For many of our CarbonFree® Small Business Partners, it’s important to balance their intentions to provide sustainably-produced products to customers while minimizing their operational impact on the environment. These goals often require careful choices and thoughtful decisions in order to achieve the right equilibrium and stay true to the mission and goals of the business. New CarbonFree® Business Partner Just Skin Food struggled with this balancing act until they reached the right approach.
Just Skin Food offers handmade organic and naturally synthetic-free “skin food” products that support, nourish and heal. All of the herbal oils, salves and balms are made by hand, by using various infusing methods of organic herbs with unrefined, steam-distilled and cold-pressed ingredients. Most products are vegan, and all products are cruelty free and GMO-free.
Just Skin Food was started by Gabriella Calvi-Rooney. When she first launched Just Skin Foods, she chose NOT to sell anything online – she felt that generating a larger carbon footprint through packaging and shipping small quantities of her products was counter-intuitive to the healing that she hoped her products would accomplish. As a result, her products were offered locally in the Cape May, NJ area or hand-delivered by Gabriella when she traveled to other areas.
In a very short time, customer demand was so great that Gabriella felt compelled to create a website to enable customers to order her herbal products online. Now Gabriella had to decide how to minimize the carbon footprint for shipping such small items.
The CarbonFree® Business Partnership program was established to help businesses like Just Skin Foods address their impact on the environment. The program provides a simple, affordable means through which products and services can be delivered to customers while neutralizing operational emissions and supporting carbon reduction projects around the world.
Joining the CarbonFree® Business Partnership program was an easy and affordable solution that neutralized carbon emissions from Just Skin Food's operational activities and projected product shipments. Gabriella also established a minimum online order size, reuses shipping boxes from vendors, and only ships twice weekly to reduce carbon emissions associated with post office trips and shipments. In addition, she chose to use organic freshly popped popcorn as packaging material, which can be fed to the birds.
If your business is re-evaluating its social and environmental responsibilities and needs to its reduce operational impact, consider the example of Just Skin Food and the solutions we provide through our CarbonFree® Business Partnership program.
Want to know what route your orange juice or laptop took from creation to the final product in your hand? Or what's the carbon footprint of your favorite brand of shoes? Check out http://sourcemap.com/. Sourcemap is the crowdsourced directory of product supply chains and carbon footprints.
In 2007, Leonardo Bonanni was looking for a tool that his product design students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology could use to measure carbon footprints. The most widely accepted method, Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA), is costly and uses complicated software. So Leonardo and his colleagues built a simple carbon footprint calculator that measures every phase of a product’s life: raw material extraction, manufacturing, shipping, use and end-of-life. They referred to publicly available information on the impact of industrial processes and the sources of commodity materials. Students could visualize the life-cycle on a map – a sourcemap – showing where each part comes from and the carbon footprint of shipping it around the world. Another benefit is that if designers have real-time feedback on the impact of their design choices, then they can make more sustainable products available to the rest of us.
The "wisdom of crowds" is a popular Web 2.0 buzzword, popularized by James Surowiecki's book of the same name. Crowdsourcing is an application of the “wisdom of crowds” concept, where the knowledge and talents of a group of people are leveraged to create content and solve problems.
So put your wisdom to use; go take a look at http://sourcemap.com/ and register to contribute or stay informed about Sourcemap’s work.