If you’re one of the lucky ones getting a tax refund this year, here are five ways that you can use your refund to help the environment and fight climate change. 1. Make energy efficiency improvements in your home, such as with Energy Star qualified windows and appliances. An energy efficient replacement can reduce your heating, cooling or electricity bill while reducing your home's carbon footprint. And you may qualify for a tax credit, such as for 30% of cost up to $1,500 for energy efficient improvements! 2. Buy eco-friendlier goods such as those labeled fair trade, CarbonFree® Certified, or organic. Each represent action taken to make goods more socially or environmentally responsible. 3. Reduce, offset your carbon footprint. Find out what your footprint is by calculating it and take actions to reduce what you can and offset what you can't by supporting third-party validated carbon reduction projects. 4. If you drive, be sure your vehicle is tuned up and ready to handle the stresses of summer heat or congestion. Take public transit when you can, but if you need to drive, getting a tune-up and having your tires checked and properly inflated (this alone can save 400-700 pounds of CO2 each year) save gas and help keep your vehicle out of the junk yard. 5. With the economy recovering, consider investing in environmentally responsible companies or mutual funds. For companies, see if they have clearly articulated and taken steps to reduce their impact on the environment or improve the sustainability of their operations. You can view their annual or corporate social responsibility reports, or check out a list like Carbonfund.org's partners who are fighting climate change. For mutual funds, a starting point can be the Social Investment Forum. Learn more on actions you can take to reduce your climate impact here. Good luck this Tax Day, and try using some of your refund, if you get one this year, to help the environment!
Wednesday, 14 April 2010 11:46 Written by Emily Pugliese
La Sportiva makes it easy to find stylish, high quality and sustainably produced shoes for all of your outdoor adventure needs. This spring La Sportiva will donate $1 to Carbonfund.org or other organization (the choice is yours!) when you buy a pair of La Sportiva Hiking, Mountain Running® or Approach shoes from any participating retailer. "By partnering with Carbonfund.org on Giving Greenback$, we will be able to offer our customers the chance to make a difference today, one dollar at a time," says Laura Fryer, Marketing Manager at La Sportiva N.A. Inc. "Each participating retailer’s number one priority is to provide a quality experience to our consumer base. In addition to offering great products from a great brand, Greenback$ provides our customers the chance to support quality organizations promoting environmental change directly." The goal at La Sportiva is to reduce the impact of running their business while increasing the positive impact they have on people, communities, and the environment. From switching to video conferencing and reducing air travel, using more recycled materials in their shoes, becoming a zero waste facility and changing their catalog production, they continue to work towards sustainability. And perhaps most importantly, their products are designed to be durable, long-lasting and repairable - thus, keeping them on your feet longer and out of the landfill. To learn more about Giving Greenback$, please visit www.givinggreenbacks.com. To check out La Sportiva's shoes, visit www.sportiva.com. Happy shopping!
In February, Walmart announced that they are going to cut 20 million metric tons from their global supply chain - an action that, if successful, will eliminate the equivalent of the annual emissions of 3.8 million cars. Walmart is making its stores more energy efficient and using renewable energy including on-site solar panels. So why is Walmart looking outside their four walls for deeper emissions cuts? Because that is where most of their emissions come from. For most people, the carbon impact of the their indirect emissions is more than twice their direct emissions. But if your business is selling goods at the scale that Walmart does, then this figure gets much higher. Therefore, it makes sense that Walmart would look to their supply chain to reduce their emissions; everyone should look at the goods they buy and think about the carbon footprint associated with them. Speaking at the Fortune Brainstorm Green business conference this week in Laguna Niguel, Calif., Wal-Mart Chairman Lee Scott said, "What Walmart has done is approach this from a business standpoint... If we as a company focus on waste, we can make Walmart a better company and at the same time, become a better citizen." Carbonfund.org honed in on supply chain emissions in 2007 by developing the CarbonFree® Product Certification Program. The program allows companies to calculate the emissions of their product through a rigorous life-cycle assessment and reduce, offset the per-product emissions by supporting high quality carbon reducing projects. The program has been successful to date, and we have certified nearly 100 products that are available in a total of 15 countries, including mobile phones from Motorola, Domino Sugar, Anvil apparel, Grounds for Change Coffee and others. For more information about the products program, please visit www.carbonfund.org/products.
Did you know the average adult receives about 41 pounds of unwanted, or junk, mail each year? Carbonfund.org partner 41pounds.org helps you stop delivery, saving you time, paper and space in your mailbox! The cost for five years is $41, which works out to $8.20 a year. $15 of the fee can be donated to a charity partner such as Carbonfund.org. You get to choose the charity during check-out. 41pounds.org also provides a money-back guarantee: their service will eliminate most, i.e. 80-95%, of junk mail including catalogs. The service can cover your entire household for those five years, even if you move, get married or change your name. Reducing paper waste is a great way to reduce what you can, offset what you can't. Check out 41pounds.org today, and reclaim your mailbox! Learn more about ways you can reduce your carbon footprint by visiting www.carbonfund.org/saveenergy.
Maybe I’m a bit of a romantic, but I love almost everything about weddings and wedding planning. But weddings can quickly get very expensive for both your wallet and the planet. With the wedding season rapidly approaching I’m sure there are a lot of brides out there wondering how they can make their wedding a little greener and easier to plan. Need some ideas about how to reduce your footprint and the cost for your spring wedding? Think about using flowers that are in season and grown locally. If you’re planning a spring wedding think tulips, daffodils or, my personal favorite, peonies! Also consider purchasing a used or sample dress. My own gown was a sample which meant that I could afford a designer gown on a very small budget. You can even rent your dress for the big day! Carbonfund.org Partner, The Green Bride Guide, offers tons of ideas like these to help you plan your perfect green wedding. From pictures and stories about real green weddings, to articles and advice on eco-chic decor, and a wide range of eco-friendly products, check out the online guide today.
Thursday, 08 April 2010 17:14 Written by Paul Burman
Temperatures are hot here in Washington, DC. So hot that some people are asking whether the heat wave that is currently gripping the East Coast is a sign of climate change. New York, for example, experienced 92 degree heat yesterday, breaking an 81-year record. Since the 1850s, the hottest decades on record have come within the last 20 years. The 2000's were the hottest on record, with the 1990's nipping at their heels for the heat record. The start of the new decade also produced record highs, with January registering as the warmest it has ever been in 32 years of satellite recording. And since Jan. 1 of this year- over 2,100 daily US heat records have been broken! It is disturbing trends like this that have climate scientists and average citizens concerned about climate change, and ready to take action. So while the heat wave this week may not, on its own, be the result of global warming, it is part of a trend that our climate is changing. And if the continued loss of glaciers at Glacier National Park in Montana is any indication, you should visit your favorite climate threatened locations ASAP.
Wednesday, 07 April 2010 19:07 Written by Greg Taylor
Our CarbonFree® Partner evo builds on its 3.5 year partnership with Carbonfund.org to help us plant one million trees. If you’re looking for some great skis, snowboards, or wakeboards, you can join the effort by donating $0.50 at checkout. Evo will match each of these donations for a total of $1 to plant a tree as part of Carbonfund.org's Million Tree Challenge. Evo is committed to maintaining a healthy natural environment because the sports they love depend on it! While the ski, snowboard and wakeboard industries are far from perfect, a growing number of brands that evo carries are produced with the environment in mind. Some of the industry leaders in this regard include: Patagonia, Bond Outerwear, Arbor Snowboards, Lib Tech Snowboards, Gnu Snowboards, Surface Skis, and Liberty Skis. If you want to join evo and Carbonfund.org in the Million Tree Challenge, you can plant your own tree too! Just visit our page at www.carbonfund.org/trees and plant as many trees as you’d like for $1 each.
The price of oil and gas continues to creep up all over America - causing a variety of ripple effects on American wallets and emissions. The cost of oil is up to over $86 a barrel, the highest levels since 2008, and pundits are predicting that we will reach the untenable $100 a barrel price point before too long. This is causing gas prices to shoot up nationwide. The Pacific Northwest and parts of the East Coast, for example, are seeing gas prices over $3; Michigan and Missouri are not far behind that price for a gallon. It seems like ages ago that we were dealing with $4 gas - but in reality that was only in 2008. As gas prices shot up, Americans started driving less, purchasing more fuel efficient cars, and tried to maximize the efficiency of their necessary car trips. The unfortunate reality is that we are likely going to have to deal with high fuel prices in the future, potentially the very near future, so the steps we take today to reduce our dependence on gas will have enormous effects moving forward. The good news is that we can change. In April 2008, in response to higher gas prices, Americans drove 20 billion fewer miles than they did the previous April. That is a substantial reduction in greenhouse gas emissions; for tips on how to get better gas milage or reduce your emissions, click here.