status for our complex, and certified our campus as Energy Star rated and implemented many energy saving features.

On the basis of our success, I was designated Chief Sustainability Officer in 2009.

2.      How did you get started in sustainability work? Who or what inspired you to go into a career in sustainability?

I have always had an inclination to try to be environmentally responsible and I like to think of myself as acting on what I know to be true. This is what led me to set environmental policy for our paper suppliers when I was handling paper purchasing for the Society, implementing a requirement to use best forest management practices, to exceed the guidelines of the Clean Air and Water Acts. In the mid 1990's I became increasingly convinced of not only the fact of climate change, but the reality that it was human activity that was causing this phenomenon. Additionally human activity was consuming finite natural resources at obviously unsustainable rates. I was of course aware that the Society was publishing or producing related stories in our Magazine and TV productions on these subjects so the problem was not a lack of public awareness of the issues but rather a problem of failing to act on what we know. I felt compelled to make a difference and to act, so I began talking to people and knew there was a critical mass of my colleagues who felt strongly, wanted to help, and were willing to volunteer their time to make a difference. That led to the formation of the GoGreen Committee (Now Green Team) which has been meeting monthly since late 2006 and is leading the sustainability initiative at the Society.

3.      What personal accomplishments in the sustainability realm are you most proud of? 

I would have to say being instrumental in starting the sustainability initiative at the Society and thereby creating an awareness that we as an organization and as individuals could and needed to do more than we were. 

As to specifics: 1) Focusing our efforts on knowing our carbon footprint and focusing our efforts at reducing that that footprint by eliminating waste where we found it and thereby eliminating the cost of that waste. 2) Setting and then achieving the goal of becoming a carbon neutral facility and qualifying our Buildings for LEED-EB Gold certification. 3) Doing the most comprehensive Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) ever done on a Magazine in cooperation with our paper and printing suppliers. This was completed in 2009. 4) Convincing the Society to become a Triple Bottom Line (TBL) driven company in 2012. 5) Committing the Society to the idea of offsetting our scope III carbon (all indirect emissions except for purchased electricity, heat and steam). To date, we have reduced our scope III by over 20% since 2008.

4.      What are you currently working on in the sustainability realm?

We are working with our suppliers of printing and digital media storage to document their emissions on our behalf and to look into renewable energy for those emissions. We are working to achieve carbon neutral status for everything we do, and to send zero waste to landfill. My goal is to have sustainability become part of the culture of the Society.

5.      What is your personal biggest sustainability challenge?

Changing behavior at our company and getting more companies to start addressing climate change. Behavior changes are hard. Energy has always been cheap in the US, and the challenge is to change that perception and get people to change their behavior and use less. The other challenge is for all of us to personalize climate change and take responsibility for that change. At the end of the day each of us must make a commitment to change if we are to solve this problem. We all have the tendency to wait for someone else to start. Don't wait for someone else. You do it. Each of us can start today by: not leaving lights on, shortening the showers we take, using mass transit, recycling everything we can, etc.

6.      What is going to be the biggest challenge for sustainability in the next 20 years?

Complacency on the part of most of us. Dependence on someone else to do the job for us. Ignoring the noise from the fossil fuel industry to say everything is OK when it is clearly not. A Congress that is divided to the point of dysfunction, so no federal leadership is possible. The naysayers that persist in trying to say that this is not a problem, and it is bad for the economy to address this issue. The fear mongers who wish to use this issue to divide us rather than to say here is a challenge we can unite on and fix.

7.      For the next generation of environmental professionals, what advice would you give?

You do not have to be an expert. Read and act on what you know. Make the business case that waiting is paramount to throwing money away and that America cannot compete with clean economies around the world. Make the business case that inaction, or little action, is far, far more expensive and costly to jobs and prosperity than the most drastic actions we take today.

8.  How did Carbonfund.org help you achieve your sustainability goals?

Carbonfund.org has been able to find projects for us to help us offset our use of natural gas to heat our buildings and use in our cafeteria. It has also helped us find projects that offset our business travel. My question to any offset provider has always been: Can you get me a two 'fer or three 'fer? By which I mean I am looking for projects that not only reduce carbon buildup in the atmosphere by adding sequestration capacity, but does doing so expand the habitat for an endangered species (either flora or fauna) in an area, thereby enhancing the possibility of that species' survival? So I am always interested in finding projects that have multiple benefits with the primary one being carbon emissions reductions. So far, Carbonfund.org has done a really good job finding such projects for us.

9. Why did you choose to work with Carbonfund.org?

In keeping with the idea of sourcing locally, I liked that Carbonfund.org is in fact local to Washington DC metro area. I also like the fact of Carbonfund.org being a not-for-profit, as I believe that addressing climate change should not be a profit driven undertaking. That is not to say that we should not do business with for profit entities, it is just that if not-for-profit is an option; that is my preference so we can put more dollars into emissions reductions.

Published in carbonfree blog
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