From the flow of water to the flow of revenue, NBS helps facilitate the intricate balancing act that keeps communities running fiscally strong. NBS consultants and engineers have provided focused financial consulting, assessment engineering, special assessment software, ongoing special assessment, tax and fee administration, and related support to over 300 public agencies. The ultimate goal of NBS is to ensure quality results for the local public agencies it serves so that they are seen as serving their constituents in an exemplary manner. 

NBS is also committed to being part of the solution to avoid overuse of resources in our economy today, striving to be good business partners with its local government clients. 

Tim Seufert, Managing Director of NBS, put it very plainly: "Being “green” is good for our planet, our people and our bottom line.  What can we do about global warming and our significant impact on the environment? We can simply lessen our business impact on the environment." 

In 2007, NBS began measuring and neutralizing the carbon emissions associated with its office energy consumption and business-related travel.  NBS’s support of Carbonfund.org helps fight the effects of climate change through innovative projects such as the Tensas River reforestation project in Louisiana that absorbs carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as well as the Truck Stop Electrification project that has enabled truckers to reduce tailpipe emissions, saving a gallon of diesel per hour. 

Over the past seven years, NBS has mitigated the effects of 875,000 pounds of carbon emissions through its support of Carbonfund.org’s carbon reduction projects.  This equates to removing the carbon dioxide produced by burning almost 45,000 gallons of gasoline.   

In addition to neutralizing carbon emissions from unavoidable business travel and office energy usage, NBS continues to reduce its operational impact on the environment by:

•  Minimizing usage of disposable materials by minimizing hard copy printouts in presentations and using dishware in the office instead of paper and plastic;

•  Recycling paper and most food and beverage containers;

•  Purchasing “good” paper and printing services, such as recycled paper and paper that meets the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) standards; and

•  Prescribing to Carbonfund.org’s motto of “reduce what you can, offset what you can’t™” by minimizing travel via technology and online conferencing tools in lieu of physical travel.  

NBS is a great example of a consultancy focused on improving the efficient, sustainable operation of communities by maintaining those principles within its own organization.  Carbonfund.org congratulates NBS on its seventh year of carbon neutral operations.

Like many of us who’ve had the opportunity to travel to other countries, Scott Leonard was profoundly affected by his trip to South America back in 1993 where he encountered the priceless beauty of clothes produced by local artisans.  The richness of the culture and the amazing knitting techniques prompted him to bring back more than a souvenir to his Northern California home.  He returned with a vision to pioneer a new business model. He would invite customers to wear ethically made clothing—fashion that demonstrates a commitment to those who created the designs, as well as to the environment that supports us all. 

Together, Scott and co-founder Matt Reynolds have helped form a scalable artisan network through the INDIGENOUS clothing line that reflects a commitment to sustainability, social entrepreneurship and responsible actions by consumers and business alike. 

By designing clothes made with organic cotton and natural fibers, Scott and Matt hadn’t just made a smart move for the planet; they were making a savvy business decision as well. After all, organic clothes will never go out of fashion. That’s because organic clothing supports people and planet, keeping toxins off our bodies and out of our environment. 

This year, INDIGENOUS expanded its environmental stewardship by joining the Carbonfree® Business Partnership program. Through Carbonfund.org’s carbon reduction and clean air projects, INDIGENOUS is able to neutralize its operational emissions while supporting innovations in energy efficiency, renewable energy and forestry preservation projects.  

Earlier this spring, INDIGENOUS was recognized for its positive overall social and environmental impact, receiving a “best for the world” scoring in the top 10% among Certified B Corporations.      

Scott Leonard and Matt Reynolds, along with their passionate tribe of “style ambassadors” and fair trade artisan partners, strive to transform the often opaque fashion industry into one respected for producing beautiful and trendy clothes through transparent, ethical and eco-friendly methods.  Carbonfund.org is proud to partner with INDIGENOUS in its effort to lead the fashion industry towards sustainable business practices.

Earlier this month, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released their proposed Clean Power Plan.  As readers of this blog are already aware, the Clean Power Plan proposes carbon emission standards for coal-fired power plants, which are the single largest source of carbon pollution in the U.S., generating approximately one-third of all domestic greenhouse gas emissions.  Some specifics are that under the Clean Power Plan, states must expand their energy sources and use solar (photovoltaic and solar thermal), wind, geothermal, sustainably sourced biomass, biogas, and low-impact hydrology in order to decrease their carbon emissions.

Did you know that renewable energy technologies are characteristically more labor-intensive than intensely mechanized fossil fuel technologies?  This means that the potential economic benefits may be substantial; not to mention the significant benefits for our climate and health.

The solar industry employed over 100,000 workers in jobs ranging from solar manufacturing and sales to installation according to the Solar Foundation in 2011.  Solar jobs grew by 20% percent in 2013 and 2014 is expected to create 22,000 jobs.  Furthermore, these statistics were reported before the EPA plan was released, which may further boost the renewable job sector.

Let’s look at wind energy.  The amount of domestically manufactured equipment used in wind turbines doubled from 35% in 2006 to 70% in 2011 with 560 factories directly employing 75,000 full-time employees.

The hydroelectric power industry also plays a role.  Statistics show in 2009 it employed 250,000 people.  As many as 700,000 jobs could be generated if the hydropower industry installs a new capacity of 23,000 – 60,000 megawatts (MW) by 2025.  Rounding out our look at the renewable energy sector, the geothermal industry directly employed 5,200 people in 2010.  

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) estimated in 2009 that a national, renewable electricity standard attempting to cut 25% of carbon emissions by 2025 would generate 297,000 jobs, $263.4 billion in new capital investment, $13.5 billion in income to farmers, ranchers, and rural landowners, and $11.5 billion in new local tax revenues.  Remember, the EPA proposed reducing carbon emissions from existing power plants by 30% below 2005 levels by 2030.  So the potential economic benefits may increase over the UCS’s estimates.

With these figures, we’re not even taking into account a complete picture of the potential economic benefits from expanded renewable energy sources.  Think about how direct job creation leads to indirect job creation.  For example, when you hire additional employees, you may very well need a larger Human Resources staff. 

All of this comes at a time when our country could deeply benefit from economic stimulation.  The U.S. economy is still anemic, with unemployment rates remaining high, and a disturbing national debt that’s expected to reach $20 trillion by 2020.  We must embrace win-win scenarios such as these that combine healing our ailing planet with economic recovery.  It’s past time to forge the path to a low-carbon future.

Landfillart is an international effort encompassing 1,041 artists to repurpose a piece of rusted metal and create fine art from reclaimed automobile hub caps from the 1930’s through the 1970’s and turn them into “metal canvases”.  Although most “metal canvases” have been transformed by the artist using oil or acrylic paint, some have been weaved on, glued or screwed or welded to, or made into fine sculpture. 

“This project embodies several key components. It is a collective endeavor requesting artists, worldwide, to think green and create great art” explains Ken Marquis, gallery owner at Marquis Art & Frame, and founder of the project.  “I’m hopeful, that upon completion, this project will weave a global tapestry which tells a compelling story of humanity; our similarities, our differences, and the common threads that binds us all.” 

Since 2008, Landfillart Inc., funded by their partner company Marquis Art & Frame, has maintained a Carbonfree® Small Business Partnership with Carbonfund.org as part of his own operational sustainability commitment.   “We are excited to partner with Carbonfund.org!  Both organizations share the goal of reuse, albeit our focus is reusing rusty old scraps of metal,” says Ken.  “Landfillart's mission is focused on funding reforestation with any future profits.  By forming this partnership, Landfillart is one step closer!” 

To date, Marquis Art & Frame’s donations to Carbonfund.org’s forestry projects have neutralized almost 450,000 pounds of carbon dioxide, the same quantity of carbon emissions sequestered by 5,000 tree seedlings grown over a ten-year period. 

The ultimate goals of the Landfillart Project are to compile a collection of 1,041 completed hubcaps from artists from all of the 50 states and as many countries as possible.  To date the collection consists of more than 1,000 works of art from 50 states and 56 countries.  The final group of artists are hard at work completing their “hubcap art”.  

Although awaiting the final projects, phase two is already underway.  The first museum showing of Landfillart will be in September 2014.  Second Time Around: The Hubcap as Art will include 287 objects from the Landfillart collection, representing every U.S. state and 35 other countries.  This exciting premier exhibit will open September 6, 2014 at The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley in Winchester Virginia, details at www.theMSV.org

After the initial museum showing, an abbreviated version of the collection (35 objects) is scheduled to travel, beginning in 2015. 

The final phase for the Landfillart collection is to publish a book highlighting all 1,041 completed works of art and their stories.  Carbonfund.org is proud to partner with Ken Marquis and the Landfillart project in its efforts to raise awareness about environmental preservation through artistic repurposing.

Global experience is now a crucial component of a comprehensive university education—a true “must-have” for students and universities alike.  For nearly 50 years, WorldStrides Capstone has partnered with the leading universities in the world to implement safe and substantive global study trips for students. Clients include more than 200 universities, including all of the top ten U.S.-based MBA programs and highly-ranked MBA programs from around the globe. They rely on WorldStrides for: 

  • Turnkey travel logistics
  • Accredited academic content
  • Expert risk management 

This year, WorldStrides teamed with the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, and Carbonfund.org to offer students participating in the Fuqua GATE programs and the Kellogg GIM programs the option to neutralize the carbon emissions from their program-related flights.  When students register for their program travel on WorldStrides’ online system, they are given the option to purchase flight-related carbon offsets.  WorldStrides forwards all funds collected for flight emission offsets to Carbonfund.org, which neutralizes the emissions through internationally certified carbon emission reduction programs. These programs include alternative green energy projects and reforestation initiatives. The third-party verification and validation of Carbonfund.org’s sponsored carbon reduction projects assures that each individual student’s payment is used directly for their flight emissions offsets.  And while Fuqua does not require students to purchase the carbon offset, they strongly encourage students to participate in their role as the next generation of business leaders and stewards of our environment and planet. 

WorldStrides has coordinated programs for over 6 million student travelers in over 90 countries.  WorldStrides Capstone programs promise life-changing experiences as a global citizen and access to corridors of power around the globe.  Now, students can enhance their role as global citizens by improving the sustainability of their travel and study program by neutralizing flight emissions with WorldStrides and Carbonfund.org. 

Saturday, 14 June 2014 08:06

Global Warming May Impact the American Sweet Tooth

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Americans eat a lot of sugar.  According to a 2012 infographic from www.OnlineNursingPrograms.com, we consume about 130 pounds of sugar each year.  And when I say sugar, I don’t just mean sugar from sugar cane.  I am referring to corn syrup, which is used to sweeten our favorite soft drinks, of which the average American drinks 53 gallons per year.  That sounds bad, and it is, but brain scans show that sugar is addictive as cocaine.  Well, our national addiction is in major trouble from climate change.

Corn is the biggest agricultural crop in the U.S.  It’s a $65-billion-a-year industry and global warming is putting it at a significant risk.  A report released this week by Ceres, a coalition of investor and environmental groups, says that corn is at risk because its water demands are growing at a time when the threat of drought is increasing.  Ceres said corn production particularly is in danger due to its tapping stressed aquifers as a water source.  A couple that are especially relied upon are the High Plains aquifer, which covers eight Great Plains states, and the Central Valley aquifer in California.

Report author Brooke Barton, Water Program Director at Ceres, says, “Escalating corn production for our food, livestock and energy industries has put the corn sector on an unsustainable path.”  The Midwest drought of 2012 pushed corn prices to record-level highs of $8 per bushel and according to the report are "a taste of what is predicted to become the new normal in many parts of the Corn Belt thanks to climate change.”

Rising corn prices also impact more than just the food industry.  The transportation industry may also take a hit as corn production is affected by climate change.  The crop is used to make ethanol, which is a fuel additive, and accounts for roughly 10% of the country’s fuel.

However, the largest use of corn in the U.S. is still for human consumption one way or another.  Even if we’re not directly drinking it in soft drinks, it is still used a livestock feed.  Soda manufacturers, such as leading beverage company Coca-Cola Co., could make a significant difference in sustainable corn production.  Ceres says they could seek out suppliers of their agricultural ingredients who use less water and fertilizers. 

Although, the good news to our waistlines is that U.S. consumption of carbonated soft drinks has been declining for a decade.  Maybe we are starting to wean ourselves off of our sugar addiction after all.  Either way, it is part of a group of addictions that our country needs to overcome.  Using less is the best way to control carbon emissions.

Ever come down with Lyme disease?  Do you suffer from asthma?  Think climate change might have something to do with it?  Before you write off this thought as crazy consider the numbers.

The World Health Organization estimates that a minimum of 140,000 people currently die each year around the globe from the effects of climate change.  That number does not include the millions more who are made ill from diseases such as asthma, heatstroke or malaria nor does it account for those that are otherwise physically harmed, for example from extreme weather events.

As if these numbers aren’t bad enough, Americans are largely unaware of the impact climate change is already having on their health.  The Yale Project on Climate Change Communication conducted a nationwide survey this spring asking respondents to give, “their best estimates of the impacts of global warming on human health worldwide – currently and 50 years from now. The largest proportion of respondents (38% to 42%) simply said, ‘I don’t know.’ The next largest proportion (27% to 39%) said either ‘no one’ or ‘hundreds’ of people worldwide will die, be made ill or injured by global warming each year, either now or 50 years from now.”

“Only 18% to 32% of Americans said, correctly, that each year either ‘thousands’ or ‘millions’ of people worldwide will die, be made ill or injured by global warming, either now or 50 years from now.”

One look at the conclusion of the health chapter of the recently released 2014 National Climate Assessment demonstrates that hundreds of climate experts see the danger from the global warming review they conducted over the past four years, “Climate change threatens human health and well-being in many ways, including impacts from increased extreme weather events, wildfire, decreased air quality, threats to mental health, and illnesses transmitted by food, water, and disease-carriers such as mosquitoes and ticks. Some of these health impacts are already underway in the United States.”

We need to begin making the realization that global warming is here, it’s already killing some of us and there is no time to lose in cutting greenhouse gas emissions.  Americans are especially prone to think that technology will save us.  Perhaps, but perhaps not.  A new study argues that climate engineering may not be the answer to averting a climate change catastrophe.  You know what will definitely help?  Reducing what you can and offsetting the rest.  Let’s get to it posthaste.

Snuggled in a residential neighborhood in Lower Nob Hill near Union Square in San Francisco, Hotel Carlton offers its guests an eclectic atmosphere, international ambience, outstanding service and an eco-friendly attitude.  As a certified green business, Hotel Carlton strives to incorporate sustainability into all core business operations.

The hotel’s makes every effort to conserve energy, water and natural resources through measures like installing low-flow water fixtures and energy efficient light bulbs throughout the hotel and using Energy Star rated appliances and office equipment.  The hotel also has solar panels on the roof that provide 8-10% of the total electrical load for the building. 

Beginning in 2007, Hotel Carlton took the additional step to offset its remaining annual operational carbon footprint with Carbonfund.org.  Each year, Hotel Carlton calculates its annual electricity and heating fuel usage, its employee commuting and business travel emissions, then makes a donation to Carbonfund.org to neutralize those emissions by purchasing a corresponding quantity of carbon credits produced by one of our third-party verified and validated carbon offsetting projects.  To date, Hotel Carlton has neutralized over 4 million pounds of carbon emissions, equivalent to the emissions produced by driving over 4.3 million miles in a typical passenger car.

Hotel Carlton also strives to increase waste diversion by using paper products with recycled content, and by recycling all paper, bottles, and cans and composting all food and landscape waste.  The hotel purchases environmentally friendly products to minimize the use of toxic materials to protect employee and guest health as well as the environment.

Hotel Carlton was constructed on the tip of one of San Francisco’s few chunks of bedrock. The hotel was designed as one of the nation’s very first buildings specifically constructed to withstand earthquakes. This proved to be beneficial in 1989 immediately after the big 7.1 earthquake. Hotel Carlton ended up with just one broken window along with some very superficial plaster cracks. 

Hotel Carlton’s décor is inspired by travels from around the world, in particular Nepal, India and Morocco.  The lobby is reminiscent of a cozy living room with a roaring fireplace, beautiful Indian accent rugs, and comfortable sofas and armchairs. These elegant and cozy touches underscore the hotel’s commitment to superior guest experiences, and the environmental commitment ensures that the hotel remains a leader in the sustainable hospitality industry.  

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