Friday, 20 November 2009 17:44

Is Taking Away a Travel Option Really Progress?

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Recently, the travel agency Responsible Travel stopped providing their customers with the opportunity to offset their travel and apparently hasn't replaced their offering with anything to help individuals reduce their travel footprint. Responsible Travel had offered their customers the opportunity to offset their carbon emissions since 2002. The general argument for the company so far has been that the offsets the company provided did little to change customer behavior and limit travel. But what are customers taking away from Responsible Travel? What about individuals who have to travel for their livelihoods or work in travel and the like; will they realistically travel less? While it is a fact that flying to where we need to go is carbon intensive, many flights are not impulse buys. In order to travel plans need to be made: where will I stay? Who is going to take care of my pets? How will this trip fit into my budget? In short, most people aren't jetting around the world for no reason - they alter their lives (and submit themselves to airport security or weather delays) out of necessity for business, family and much needed vacations. So why not give people the opportunity to take responsibility for their carbon emissions? Responsible Travel's position on offsets is misguided because 1) they over-estimate people's ability to modify their travel arrangements and 2) appear to take the position that it's better not to do anything than to do something. The fact is that carbon offset projects can be validated to do what they're supposed to, which is reduce carbon emissions and therefore serve as an offset to one's own emissions. By supporting real, high quality certified and verified carbon offset projects we can take responsibility for our carbon footprint, which is real and needs to be addressed if we are to solve global warming.
Today, Carbonfund.org announced the opening of the public comment period for Version 3 of the CarbonFree® Product Certification Carbon Footprint Protocol. The public comment period on this document will be open from Friday, Nov. 20 until Close of Business, Monday, Dec. 21. Carbonfund.org’s CarbonFree® Product Certification label is aimed at increasing awareness of greenhouse gas emissions associated with the products we buy, as well as providing companies the opportunity to reduce and offset their product’s carbon footprint. Currently, you can find the CarbonFree® certified label on select Motorola phones, Florida Crystals Sugar, Anvil T-shirts, and Grounds for Change coffee. For a complete listing of all the CarbonFree® certified products, click here. Carbonfund.org has worked with international bodies to develop a rigorous protocol that provides the guidelines and boundaries for determining the carbon footprint of CarbonFree® certified products. Click here to download the latest version of the protocol for comment. Please submit all comments to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by close of business, Monday, Dec. 21.
Friday, 20 November 2009 12:16

A Woman's Carbon Footprint: UN Report Shows a Trend

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The United Nation's State of the World Population 2009 has revealed that women have, on average, a smaller carbon footprint than men. The smaller carbon footprint of women is due to a variety of reasons. For example, it seems women are more likely than men to take proactive steps to reduce their carbon footprint such as by recycling and purchasing eco-friendly goods. All this adds up to a smaller carbon footprint because women are taking personal action to mitigate the harm that they do to the environment. So why do women have a smaller footprint? Do women travel less because they want to reduce their carbon footprint, or are there just fewer opportunities for females to travel? Are women more likely to purchase organic foods and goods because they are less carbon intensive, or because they are more brand sensitive? I don't think that I have any good insights on this subject. Do you? Men, want to shirk your footprint a little more? Click here for ideas on how to reduce your carbon footprint. Also consider purchasing carbon offsets for your travel.
GreenHawks Mascot Dunkin and Jason FitzgeraldYesterday I had the privilege of attending the first press conference of the Maryland GreenHawks, a professional basketball team that is about "more than basketball," said Tom Doyle, the CEO and President of the Premier Basketball League.  New Head Coach Rob Spon is hungry for a championship after coaching the PBL team Manchester Millrats last year to a 16-4 record.  Highlighting key players such as Byron Mouton, Scooter Sherrill, and Daniel Artest, the Maryland GreenHawks are sporting serious talent this season.  Above is a picture of me with their mascot Dunkin! So what makes the GreenHawks so green?  Well, the team will be delivering messages of environmental responsibility to fans and the youth they volunteer with, in addition to playing in recycled uniforms.  They even took a big step and offset with Carbonfund.org the team's travel to away games, its ten home games, and its corporate facility. Let's put that into tangible terms: the Maryland GreenHawks are offsetting the carbon dioxide emissions of over 20,000 gallons of gasoline or those avoided by recycling over 62 tons of waste instead of sending it to a landfill.  Their donation is supporting carbon reduction projects that result in the equivalent amount of carbon sequestered annually by over 40 acres of pine forest. Their first home game is January 16, 2010 at the Thomas S. Wootton Athletic Center at Wootton High School in Rockville, Maryland.  Their full schedule is here!  Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.
Thursday, 19 November 2009 14:52

How Far Will the Electric Car Go?

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The US auto market should have two electric cars to choose from in the near future - the Nissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Volt. These vehicles could start the revolution towards zero direct emission cars that are more efficient and less harmful to the environment. But questions are starting to mount over how far these cars can really take you. NISSAN MOTOR CO., LTD. LEAF ELECTRIC CARAccording to an article in the Washington Post, the Leaf has an all-electric engine that can take you 100 miles on one charge, and the Volt has a gas-electric engine that will take you 40 miles on a charge and then run off its gas engine. Even though many people drive significantly less than 100 miles per day (particularly in urban settings), the fear of having an empty battery with no where close to charge it can strike concern for some. To preemptively combat this fear, a coalition of forces is calling on the government to spend billions of dollars to help build the infrastructure to give drivers the ability to fuel their batteries on-the-go. Though most people will be able to get all the charge they need at home when the car is parked, an on-the-go infrastructure would certainly help. What do you think? Would you buy an electric vehicle even without a vast fueling station infrastructure? Image of the Nissan Leaf; also read this blog posting about the Volt when it was announced.
nika_logoCarbonfund.org congratulates our partner Nika as the first business to win San Diego’s “Most Significant Impact by a Business” Stay Classy award presented in part by NBC Sandiego.com. Nika has taken bottled water and turned it into a social, environmental, and economic mission; they invest 100% of their profits into clean water projects in Latin America, Africa, and India. They report that over 20% of the world’s population does not have clean water available. On top of that, Nika is CarbonFree® Certified. They have undergone a strict life-cycle assessment of the carbon footprint of their product, from making the plastic bottles, to shipping the water, to recycling or disposal of the water bottles. They invest in reforestation to remove that amount of carbon emissions from the atmosphere. So again, congrats Nika! It couldn’t have happened to a classier company.
Wednesday, 18 November 2009 16:35

Emissions Up 29 Percent Since 2000

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A new study published in the journal Nature Geoscience states that global CO2 emissions have risen 29% since 2000 and 41% since 1990. Moreover, in spite of the global economic downturn, emissions still rose 2% globally in 2008, the most recent year of record. The increase in emissions is attributable to many factors, but most notably the increased emissions of developing nations. The graph indicates that whereas developed nations emissions have basically plateaued over the last 19 years, developing nations emissions have risen dramatically. Emissions from countries like China and India have more than doubled since 1990. To contextualize some of the growth of developing nations emissions, a quarter of developing nations emissions can be attributed to increased international trade. Whereas most of this new study reinforces suspicions that we all already had (namely, we haven't done a darn thing to reduce emissions, so naturally they would rise), it also sheds light on a newly observed trend of the global carbon cycle. Terrestrial and oceanic carbon sinks are disappearing. 45 percent of the global carbon stocks are currently in our atmosphere - up from about 40 percent 50 years ago. This is probably the result of two factors:
  • We are emitting more carbon, outpacing the land and ocean's natural ability to absorb CO2
  • We are destroying natural carbon sinks like trees, meaning that there are fewer places for atmospheric CO2 to go
This increased carbon load our atmosphere now bears is highly disturbing and indicative of the fact that we need to not only reduce emissions but preserve natural carbon sinks in order to avoid the most extreme effects of global warming. Take control of your climate. Offset your emissions today.
Tuesday, 17 November 2009 17:42

Anvil Knitwear: The Track to Sustainability

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Now you can track the life of your t-shirt from the farm to the factory to your back, and everywhere in between! trackmyteeAnvil Knitwear, Inc. announced the launch of TrackMyT.com, a groundbreaking, interactive website that chronicles and brings to life the complete journey and environmental impact of a t-shirt, from cottonseed to consumer. The site, which specifically tracks t-shirts for youth ages two to 12, allows users to explore cotton farms, a gin and spinners, as well as Anvil's textile mill, cut and sew plants, and distribution facility -- all by inputting a unique tracking number printed on their very own shirt. Anvil Knitwear started the tracking process when they determined the carbon footprint of their AnvilRecyled™ tees while pursuing Carbonfund.org’s CarbonFree® Product Certification. To meet rigorous standards of the CarbonFree® Product Certification Program, Anvil assessed the carbon footprint of the recycled tee throughout its lifecycle, from raw materials sourcing, manufacturing and transportation to screen printing, consumer use and disposal. Anvil made the tee carbon neutral by reducing emissions during the production process and by supporting reforestation projects. In keeping with Anvil's commitment to being an environmentally and socially responsible company, the TrackMyT.com site explores the differences between organic and conventional cotton farming, and calculates the carbon footprint of each step in the manufacturing process. Because many consumers are unaware that an average of 60 percent of a shirt's carbon contribution comes from a lifetime of washing and wearing (as opposed to its manufacturing), the site identifies ways the user can minimize his or her carbon footprint as a t-shirt owner. Anvil Knitwear, Inc., a socially and environmentally responsible manufacturer of sportswear and accessories, is a leader in the sustainable apparel industry with its AnvilOrganic®, AnvilRecycled™ and AnvilSustainable™ brands. Anvil was ranked as the world's sixth largest organic program for 2008 and the largest domestic purchaser of US grown certified organic cotton and transitional cotton (cotton in conversion to organic farming methods). Anvil offers 16 affordable eco styles made from a variety of fibers such as certified organic cotton, transitional cotton, recycled cotton, and recycled PET bottles and blends, as well approximately 70 traditional styles. Anvil's website www.TrackMyT.com offers educational information on the making of its youth tees. For more information about Anvil, please visit www.anvilknitwear.com or www.anvilcsr.com. You can also learn more about the CarbonFree® Product Certification Program and CarbonFree® Certified, the first carbon neutral product label in the US at www.carbonfund.org/products.