Wednesday, 16 September 2015 17:39

UUA GA Building a Better Way to Equality and Sustainability

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The Unitarian Universalist Association’s annual General Assembly meeting strives to address, confirm and take action on the social, economic and environmental issues that matter most to its engaged membership.  June’s GA meeting in Portland, Oregon certainly accomplished this – on the second day of GA, the US Supreme Court’s decision legalizing same-sex marriage was announced, and the GA schedule for the day turned to celebration of this ground-breaking event. 

The Portland GA also affirmed the membership’s support of the “Black Lives Matter” movement, following the massacre at the bible study group at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.  General Assembly members passed an Action of Immediate Witness (AIW) on the final afternoon of GA, urging congregants to “join the fight for racial justice against the harsh racist practices to which many black people are exposed.” 

This year’s GA also reached a milestone in the event’s environmental commitments by achieving 100% carbon offsetting of the carbon emissions produced by the five-day event.  Each year since 2006, GA attendees have been given the option to make a donation to offset their per-person portion of the event’s overall carbon emissions associated with attendee travel, venue and hotel room energy consumption, local transportation, meals, waste management and shipping.  

In recent years, GA attendee donations offset about half of the event’s total overall carbon emissions, but this year, UUA decided to make a commitment to offset the entire event’s carbon emissions.  Working with long-time partners sustainable events planner MeetGreen and Carbonfund.org Foundation, UUA’s team calculated the GA event’s total greenhouse gases then budgeted the donation required to offset the entire 2925.4 metric tonnes – about 6.5 million pounds – of carbon emissions.  Carbonfund.org used UUA’s carbon offset donation to purchase and permanently retire the total corresponding carbon credits in the US-based Truck Stop Electrification project in order to fully offset UUA GA event emissions.  This innovative project provides long-haul truckers with an electricity-powered device to run their cab’s heating, cooling and electronics, thus allowing the driver to turn off the engine and avoid idling on diesel fuel during rest and sleep hours, saving millions of pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, improving resting conditions for drivers and air quality while lowering noise levels at truck stops with these installations. 

The UUA continues to lead in bulding a better way for its members and their communities, and achieving this important goal of 100% carbon offsets for its General Assembly event marks another milestone in the UUA’s commitments to sustainability.  Carbonfund.org is honored to partner with UUA and MeetGreen in this important initiative.

Tuesday, 08 September 2015 11:09

Opinions About Sustainability Count at Counting Opinions

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Toronto-based Counting Opinions takes seriously its responsibilities to its customers and to its own operational sustainability.  Since 2011, the company has participated in the Carbonfree® Business Partnership program, neutralizing over 470,000 pounds of greenhouse gases by supporting clean air technology and carbon emissions reduction projects around the world.  These emissions reductions have the same environmental impact as avoiding the use of over 24,000 gallons of gasoline.    

“We live in an ever-increasingly complex, global macrocosm. Evidence clearly indicates that humanity is negatively impacting global climate,” states Frank Biss, VP Sales and Operations at Counting Opinions.  “As such, each and every one of us has a responsibility to minimize our negative impacts and find ways to more effectively co-exist with nature. The consequences of not doing so are catastrophic. Carbonfund.org in our view exemplifies these most urgent efforts.”

Counting Opinions provides organizations in the libraries community with innovative, comprehensive, cost-effective ways to capture, manage and measure performance data, including open-ended customer feedback, qualitative and quantitative data, trends, benchmarks, outcomes and peer comparisons.  Its applications work across all browsers and platforms; are fully hosted in a secure professionally managed IT facility; and require minimal or no customer IT involvement.

Counting Opinions is a true "virtual" company - all staff members work from their respective homes, thus eliminating the carbon dioxide produced and time consumed by daily trips to and from the office.  The staff utilizes only electronic communications, minimizing the need for printed documents and conduct sales and support calls by either telephone or electronically, thereby minimizing the company’s "travel footprint."  Each year, Counting Opinions makes a donation to Carbonfund.org to neutralize remaining operational emissions that it cannot eliminate.  In our opinion, these actions count, and Counting Opinions is leading the performance data and customer feedback technology field with its continued commitment to sustainability.

 

For pet owners in the Durham, N.C. area, there’s a great new alternative to pet care.  Paws On Durham is a full-service professional pet sitting company, partnering with pet owners to emulate the care and love they give to their pets and providing a stress-free pet sitting experience.  In addition, Paws On Durham cares about its local community and the broader environment we all enjoy. 

Paws On Durham Pet Sitting is committed to reducing the company’s carbon footprint by being aware of how our actions impact the environment,” explains Anthony L. Garza, Paws On Durham Owner/Top Dog.  “We partnered with Carbonfund.org to purchase offsets to ensure we can make up for the carbon emissions we cannot reduce.  Our goal is for our staff and clients to be socially responsible and aware of our actions and how we can continue to improve our planet.” 

The company’s commitment to the environment is simple: they do what they can to reduce their carbon footprint.  Whenever possible, Paws On Durham staff walks or bikes to their clients’ home; however, the majority of the business requires driving cars.  To combat their carbon output, Paws On Durham made the decision to join the Carbonfree® Business Partnership program to purchase carbon offsets on behalf of all of their employees. 

In addition to purchasing offsets, the company uses additional efforts to control its carbon footprint including:

  • assigning pet sitters according to proximity of clients to reduce travel time;
  • using online reservation and profile systems to reduce paper waste;
  • using Energy Star low energy consumption office machinery, natural light and CDL bulbs in corporate and home offices to reduce energy consumption; and
  • developing plans for customers to become involved in reducing their footprint as well!

Whether their client is at work, on the town, or on vacation, Paws On Durham provides them peace of mind, knowing their pets are receiving excellent care.  All Paws On Durham pet sitters are hired as regular employees, receive extensive training, and are bonded and insured.  In addition, Paws on Durham is managing its carbon footprint responsibly and sustainably, in partnership with Carbonfund.org.   

Tampa, FL – The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) and the California Resource Recovery Association (CRRA) recently announced the selection of Kessler Consulting, Inc. (KCI) to develop a Zero Waste Principles and Practices course and certification program for North America. 

KCI, best known for their innovative approaches to solving complex solid waste management issues for governments, businesses, and industry has assembled a team of zero waste professionals that include Richard Gertman, Laurie Batchelder Adams, Matthew Cotton, and Cascadia Consulting.

David Biderman, SWANA Executive Director and CEO, said “Kessler Consulting is an industry thought leader that brings a wealth of professional commitment and experience with zero waste and waste diversion to this project.  We are looking forward to providing a course and certification program that sets the standard for zero waste and moves the private and public sector forward in implementing zero waste practices across North America.” 

For 27 years, KCI has served more than 200 government and numerous business and private clients with their expertise in solid waste management options and innovative, state-of-the-art collection, processing, and disposal solutions.  Mitch Kessler, President of KCI, announced “KCI is honored and excited to have been selected as the team that will forge the future training and certification for solid waste professionals across North America.” 

Since 2010, Kessler Consulting has partnered with Carbonfund.org to calculate and neutralize the estimated carbon emissions associated with its annual business operations.  This important sustainability program further demonstrates the firm’s commitment to environmental responsibility, and Carbonfund.org commends Kessler Consulting for its sustainability leadership.

It takes continuous effort to manage and reduce carbon emissions associated with running a business.  Long-term Carbonfree® Business Partner Mountain Rose Herbs takes this commitment to operational sustainability very seriously and has made great progress to “reduce what you can, offset what you can’t™” year over year.  

Mountain Rose Herbs offers high quality organic bulk herbs, gourmet spices, loose leaf teas, essential oils, herbal extracts, and natural body care ingredients, including certified organic, fair trade, ethically wild harvested, and Kosher certified botanical products, through its online store.  The company’s 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 principal facilities and installing Energy-Star rated heating and cooling systems. 

In addition, Mountain Rose Herbs upgraded all 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. The company converted all electrical usage to a local Green Power program to ensure that a significant portion of electricity comes from wind and solar sources. 

Even with all of these efforts, management at Mountain Rose Herbs recognizes that the company still produces carbon emissions. Since 2008, they’ve worked with Carbonfund.org to measure and offset these unavoidable emissions by supporting clean energy and carbon reduction projects such as a wind farm in India, a methane collection plant in New York, and Carbonfund.org’s forest conservation work in Brazil.  To date, the company has neutralized over 4 million pounds of carbon emissions, equivalent to taking 400 passenger cars off the road for a year! 

Carbonfund.org applauds Mountain Rose Herbs for its long-term and continuous commitment to sustainability and is honored to partner with the company to help achieve its goals. 

It all started with a ball of yarn.  It inspired the founders of Jones & Vandermeer to undertake a year-long adventure to find beautiful, rare, and sustainably created yarns and fabrics, then make those products available to their customers.  They carry organic fabrics and have recently launched their own line of organic and fair trade cotton alpaca yarn infused with copper. 

Jones and Vandermeer, the owners’ dogs, taught them that world is a beautiful place on which to tread lightly and try to leave it better than we found it. By sourcing products from around the globe and getting it to customers as quickly and conveniently as possible, packages must board trucks or planes in the process. 

To reduce their carbon footprint, Jones & Vandermeer joined the Carbonfree® Business Partnership program and has renewed that commitment for the past five years.  In that time, Jones & Vandermeer has neutralized 395,000 pounds of greenhouse gases, the same quantity as released by combusting over 20,000 gallons of gasoline.  

Jones & Vandermeer prints certain product tags and paper materials through a certified green printer, using 100% recycled paper and environmentally friendly soy-based inks. Products are wrapped in either 100% recycled tissue paper or reusable cotton bags, where possible. Jones & Vandermeer understands how to follow the thread of sustainability throughout its operations, and Carbonfund.org is proud to partner with them in these efforts. 

At Carbonfund.org, we love it when our business partners take our motto seriously and put it into action.  We’ve been touting “reduce what you can, offset what you can’t™” for almost a dozen years, and many of our business partners have joined us in these efforts.  It's easy to talk the talk, but they walk the walk as well. 

Five-year Carbonfree® Business Partner Original Moxie is a great example.   They create every product they offer and have a very personal stake in whether each ingredient is safe to use – for customers and for the planet.  Whenever possible, Original Moxie uses organic, unrefined ingredients, so as to maximize their uniquely beneficial properties and minimize the company’s carbon footprint.    

Original Moxie also understands that waste tends to pile up when you make something from scratch.   Whenever possible, they purchase tools and supplies that can be re-used without sacrificing hygiene and quality.  From glass droppers for essential oils to cotton towels for cleaning up, Original Moxie strives to minimize the amount of disposable items used to create products.  All paper, plastic and glass that cannot be re-used is responsibly recycled, and all product containers are easily-recyclable plastics.  All retail customers receive their orders in USPS Priority Mail boxes, which have been awarded Cradle to Cradle Certification℠ for their ecologically-intelligent design. 

For everything that can't yet be reduced, recycled, or re-used, Original Moxie offsets its remaining carbon footprint by partnering with Carbonfund.org in supporting carbon emissions reduction projects. To date, Original Moxie has neutralized 395,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, the same quantity as avoiding over 2 million pounds of waste decomposition in landfills. 

Whether your hair is curly or straight, Original Moxie’s natural hair care products will help you look your best, and you can feel good about a company that’s leading the beauty care industry in true environmental responsibility.

For the past six years, Benco Dental, the largest privately-owned dental distribution company in the United States, has augmented its commitment to “Lean and Green” operations by neutralizing carbon emissions associated with its National Sales Meeting.  Through this program, Benco Dental has mitigated the negative impact of almost 6 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions, equivalent to neutralizing emissions from driving a standard passenger car 6.4 billion miles, by supporting Carbonfund.org's clean air and carbon emissions reduction projects.      

A focus on the environment can be felt throughout Benco, starting with their CenterPoint headquarters in Pittston, PA, designed to meet and exceed USGBC guidelines and attain LEED certification.   The company’s “Go Green” program identifies its products that meet 10 criteria universally recognized as reducing a product’s environmental impact and designates the eco-friendly products with a green leaf. 

The Benco Dental “Lean and Green” team is made up of associates who volunteer their time to organize and conduct community tree plantings and cleanups throughout the year, and help to identify ways Benco can be environmentally friendly. Associates also participate in an extensive recycling program that includes paper, cardboard, glass, plastic, aluminum, batteries, CDs, DVDs and toner cartridges.

Building a brighter greener future is part of Benco Dental Company’s mission, and Carbonfund.org is proud to partner with Benco in achieving its goals.

 

 

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