Thursday, 18 June 2009 17:38

Soylar for Candles Made with Sun Energy

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Soylar Candles is an online marketplace offering eco-friendly soy candles and gifts made in a solar powered home. Every candle is housed in reused and reclaimed jars that have been collected from local families and day-cares and then cleaned with non-toxic cleaners. All of their product packaging is plant-based, biodegradable and renewable. Soylar uses 100% sugar cane box containers and natural plant cellophane rolls, bags and tape. For all of the emissions that they can not reduce, Soylar Candles has joined our partner program to offset their shipping and other carbon dioxide emissions. In addition to these amazing sustainability and offset programs, Soylar Candles is a 1% For the Planet member and donates 1% of its annual profits to environmental programs. Being a family-run business, Soylar is run from the home of Irene Guoz who has installed a 3.3 kw solar system for her house. Irene also does tours through her home to teach people about the benefits of solar power and sustainability. Just this past May, her home was featured in the 2nd annual Long Beach Sustainability and Solar Conference & Tour. To learn more about Soylar Candles and to browse their amazing selection of candles, gift baskets, and reusable bags, please visit their website.
streamlineCarbonFree® Partner Streamline Logistics is offsetting its corporate carbon footprint; now they're going a step further. They have launched a new program offering their customers the option of donating a small amount to offset the emissions associated with their shipment. For a few pennies on the dollar, shipments traveling halfway across the world can have all of their CO2 offset through Carbonfund.org's third-party verified carbon offset projects. For their corporate footprint, Streamline Logistics chose to support our reforestation projects, which are the only carbon offset projects to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Streamline Logistics is an international trading company specializing in import/export support, warehousing, international trading consulting, and wholesale goods. Their main goal is to support their customers so that they worry about their business, not their shipping needs. To support this CarbonFree® Partner or learn more about their environmental initiatives, please visit Streamline Logistics.
Despite the global recession, the voluntary carbon markets grew by 87% from 2007 to 2008 according to the recently released, “Fortifying the Foundation: State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2009,” a joint report by Ecosystem Marketplace and New Carbon Finance. Carbonfund.org, in conjunction with 182 organizations from 28 countries, provided information to the annual survey. Some key findings include: * 123.4 million metric tonnes of carbon offsets were transacted in 2008; 56% of which were transacted through the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) * As of 2008, the voluntary carbon market – in terms of volume - is still less than 3% compared to the regulated/compliance market * The three largest project types transacted over-the-counter in 2008 were: Hydroelectric (32%); Landfill (16%) and Wind Energy (15%) * Asia (45%) and United States (28%) were the most popular locations of voluntary offset projects throughout 2008 * Third party verification and certification has always been a cornerstone of Carbonfund.org, and the voluntary market became more open and transparent as no less than 95% of all carbon offsets transacted in 2008 were verified by third parties * With 17 identified certification standards, the over-the-counter voluntary carbon market saw a consolidation of standards among the top four: Voluntary Carbon Standard (48%), The Gold Standard (12%), Climate Action Reserve (10%), and the American Carbon Registry (9%) * Corporate Social Responsibility and Public Relations remain the two driving forces for buyers within the over-the-counter voluntary market For more information, please contact Carbonfund.org. The full report and executive summary are available for free from Ecosystem Marketplace (http://www.ecosystemmarketplace.com/) and New Carbon Finance (http://www.newcarbonfinance.com/).

Monarch Beverages recently celebrated their year anniversary of the CarbonFree® Certification of their energy drinks. The Monarch Acute Fruit™, CoMotion™, NTrinsic™ and NTrinsic™ Sugar-free drinks received the certification in spring of 2008.

Carbonfund.org certified the four energy drinks CarbonFree after a rigorous life cycle assessment (LCA). Carbon emissions associated with the energy drinks were calculated at each step based on the ingredients used in manufacturing, the ink and materials used for packaging, and the fossil fuel burned during shipping.

monarch

The carbon footprint was reduced where possible and the remaining emissions were offset through investments in carbon offset projects such as renewable energy, energy efficiency and reforestation.

In the past year Monarch Beverages has also added three more beverages to the CarbonFree lineup, Acute Fruit strawberry, tangerine and kiwi. Carbonfund.org looks forward to many more fruitful years of partnership with Monarch Beverages. To learn more about Monarch please visit www.monarchbeverages.com.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009 11:25

Be Glamorous and Green: BAMBOO Designworks

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I love to wear jewelry but I am also aware that the mining and manufacturing of materials to make the jewelry can be very harmful to our planet. That’s why I’m always on the lookout for jewelers that use vintage or recycled materials in their work. I was thrilled to find out that one of our CarbonFree® Partners, BAMBOO Designworks, has sustainability in mind throughout their business operations. BAMBOO Designworks strives to create sustainable products featuring bamboo. Their line of BAMBOO Jewelry uses glass fired onto recycled silver to create colorful cloisonne earrings, pins, and necklaces featuring nature designs (often of endangered wildlife) that they package in bamboo gift boxes. They even have a line of BAMBOO Bookmarks featuring laser engraved bookmarks made of bamboo, info cards printed recycled paper, and bioplastic packaging. In addition to their eco-friendly jewelry, BAMBOO Designworks uses a website hosting company that uses 100% renewable energy, they work in an energy efficient building which they plan to convert to solar power in the near future and their next company vehicle will be a hybrid Aptera which is designed to get over 300 mpg! Not to mention that they have been working with us to offset their use of non-renewable energy since 2007. To see their beautiful jewelry and learn more about their green initiatives visit their website: www.bamboodesignworks.com.
Tuesday, 16 June 2009 11:24

Trash or Treasure?

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What happens when you throw away your trash? It takes a ride on a truck and then gets dumped at a landfill never to be heard of again... right? Well, that is only partially true. A significant part of your carbon footprint may be related to not only what you consume, but also what you throw away. The Modern Landfill and Methane Most landfills in the US are highly regulated and complex entities. They have amazingly strong linings to prevent leachate (the toxic goo that accumulates as all sorts of trashes mix) from reaching the ground water. They are capped every day with soil to keep the local air quality as un-stinky as possible and to minimize the birds and other animals picking at the trash. And they create massive amounts of methane -- a greenhouse gas 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide. The process by which methane is created in landfills is a direct result of the safety measures that protect our air quality and ground water. By sealing our landfills, we are essentially preventing any air from reaching our trash. If you remember your chemistry lessons, you know that when biological materials decompose in the absence of oxygen, one of the results is methane. And if you assume that about 1/3rd of our everyday trash is compostable biological stuff like coffee grinds, orange peels and pizza crusts -- that is a lot of methane and a lot of global warming pollution Separate Your Trash How can we keep our trash from heating our planet? Compost and recycle. By composting all organic materials, you are keeping the methane producing biological stuff out of landfills. This also helps to reduce the total amount of leachate in a landfill (because this stuff is generally wet and icky), reducing the potential for leachate to reach your local water supply. There are many cities in North America that have started municipal composting programs to help you do this. Toronto, Guelph, Halifax, and San Francisco all provide their residents with 'green bins' to collect organic waste. The end result is that there is less waste going to landfills, less methane, and high quality compost mulch / fertilizer that can be used for all agricultural needs -- did I forget to mention that composting organic materials creates awesome compost? That is certainly a plus. Offset The Rest Most places don't do municipal organic waste collection, so what should you do? If you can, set up your own back yard composting system. It is relatively cheap, easy and can certainly provide you with a reliable source of compost for your garden. You can also support projects that capture and harness the power of landfill methane. Carbonfund.org supports some projects that capture and utilize the methane created at landfills.
Lieber’s Luggage is a family owned, online luggage retailer who is committed to their community and the environment. A CarbonFree® Partner since 2008, Lieber’s Luggage is offsetting its office carbon emissions through donations to fund carbon offset projects such as reforestation, energy efficiency and renewable energy. Lieber’s Luggage works hard to find environmentally sound products to offer their customers in addition to using renewable energy sources for the heating and cooling of their office building. They offer “Everything but the Trip’ including a large selection of luggage, travel accessories, business cases, leather goods, travel clothes, gifts and more. To learn more visit: http://www.liebers.com/
With offices in five New England states, CLF-Conservation Law Foundation is the oldest regional environmental advocacy organization in the nation. Earlier this spring, they launched the 2009 Great Green Giveaway, recognizing individuals and families for their environmentally responsible actions. We're happy to be a partner for their contest, and want you to vote now for your favorite finalist. cllogoJust go to www.clf.org/contest and vote by midnight, June 19. Check out the great energy saving actions on that page.

This week, the Center for Energy & Environmental Security (CERES), and the Environmental Defense Fund released a new report entitled “Reclaiming Transparency in a Changing Climate: Trends in Climate Risk Disclosure in the S&P 500 since 1995” (PDF). This report takes an in-depth look at how leading companies are addressing the issue of climate change in the annual reports that they prepare for investors.

In spite of the fact that climate change is an issue that will impact the bottom line of almost every major industry, 76.3% of the 2008 annual reports by companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) list did not mention climate change even one time in their reports. Only 5.5% of these reports identified a risk posed by climate change and fully articulated a strategy for addressing these risks.

While these numbers are disappointing as a whole, there is reason for encouragement in this report as the number of companies addressing climate change in their annual report is increasing. From 2007 to 2008, the number of companies that did address climate change increased from 13.3% to 23.7% and the number has increased every year since 1999. Much as we have seen an increase in the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility/CSR reporting in the past several years, we are starting to see more companies address the financial impact of climate change on their business. Here is to hoping that the number of companies reporting on this issue continues to grow in 2009.
Federal legislation to cap US carbon emissions is imminent (or at least we hope so). Virtually all of the largest states have enacted either comprehensive caps on carbon emissions or at least set enforceable goals to get more energy from clean sources like wind and solar. Soon, new cars are going to have to get more miles on a gallon of gas, dramatically reducing emissions from the transportation sector of our economy. And new energy efficient technologies are coming out every day, helping us do more with less. So is it safe to say that US carbon emissions have peaked? US carbon emissions are down and they will drop further if we fight global warming, create green jobs. In 2008, US carbon emissions dropped by 2.8 percent, the steepest decline since 1982 according to the Washington Post. Now there is no doubt that this drop is strong correlated to the economic down turn (historically, carbon emissions have always risen with economic increased output and fallen during recessions), but other factors are in play here. But what is more telling is that the ties that bind the economy to carbon seem to be getting weaker - "the amount of carbon dioxide produced for every dollar of economic output also declined by 3.8 percent." What does that 3.8 percent mean? It means is that we are even less reliant on carbon dioxide to fuel our economic recovery than we thought and that we are able to generate capital with less and less carbon. With the recession continuing in 2009, it seems likely that we will see overall US emissions drop even more, even if we were doing nothing to consciously de-carbonize our economy... But we are actively fighting global warming, and the steps that we take today will ensure that our tomorrow will be cleaner and greener, throughout the bears and the bull. Fighting global warming and breaking the ties that bind our economic output to carbon and protect us for surging commodity prices for oil and coal. Though the recession is costing us jobs and so much more, it has given us the opportunity to build a recovery plan that respects people and the planet. By continuing to fight global warming through legislation, everyday action, and carbon offsets, we are actively stimulating the economy. Green jobs have surged in recent years, thanks in no small part to private initiatives. The economic downturn will cost us jobs in some sectors, but through the continued support of carbon offsets and clean energy policies, we can create jobs that match our values, while continuing the critical work of stopping global warming. Resources: The Clean Energy Economy, Pew Charitable Trusts