Here’s a inspiring concept for the new year – a consumer finance company that is committed to its customers and to the environment! Euroloan Consumer Finance OYJ, based in Helsinki, Finland, provides instant consumer credit to customers throughout Europe. The company is an innovative market leader with a vision to be the most valuable service provider in the instant consumer finance business in Europe. The company’s business model provides a fully automated, web-based service that improves the loan process and offers customers the possibility to choose their own payment plan. Euroloan has been very successful in establishing and expanding its market position, with services currently available in 38 European countries. The management and personnel of Euroloan Consumer Finance Oyj are committed to protecting the environment, and they “walk the walk” in the following ways:
  • Minimize travel and maximize the efficient use of electronic communication
  • Use public transportation as much as possible
  • Reuse, save and recycle and use environmentally friendly  supplies
  • Drink tap water instead of bottled water
  • Allocate money from each product sold for environmental protection
As an extra step, Euroloan has committed to donate $1 to Carbonfund.org for every ten loans granted to support environmentally-beneficial projects, including planting trees in deforested areas of the world. “We have found this complements our endeavour for a better environment and hope other companies will follow,” a bold stride and part of the Euroloan  environmental commitment.  Indeed – we at Carbonfund.org agree with our friends at Euroloan. If we all “walk the walk,” our efforts will have a significant collective impact on improving the health of our environment.
There really is an app for that? There are actually TWO apps for that! Available on iPhone and Android, shopkick is a new mobile app that gives you rewards simply for walking into stores, scanning products and signing up friends. With shopkick you earn “kickbucks,” which are points you collect to receive gifts and bonuses at millions of stores and restaurants in America, plus iTunes gift cards, Facebook credits, movie tickets, and much more. If you're feeling like a “do-gooder,” donate your kickbucks to 30 different causes, including Carbonfund.org. For users, the concept is simple and the technology is amazing. Check into a store by scanning an item with the camera on your mobile phone and then tap on it. You’re in! In addition, users receive special promotional offers from corporate sponsors, which are delivered right to your phone as a barcode that can be scanned at the register, an easy, instant and paper-free way to save. For companies, going to this mobile app allows them to reach hundreds of thousands of users and shoppers by offering mobile deals and discounts. Shopkick also allows business to be associated with great causes, like supporting climate mitigation projects through the partnership with Carbonfund.org. Want another app? CauseWorld works with Carbonfund.org, too! CauseWorld allows users to accumulate “karmas” when visiting various stores, with no purchase required, which can then be used for donations. With one karma, Carbonfund.org will offset two pounds of carbon emissions. The average American produces 50-100 pounds of carbon per day, so this is a great way to help offset your daily footprint. The concept of mobile altruism has certainly not gone unnoticed, with corporate sponsors like American Eagle Outfitters, Best Buy, Crate & Barrel, Macy’s, Simon Malls, Sports Authority, Target, Wet Seal (and many more), joining in to offer shoppers valuable promotions all over the country. To download and learn more about these apps, go to CauseWorld, shopkick, or watch this short video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esAPuqCQ5Z8
The growing cost of commuting -- in both time and money -- is making working from home more and more attractive. At the same time, technological advances are making it easier than ever to work from a home office.  There are a lot of advantages to working at home but, before you set your home office  up, there are a number of important factors to consider. [caption id="attachment_7423" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Another advantage to working at home: the casual dress code! (image courtesy of chiefhomeofficer.com)"][/caption] The first thing you'll need to think about is finding a space in your home to put your office that is 1) private , so that family members are not constantly interrupting you, and 2) accessible, if you plan to have clients or customers visit you in your office.  The den or a spare bedroom, for example, are obvious choices but what if you don't have a space like this?  Here are a few other options to consider that may not have occurred to you:
  • Basement: If you have a basement, this may be where you'll find the most available space.
  • Attic: An attic can be a large, quiet space–and also bright and cheerful, if you install skylights or roof windows.
  • Attached Garage: A garage will have easy and private access. It has quite a bit of room and can be finished off fairly easily. The big space left by the overhead door is a wonderful opportunity to design in some nice windows and/or door into your office.
  • Hallway: Hallways with niches or extra space are opportunities for small office spaces.
  • Closets: Closets are usually in short supply, so taking one over for an office space may not be a popular idea in your household. But possibly the closet contents can be moved to a basement area, attic area or someplace that is good enough for storage but not good enough for office space.
  • Sharing Space: A wall or two in the kitchen, living room, a bedroom or some other room may work for you. Possibly some office functions can be in one space and others in a second or third space (try setting up your computer in the bedroom and link to the printer in the kitchen).
The next thing you'll need to think about is your office furniture and supplies.  Most importantly, your desk.  Be sure it's big enough to accommodate your needs – one thing you'll find is that no matter how much work space you have, you could always use more!  As for office equipment, in addition to quality, why not consider other attributes like good looks and eco friendliness?  For example,  the GoECOlife shredders are not only highly reviewed in terms of quality and quietness, they are also eco friendly: [caption id="attachment_7429" align="alignright" width="100" caption="If there were only a beauty contest for shredders ..."][/caption]
  • Certified CarbonFree: To meet the rigorous standards of the CarbonFree Product Certification Program, GoECOlife™ assessed the carbon footprint of this product throughout its lifecycle and offset the carbon footprint of the product through investments in renewable energy and reforestation.
  • Energy Saving: GoECO Energy-Saving Technology prevents phantom power loss, so you use less energy and save money!
  • Meets RoHS standards that restrict the use of hazardous substances such as lead, mercury and other heavy metals.
  • Responsibly packaged.
Last but not least, they're beautiful! Learn more about the GoECOLife shredders on an upcoming episode of "World's Greatest", airing on the ION network January 21, 6:30AM ET. 9:30AM PT.
If your organization is looking for a way to show its commitment to the environment as a group, an event provides a great opportunity for you and your attendees to make a statement by offsetting the event's carbon footprint. Our CarbonFree® Events program makes it easy and affordable for you to distinguish your event and reduce its climate impact. In fact, in 2011 we already have two great examples of organizations committed to decreasing the environmental impact of their annual events. "Forward Together" The 2011 Congress of Healthcare Leadership Chicago, Illinois March 21st through March 22nd This event is hosted by ACHE (American College of Healthcare Executives), an international professional society of more than 30,000 healthcare executives who lead hospitals, healthcare systems and other healthcare organizations. This event allows healthcare professionals to connect with colleagues, find solutions to challenges, and explore the new healthcare frontier. ACHE is committed to offsetting all the base emissions of this event through a partnership with Carbonfund.org. “The Museum of Tomorrow” The American Association of Museums' 105th Annual Meeting Houston, Texas May 22nd through May 25th As the museum field’s premier professional development opportunity in 2011, the AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo™ will showcase the best thinking from both practitioners and visionaries on the major issues confronting us and the communities we serve. The American Association of Museums has been bringing museums together since 1906, helping to develop standards and best practices, gathering and sharing knowledge, and providing advocacy on issues of concern to the entire museum community. They are dedicated to ensuring that museums remain a vital part of the American landscape, connecting people with the greatest achievements of the human experience, past, present and future. The AAM Annual Meeting is also dedicated to reducing their climate impact by offering participants an easy way to offset the emissions resulting participant travel and attendance for the annual meeting. Find out how you can offset your event at: www.carbonfund.org/events
Wednesday, 19 January 2011 14:49

Revised Green Guides Clean Up Murky Marketing

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[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="387" caption="image courtesy of tomfishburne.com"][/caption] The Federal Trade Commission's "Green Guides" are nothing new. The first one came out in 1992, went through several revisions and since 1998 has sat stagnant with vague suggestions on environmental marketing. As interest in sustainability picked up over the years, so did the irrelevant claims manufacturers would make about environmental friendliness, like air conditioners labeled with a big green "CFC-Free" sticker. CFCs are banned by law -- you don't get brownie points for not making an illegal product. In October, the FTC released an updated Green Guide that addresses the issue of marketing green energy and carbon offsets for the first time as well as helps define deceptive marketing claims and adds specific language on renewable energy and carbon offset claims. The guide was open to public comment and the final version will be released this year. Carbonfund.org is excited the FTC is ready to hold other companies to the same standards it uses to certify products, which involve a rigorous life-cycle analysis of the product that ensures all environmental claims are real, specific, measurable, third-party backed, verifiable and transparent. While the Green Guides aren't binding regulations, they do set the bar in measuring compliance with the FTC Act, which allows the agency to prosecute against “deceptive acts or practices” in marketing and advertising. So what is the future of green product claims going to look like? The revised Green Guides set out some clear Do's and Don'ts for enviro-marketing, including:
  • DO avoid broad claims
  • DO clarify and qualify all claims
  • DO have competent and reliable scientific evidence
  • DO carefully choose seals and certifications
  • DO ensure claims are clear and limited to a specific benefit
  • DON’T overstate the use of renewable energy
  • DON’T double count renewable energy or carbon offset credits
  • DON’T claim that products are “carbon neutral” without knowing the carbon footprint
  • DON’T use false claims in certification marks and seals of approval
“No one takes care of them the way I do,” a refrain you’ll often hear from owners whose pets are ill, or who must travel and leave their beloved “family members” in the care of others. Well, if you live in vicinity of Patterson, New York, you’re in luck! Celebrating 29 years of quality service, the staff at Brook Farm Veterinary Center in Patterson provides a warm, comfortable, and professional atmosphere focused on the same family values that formed the cornerstone of the practice in 1982. Brook Farm Veterinary Center is a full-service small animal hospital that provides complete veterinary care, including canine and feline boarding, surgical care and hospitalization. The folks at Brook Farm Veterinary are committed to sustaining strong and vibrant communities, improving quality of life, and making a positive difference in the communities where they live and work. The practice maintains a unique set of values, including a commitment to “WOW” service, embracing and driving change, and creating a fun, creative and open-minded environment for patients and staff. Need another reason to check out Brook Farm? How about 10 reasons?  Their site outlines 10 ways they go above and beyond the competition to make a trip to the vet, well, more than just a trip to the vet. Our favorite is #3: They actually answer their phones. In addition to their exemplary customer service, Brook Farm Veterinary has partnered with Carbonfund.org to offset the carbon emissions of their business practice by supporting Carbonfund.org’s projects that contribute to environmental sustainability. If you're a pet owner in the Patterson, New York, area looking for the perfect practice for your furry friends, be sure to give the folks at Brook Farm Veterinary Center a call. There's always a live person to answer, even at 3 am on New Year's Day.
Have a special occasion coming up? Whether it's a birthday, anniversary, get well wish or new baby to celebrate, make it a truly unique and healthy  gift with OrganicBaskets.com. When you send an Organic gift basket, you are letting the recipient know that you care about them and the environment. Organic Baskets is a family owned and operated business dedicated to selling only USDA certified Organic gift baskets from the best orchards and farms in the world. As a new partner with Carbonfund.org, Organic Baskets is taking the extra step to offset their business emissions by supporting Carbonfund.org’s carbon reduction projects. Organic Baskets has a gift basket designed for everyone and for every occasion. They offer a large selection of congratulations gift baskets to help celebrate any special day, as well as a wonderful line of eco-friendly corporate gifts that make it easy to show clients how much you appreciate them. OrganicBaskets.com guarantees 100% customer satisfaction, offering a refund or a replacement gift to be sent out immediately. Act now to take advantage of their Valentine's Day special. Take 10% off the gift of your choice by entering the code "holiday" at checkout. OrganicBaskets.com -- Always Fresh... Always Organic.
Friday, 14 January 2011 16:01

2010 Tied for Warmest Year on Record

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Last year tied with 2005 as the warmest year since records began in 1880, with global combined land and water surface temperatures 1.12°F above the 20th century average. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released their data this week, which was corroborated soon after by NASA's Goddard Institute report that came to the same conclusion. The northern hemisphere broke records as the warmest year on record above the 20th century average, while the southern hemisphere experienced less extreme warming with 2010 ranking as the sixth warmest year. Furthermore, 2010 saw a dramatic shift in the El Ni�o�Southern Oscillation, which influences temperature and precipitation patterns around the world. Click here or the map below to see the interesting graphic NOAA put together on significant climate anomalies in 2010, including the worst heat wave to hit Russia in 130 years and the most devastating monsoon floods to hit Pakistan since 1929.

This marks the 34th consecutive year that global temperature has been above the 20th century average, further punctuating the urgency for international action again global warming. Unfortunately, the global community has thus far been passive in taking the necessary steps, as evidenced by the most recent UN climate summit in Cancun where bold plans where outlined and then left to flounder. UN climate representatives walked away from Cancun without creating a system to enforce the plan, track the dollars or measure the progress. Thus it will continue to fall primarily on non-governmental actors, including individuals and businesses, to fight climate change.