Thursday, 20 September 2012 13:38

Keeping Kids Happy, Healthy and Green

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Even the most sustainably-focused business produces some form of carbon emissions in its creation and delivery of products or services.  The affordability and simplicity of the Carbonfree® Business Partnership program has helped hundreds of businesses of all sizes achieve their environmental commitments and carbon neutral operational goals. 

Necessity is the mother of invention, as the saying goes.  When busy working mother and environmental activist Penny Bauder looked around for simple, creative, nature-focused activities for her young family, she found few resources.  So, she created them. 

Penny launched Green Kid Crafts in 2010 as a sustainable business focused on providing mail-order crafts kits that were simple and fun for the family, utilized common objects from nature and the household, and taught eco-awareness messages to kids and adults alike.  This year, Startup Nation named Green Kid Crafts as one of the Leading 200 Moms in Business winners.

To augment the sustainability of her business, Penny sought to neutralize all carbon emissions related to her operations, packaging and shipping of the craft kit Discovery Boxes.  Joining the Carbonfree® Business Partnership was the perfect, simple and affordable option.  Green Kid Crafts achieves carbon neutrality by supporting’s renewable energy development projects across the US.

"As the Climate Change Coordinator with the Alaska Center for the Environment, I know too well how important it is to offset carbon emissions,” says Penny.  “I believe that every person, every business has the power to make a difference, which is why Green Kid Crafts chose to become a partner." and Green Kid Crafts make a great team, bringing nature-focused crafts projects with environmental lessons to kids through a Carbonfree® business model.

ANN ARBOR, Mich., BETHESDA, Md. & BARRIE, Ontario, Canada (September 18, 2012) - Foundation and NSF International are pleased to announce the renewal of LEI Electronics’ Eco Alkalines™ batteries into the CarbonFree® Product Certification Program. In addition to completing a carbon footprint, the batteries continue to meet and exceed some of the most important international standards such as PAS 2050 (carbon label standard) and ISO 14044 (life cycle assessment standard).

LEI’s Eco Alkalines™ batteries are entering their third year under the CarbonFree® Product Certification Program offered through NSF International’s Sustainability Division. CarbonFree® certified products are available in multiple countries and LEI reports increasing sales as the product continues to gain acceptance from consumers seeking a cleaner way to meet their battery needs. For example, retailers such as Best Buy, Costco, Grainger, Walmart, Amazon, The Home Depot and many others are recognizing the value of these batteries and offering them to their eco-conscious customers. Commercial customers also report using LEI’s Eco Alkalines™ batteries to assist in meeting their green goals.

LEI Electronics Eco Alkalines™ batteries may also contribute to earning LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) credits. LEED was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to provide building owners and operators a concise framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operation and maintenance solutions. LEED is based on a credit system and points are allocated based on the potential environmental impacts and human benefits of each credit. Under the current LEED credit system, Eco Alkalines™ batteries may contribute to earning one prerequisite and one point under the LEED category of Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance (EBOM) rating system.

Lionel Lalonde, Partner and Vice President of Sales at Eco Alkalines™, credits their steadily increasing sales to the growing consumer demand for sustainable products and the competitive market edge and product confidence associated with the CarbonFree® Product Certification Program. "Certification sets us apart from our competitors," says Lalonde. "We are currently the world's only disposable alkaline battery with this certification. We have found that certification has helped to increase our market share and create customer and brand loyalty among consumers who are seeking to purchase and use eco-friendly products."

CarbonFree® certification also lends credibility to Eco Alkalines™, a relatively newer brand, in a marketplace of well-known battery products. "Although many products claim to be ‘green’ or ‘eco-friendly,’ these terms are often used loosely or without a clear description of what that means. We wanted third-party verification from two trusted and recognizable organizations – and NSF International - so that consumers would understand and have faith in our green claims," added Lalonde.

Eric Carlson, President of Foundation, agrees, “Eco Alkalines™ batteries are an important solution to climate change, providing consumers a simple and affordable way to meet their daily needs while limiting their impact on our environment and supporting innovative carbon-reducing projects globally. Eco Alkalines™ is continuing its commitment to environmental protection and proof positive that what is good for the planet is also good business.”

“By maintaining its CarbonFree® certification through NSF International, LEI’s Eco Alkalines™ batteries continue to lead the disposable battery industry to a more sustainable future and provide businesses and consumers with a certified carbon neutral battery that will help them achieve their green building and sustainability goals,” said Tom Bruursema, General Manager of NSF Sustainability.

Manufactured with 0 percent mercury, lead, and cadmium, Eco Alkalines™ batteries set the standard for responsible disposable alkaline batteries. Eco Alkalines™ brand batteries have ZERO of these heavy metals while all other batteries carry at least one or more of these toxic elements. Eco Alkalines™ batteries use recycled materials where possible and contain 98 percent plus recyclable content. While they are considered landfill safe, recycling is still advised where available. Eco Alkalines™ also have a patented leak resistant seal, ensuring they will not leak into devices.

Visit Eco Alkalines™ at the annual Greenbuild Conference November 14-15 at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, Calif. Or learn more by visiting:

To learn more about the CarbonFree® Certification contact Dennis Gillan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , 734-476-2543, or visit and NSF International’s website.

About LEI: LEI was established as Logitech Electronics Inc. in 1988. LEI quickly grew to a flourishing import, wholesale, and distribution business with offices in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Shenzhen to support the growing North American business. In addition to the domestic business LEI provided private label products for KOSS Corporation, Sanyo Canada and in excess of 500 private label products for the former RadioShack Canada. Today LEI is an ISO 9001:2008 registered company. They specialize in brand development, global sourcing, web fulfillment, and distribution with an emphasis on eco-friendly products. Foundation: is a leading nonprofit climate solutions organization, making it easy and affordable for individuals, businesses and organizations to reduce their climate impact and hasten our transition to a low-carbon economy. supports innovative renewable energy, energy efficiency and forestry projects globally that reduce carbon emissions and help people. has worked with over 2,000 corporate and nonprofit partners. More at

About NSF International: NSF International is an independent organization that writes standards, tests and certifies products for the construction, food, water and consumer goods industries to minimize adverse health effects and protect the environment ( Founded in 1944, NSF is committed to protecting human health and safety worldwide. NSF is a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Food and Water Safety and Indoor Environment.

NSF Sustainability draws upon this expertise in standards development, product assurance and certification, advisory services and quality management systems to help companies green their products, operations, systems and supply chains. Product assessments include testing and certification for sustainable products such as green chemicals and building products. Through its National Center for Sustainability Standards, NSF also develops sustainability standards for products such as carpet, flooring, and other commercial building materials.

Additional NSF services include Education and Training, safety audits for the food and water industries, nutritional/dietary supplement certification, organic certification provided by QAI (Quality Assurance International) and management systems registrations delivered through NSF International Strategic Registrations (NSF-ISR). NSF-ISR services include ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems registration, Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and Chain of Custody (COC) certifications.


The Carbonfree® Events program enables organizations and businesses to calculate, assess and neutralize the carbon emissions directly associated with the meetings, conferences, events and workshops that they host and attend. This program provides a simple and affordable option to enhance the environmental sustainability of such events, which require staff and attendee travel, lodging, meals and venue facility space and energy usage.

One of our event emissions neutralization partners, Sun Mountain International (SMTN), has worked with to make all of their environmental management workshops carbon-neutral since 2010 by supporting’s global reforestation projects. Sun Mountain International, a US- and Ecuador-based organization, was established to improve the socio-economic and environmental well-being of vulnerable households and communities. Most of SMTN’s capacity building initiatives are under contracts with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). SMTN uses the Event Online Calculator to calculate the amount of carbon emissions directly produced from the workshop efforts.

Since SMTN workshops focus on Environmental Considerations and Regulations, purchasing carbon credits to compensate for the carbon footprint of each workshop serves as an example to the training participants. This is particularly important given each workshop’s emphasis on environmental sustainability. SMTN conducted background research and contacted U.S. environmental and climate change specialists to determine how best to neutralize their workshop event emissions. Ultimately they chose because it’s the best choice to make their USAID environmental workshops carbon neutral.’s reforestation projects are well-aligned with SMTN’s organizational mission, as most of these workshops take place in developing countries with high levels of deforestation and environmental degradation. Partnering with to further carbon sequestration efforts in a manner that directly benefits communities within these countries enables SMTN to meet its overall mission and the objectives of these workshops.

Friday, 14 September 2012 16:43

Businesses Begin to Plan for Climate Change

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A survey released this week showed increasing oversight by top executives in their climate change strategies.  Ninety-two percent of respondents indicated their company's board or high-level executive had oversight over climate strategies, which is an increase of six percentage points from the 2011 survey.

The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) received responses from 338 of the S&P 500 firms indicating progress in carbon emissions reduction goals as well as disclosing these results.  CDP offers a system for cities and companies to measure and share their environmental action.

Companies such as Microsoft Corp, United Parcel Service, Hess Corp, Pepco Holdings, and Sempra Energy Utilities are not waiting to address the risks from climate change to their overall business goals.  Man-made or not, these companies won’t wait around to figure out who caused climate change.  They’re taking steps now to lessen their financial risk.

Eighty-one percent of survey respondents identified physical risk from climate change, with 37 percent considering the risks "a real and present danger" – an increase of 10 percent from two years ago.  Eighty-three percent of companies reported that climate change had been factored into corporate risk management strategies, which was only at 75 percent in 2011.

These results directly contrast with a distinct hesitation in the regulation of greenhouse gases by U.S. lawmakers.  Congress’ opinions on climate change run the gamut from ambivalence to skepticism to even outright disbelief.  Fortunately businesses that are beholden to their shareholders see the value in planning for climate change since it will certainly impact their bottom lines.

Office supplies products distributor GoECOlife™ has renewed its commitment to carbon neutral products for a third year in a row. GoECOLife™ – Live Responsibly.

Rancho Dominguez, CA and Bethesda MD., August 23, 2012- Foundation and NSF International are proud to announce that GoECOlife™ has certified over 35 products as carbon neutral though the CarbonFree® Product Certification Program. GoECOlife is, “committed to delivering the best-in-class product to you. Being environmentally responsible does not mean one must sacrifice performance, style or innovation.”

To earn the CarbonFree® Product Certification, these products underwent a rigorous product life-cycle assessment, performed by WSP Group, to determine the per unit carbon footprint. In addition to using energy-saving technology, GoECOlife™ reduced the remaining carbon footprint through support of’s third-party validated renewable energy, energy efficiency and reforestation projects. But true to their commitment, GoECOlife has not sacrificed performance, style, or innovation.

For example, the GoECOlife™ Platinum Series™ Paper Shredder (GXC120Ti) which carries the CarbonFree® label was one of four shredders “RECOMMENDED” by Consumer Reports in their 2011 paper shredder review. 19 paper shredders from various brands were tested for speed, capacity and convenience. The GoECOlife™ GXC120Ti rated well in all categories. This means that consumers can feel confident that they are purchasing a quality product that works well for the consumer and the earth.

“GoECOLife has shown that what’s good for the environment is also good business. These innovative office products are providing vital business needs while reducing carbon dioxide emissions and helping solve global climate change. We are thrilled to continue this critical business partnership and applaud GoECOLife for their leadership and commitment to the environment,” says Eric Carlson, President of Foundation.

The CarbonFree® label that and NSF International jointly offer helps companies distinguish their products and enhance their brand. This gives consumers a tangible, easy to understand choice that they can make to decrease their environmental impact in their purchase decisions. GoECOlife™ CarbonFree products wonderfully illustrates this.

GoECOlife™ products are available at office retailers around the world or by visiting:

About CarbonFree Certification Foundation and NSF Sustainability, a division of NSF International, manage the CarbonFree Product Certification Program, the first carbon neutral product label in North America, and the over 100 certified products from leading companies in multiple industries. CarbonFree certified products are sold in fifteen countries.

Further Information: or
 helps businesses of all sizes to augment their environmental commitments and sustainability initiatives by providing the Carbonfree® Business Partnership program as a simple and affordable way to calculate and offset the operational emissions they cannot eliminate.  While many environmentally-conscious components may go into their business plans, Carbonfree® Business Partners are able to achieve true operational sustainability by supporting our clean air technology and carbon reduction projects.           

One of our Carbonfree® Business Partners, Collars With Color, is a wife-and-husband team making dog and cat collars, leashes, and harnesses made from hemp and organic cotton.  Hemp is a naturally renewable resource with high durability and hypoallergenic qualities.   Despite this environmentally-sound choice for product materials, Collars With Color recognized that they were using other sources of energy in their manufacturing and shipping processes that could not be eliminated.  For that reason, they chose to partner with to offset the full carbon emissions impact of their business operations. 

“Protecting animals and protecting the earth are very interrelated – both give us so much and ask for nothing in return but respect and love,” says Kevin Rehmer, Co-owner of Collars With Color. “Just like partnering with animal rescues is more efficient than trying to rescue animals ourselves, partnering with is an easy yet effective way to ensure that we do not leave a carbon footprint.”

Have you evaluated the full environmental impact of your business operations?  Whether your business is small or large, can assist you in measuring, reducing and neutralizing your annual operational emissions in an easy and affordable way.

About a year and a half ago, became a virtual work environment, eliminating all business office space energy usage and employee commuting emissions.  This move to a virtual work environment has proved successful from an operational standpoint and from an environmental commitment to reducing emissions wherever possible. enjoys partnering with other businesses that maintain virtual work environments and endeavor to deliver their products and services in the most environmentally-responsible method.  One such Carbonfree® partner, JazzEDge made the transition to online piano lessons and instructions over four years ago, as part of their commitment to maintaining an environmentally-sensitive business practice.  By providing piano lessons online and through DVDs, JazzEDge provides students with instructional options that eliminate the carbon emissions caused by driving to and from lessons, and replaces printed sheet music with online options to view or print only those pages needed. has helped JazzEDge augment its commitment to sustainable business operations through the Carbonfree® Business Partnership program.  The annual support of’s carbon reduction and clean air projects enables JazzEDge to achieve carbon neutrality in the rest of its operations. 

“We understand the importance of protecting the environment, and how what we do today will affect our kids and our students’ lives. is a great catalyst to this effort because of all the tools they provide to assist you in your environmental commitment,” explains Willie Myette, JazzEDge President and Berklee College of Music graduate. welcomes the opportunity to partner with JazzEDge.  A business that strives to “reduce what you can” in daily operations, then neutralizes the remaining carbon emissions is a business that can get behind.      

Friday, 07 September 2012 13:30

What is an Ecological Footprint?

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We’ve already examined and defined a carbon footprint, but have you ever heard of an ecological footprint?  An ecological footprint compares human demands on nature with the Earth's ability to regenerate resources and provide services.

Ecological footprints are ever changing because of advances in technology and a three-year lag for the UN to collect and publish statistics.  However, it is a standardized measure that begins by assessing the amount of biologically productive land and sea area necessary to supply the resources a human population uses.  This is then contrasted with the planet’s ability to absorb associated waste and ecological capacity to regenerate.  Think of it like how much of the Earth (or how many planet Earths) it would take to support humanity given an average lifestyle.  In 2007, humanity's total ecological footprint was estimated at 1.5 planet Earths.  This means humans are currently using ecological services 1.5 times quicker than Earth can renew them.

William Rees was the first academic to publish about an ecological footprint in 1992.  He supervised the PhD dissertation of Mathis Wackernagel who outlined the concept and offered a calculation method.  Rees penned the term ecological footprint in a more accessible manner than the original name of “appropriated carrying capacity” after a computer technician described Rees’ new computer as having a small footprint on the desk.  Wackernagel and Rees published the book Our Ecological Footprint: Reducing Human Impact on the Earth in early 1996.

The implications are dire according to Rees who wrote in 2010, “…the average world citizen has an eco-footprint of about 2.7 global average hectares while there are only 2.1 global hectare of bioproductive land and water per capita on earth. This means that humanity has already overshot global biocapacity by 30% and now lives unsustainabily by depleting stocks of ‘natural capital’.”

We’re definitely overspending the planet’s resources.  Just take a look at man-made global warming and climate change.   We need to continue on the path to seeking a sustainable lifestyle, and do it on a global scale.  All of us working together can reduce the amount of the earth’s resources that we consume.  Start with yourself and get creative with how many ways you can save energy and recycle.  What’s great about beginning with energy efficiency is that it can save you money too.  Then there are cost effective ways to offset the rest such as by contributing to’s development of renewable energy technologies and carbon emissions reduction projects.  The important thing is to get started right away.