How does a progressive building design firm demonstrate its commitment to sustainable architecture beyond its client projects?  One way is to incorporate a commitment to environmentally responsible operations into the company’s core mission, as The Tower Companies has achieved. 

The Tower Companies strives to develop eco-progressive real estate and sustainable building projects that surpass traditional approaches to the built environment, teach people how to engage with their surroundings, promote the balance of body and mind, optimize human achievement, and respect our planet. 

As a US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ENERGY STAR® Partner and Green Power Partner, The Tower Companies consistently works to reduce its impact on the global environment by completing a corporate-wide inventory of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  The company sets long-term reduction goals and annually reports progress to the EPA, The Climate Registry and to stakeholders through the Tower Companies Sustainability Report.

 In 2008, The Tower Companies met their stated goal to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, officially becoming “carbon neutral.”  The Tower Companies has continued to maintain this status, working with The Climate Registry, to improve the energy efficiency of its buildings by further reducing greenhouse gas emissions, as well as electricity and water usage.  In 2013, Carbonfund.org assisted The Tower Companies in neutralizing its annual Scope 1 and 3 emissions that could not be reduced any further.  The Tower Companies chose to support a renewable energy landfill gas project that measurably reduces its operational emissions by capturing methane gas produced by the landfill and using it to produce electricity.  For its ongoing commitment to sustainability, The Tower Companies have been recognized with National Leadership Awards by both the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy. 

Green building starts with efficient use of resources. It moves to how the site selection, construction and ultimate operation affect the environment - today and for generations to come.  The Tower Companies’ own commitment to measuring, reducing and neutralizing is operational emissions demonstrates this commitment to green building strategies, and Carbonfund.org is proud to assist in these efforts.  

Carbonfund.org supports carbon offset projects that clearly benefit the environment and fight climate change. A recent study highlights how projects such as ours offer even more than combating global warming alone. They can provide additional benefits ranging from employment to health, which is important to countries' economies and limited budgets.

Often the question is posed as whether to cut emissions or use the funds to stimulate the economy. But we can have the best of both worlds with certified carbon-cutting projects; particularly projects in poor countries. And the numbers add up to billions in additional benefits.

Carbon credit certifier, the Gold Standard Foundation, in a partnership with WWF Switzerland commissioned a peer-reviewed study from Australia-based Net Balance. Economists analyzed the environmental and socioeconomic benefits from clean energy or Gold Standard-approved carbon reduction projects.

The report found, "Robustly designed and audited greenhouse gas mitigation projects... deliver far more than carbon emission reductions, meaning it is no longer necessary to choose between climate and other environment and development outcomes."

The study analyzed more than 100 initiatives including building wind farms, planting trees, installing water filtration systems and distributing clean stoves to discourage people from burning wood or charcoal. Then the report identified areas beyond greenhouse gas cuts where there was a potential benefit from projects, such as local economies, employment, health and biodiversity.

The report gives a couple examples; the first shows how three water filtration systems throughout Africa and Asia deliver health benefits such as less air pollution, which is valued at more than $300 million annually. The second example illustrates how 54 Gold Standard-certified wind farms created jobs worth $12 million a year while contributing a total $100 million per year to countries' balance of payments.

Gold Standard Program projects generate carbon credits that can be bought by individuals, businesses and organizations to offset their own carbon footprints. Learn more about Carbonfund.org's carbon reduction projects at http://www.carbonfund.org/projects.

Our newest Carbonfree® Business Partner, CRG Sustainable Solutions (CRGss) of Memphis, Tennessee, spends each day helping their client organizations create innovative and long-term sustainable business practices.  According to the CRGss website, “Sustainability is about the resources we use every day, and the future that each of us will face. The fate of our earth is up to each of us individually, so every choice we make, we should have tomorrow in mind.” 

CRGss was attracted to the Carbonfree® Business Partnership program as a simple, affordable step they could take as an organization to enhance their own operational sustainability. By neutralizing their estimated annual carbon emissions from general business operations, CRGss is leading in the same area of sustainability on which it advises and guides its clients.   

“We believe that we must begin to respect the planet, and live and conduct business in a manner that does not harm the environment,” explains Anthony Gilbreath, Director of Sustainability Solutions at CRGss, about the decision to become a Carbonfree® Business Partner. 

CRGss provides a wide range of sustainability consulting services for all types of businesses in many different industries.  These include sustainability auditing, materiality assessments, supply chain mapping, CDP / GHG reporting and management, Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) reporting, Energy Star Certifications, risk management, supply chain optimization and others. 

CRGss uses CarbonCount™, a suite of carbon management consulting services designed to help organizations with the entire range of carbon management and performance activities.  Services include carbon management scoping, greenhouse gas and emissions Inventory, and carbon emissions reporting in compliance with all major international reporting standards, including the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and the Carbon Disclosure Project.

As businesses and organizations become more conscious of environmental risks, carbon emissions management is gaining a more crucial role in performance management. Carbon management allows companies to improve performance across the entire organization, from lower costs and energy consumption to lower compliance and financial risk.  For those companies that have analyzed and reduced emissions across their organization, the move to carbon neutrality is the next step in sustainability.  With consultancies like CRGss and programs like the Carbonfree® Business Partnership, businesses have the guidance and the affordable access to achieve these goals.     

The National Climate Assessment was released this week, which summarizes climate change's impacts on the United States, now and in the future. Produced by a team of more than 300 experts and guided by a 60-member Federal Advisory Committee, the study was also extensively reviewed by the public, federal agencies and a panel of the National Academy of Sciences.

The report finds that if greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase, global warming could exceed 10 degrees by the end of the century. A quote from the study's overview says, "This National Climate Assessment concludes that the evidence of human-induced climate change continues to strengthen and that impacts are increasing across the country."

This scientific report is mandated by Congress and is the pinnacle of years of work by hundreds of the nation's leading climate experts. They reviewed the scientific literature and summarized how climate change is affecting our country. The two main conclusions are:

  1. The planet's climate is changing; it is apparent across the U.S. and the last 50 years' worth is chiefly due to human activities, particularly the burning of fossil fuels.

  2. Extreme weather is on the rise in recent decades and new, stronger evidence confirms that some of these increases are human-caused.

Our homes, food, water and the very air we breathe are being affected.

Global warming is more than something that our children and future generations will face. It is our reality now. Climate change is already affecting our country and economy. Now that the situation is hitting home, perhaps we will start to make the changes we must make to reduce our carbon footprints and fund clean energy projects.

Read the most recent National Climate Assessment's Overview here.

What’s one way to reduce your carbon footprint?  Reduce your waistline and stay fit. 

For some, this is easier said than done, but for those in Southern California, there’s a Carbonfree® Business Partner that can help.  Southern California-based fitness and nutrition center HDX Fit offers an integrative approach to optimal health through fitness, nutrition and lifestyle guidance with multiple HDX Fit locations around the Orange County and Los Angeles area.

Through their Carbonfree® Business Partnership, HDX Fit neutralizes its annual operational emissions each year by supporting Carbonfund.org’s reforestation projects around the world.  Over the past five years, HDX Fit has mitigated the negative impact of almost 380,000 pounds of greenhouse gases, equivalent to growing almost 4500 trees over a ten-year period.

"We chose to partner with Cabonfund.org because we believed that as a company, if we were to lead by example and help offset our carbon footprint, we could encourage our clients and business partners to do the same,” explains Huw Lloyd Davies, owner of HDX Fit.  “We believe that we all need to do our part to bring about sustainable change."

HDX Fit also donates 1% of its profits back to the planet through support of various environmental organizations.  They recommend environmentally friendly household cleaning products, nutrition supplements and food that are grown organically, and environmentally renewable clothing suppliers.  HDX Fit hosts seminars to help clients maintain more energy efficient and environmentally friendly homes and arrange local energy efficiency contractors for clients at a reduced rate.  Many HDX Fit events take clients “outdoors” so they can develop and deepen a keen interest in both a more active lifestyle and in protecting the resources they enjoy.

HDX Fit operates on the belief that a healthy body coupled with a nourished, focused mind can achieve anything, and part of what they strive to achieve is a meaningful contribution to protecting our environment.  Carbonfund.org is glad to continue our partnership with HDX Fit in these efforts.  

Today’s wealth management environment, like protection of our natural environment, demands transparency, accountability, responsible citizenship and the highest ethical standards.

Adhering to these principles, Carbonfree® Business Partner RLP Wealth Advisors, LLC, a New York-based independent employee-owned sustainable wealth management firm, chose to work with Carbonfund.org to continue its commitment to operate as a carbon neutral organization, part of the firm’s sustainability goals. 

The firm is committed to running a sustainable business practice that limits impact on the planet by using electronic storage and delivery of documents, effectively reducing paper consumption, helping to save trees, and further reducing emissions associated with shipping of documents.

In order to do more, and with the help of Carbonfund.org, RLP Wealth Advisors offsets annual carbon emissions from office energy use, business travel, and daily employee commuting.  The firm’s investment in carbon offsets helps to fund projects that include renewable energy, energy efficiency, reforestation and forest preservation.

“RLP Wealth Advisors is committed to environmental stewardship and we believe Carbonfund.org is an effective tool for businesses to help address climate change and promote sustainability,” states Bud Sturmak, CFP®, AIF®, Partner at RLP Wealth Advisors, LLC. 

In addition to RLP’s mission to be a sustainable company, RLP’s business is focused on providing sustainable investing solutions to non-profit organizations, corporations, foundations, and families.  RLP acts as the lead investment steward working closely with the investment committees of large organizations, combining their expertise in sustainable investing and fiduciary responsibility to assist their clients in aligning investments with their broader mission, values and goals. 

The firm extends its commitment to environmental stewardship through affiliation with 1% For the Planet and The Conservation Alliance, and their website is 100% solar powered.  As thought leaders in sustainable investing and Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) analysis, RLP Wealth Advisors co-authored the groundbreaking study, “Carbon Footprints, Performance and Risk of U.S. Equity Mutual Funds,” and were a contributing author to the recently released book, “Evolutions in Sustainable Investing.”

As a sustainable company, RLP Wealth Advisors has a unique appreciation, understanding, and natural interest in assisting their clients in aligning investments with mission, values and goals.  Carbonfund.org is pleased to help RLP Wealth Advisors do the same for its firm-wide sustainability initiatives.  You can learn more about RLP Wealth Advisors, LLC by visiting their website at http://www.rlpwealth.com.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) jointly created a National Program of standards for light-duty vehicles that lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improve fuel economy. Cars and light trucks' GHG emissions standards in the 2012 model year, the first year of the 14-year program, were 296 grams of GHG/mile. The EPA reports automakers' overall GHG performance was, on average, 286 grams of GHG/mile, which is 9.8 grams of GHG/mile below what the 2012 standards required. The EPA says, the automobile industry is "off to a good start".

GHG emission standards are projected by the EPA to cut 6 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases over the lifetimes of vehicles sold in model years 2012-2025. The agency released a Manufacturers Performance Report last week that evaluates how the automobile industry is doing in meeting GHG emissions standards. The report shows that the industry lowered tailpipe carbon dioxide emissions in 2012 and also used optional flexibilities included in the standards.

Some of the flexibilities include emissions credits transfer among manufacturers on a yearly basis and for improvements in air conditioning systems. The EPA's reasoning in allowing these flexibilities is that they will result in higher emissions reductions, lower compliance costs and more options for consumers.

Speaking of which, the report indicates consumer preference is playing an increasing role. Americans bought lower emission vehicles in the first year of the program than required by the 2012 GHG standard.

The EPA will wait to issue formal compliance determinations for the 2012 model year until 2015 because of the program’s multi-year structure. However, the agency plans to continue tracking compliance and expects to produce annual manufacturers’ performance reports for the program.

In more good news from the EPA, their most recent Fuel Economy Trends Report shows fuel economy improved by 1.2 mpg in 2012 compared to 2011, which is the second biggest improvement in the last 30 years.

Adrian Reif and Matt D’Amour share a love of yummy nut butter and of an idealism to help people eat better while caring for the environment.  Their love for fresh, healthy food led to grinding homemade nut butter batches, then expanding their fledgling Yumbutter brand into a company that could have meaningful impact.  Yumbutter crafts creative and inventive nut butter “potions” using organic, wholesome nuts, seeds, and superfoods to get more nutrition into each batch. With a mission to “Nourish the World” through what they call “Holistic Responsibility,” Yumbutter seeks to be the best organization it can be – from conception to consumption of food – and beyond. 

As part of their commitment to environmental responsibility, Yumbutter recently made the decision to join the Carbonfree® Business Partnership program and purchase carbon offsets in reforestation projects for over 250% of their annual administrative operation’s carbon footprint.  

“Carbonfund.org allows us to do more than we’re able to organizationally. We’ve desired to build a carbon negative business since the beginning and supporting reforestation projects get us closer to that goal,” explains Adrian, the Chief Goodness Warrior for Yumbutter.

Their Holistic Responsibility program is the result of asking the question: “How can a nut butter company improve people’s lives?”  They consider the company’s impact on the health and happiness of Yumbutter fans, supply chain partners, Mother Earth, employees, the business ecosystem, and people born into unfortunate circumstances.  So when customers spread Yumbutter, they’re actually supporting a shift in the way businesses are run.

Yumbutter is a Certified B Corporation, a new breed of company dedicated to positive social and environmental impact.  Certified B Corps meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency - a holistic measure of sustainability. Yumbutter also is a certified YouthTrade company for mission-driven companies run by young entrepreneurs.

Through their BuyOne:FeedOne program, Yumbutter and its customers have helped to feed over 14,000 children with malnutrition since mid-2012. Every time a customer buys one jar or pouch of Yumbutter, a small donation is made to help feed a child with malnutrition through a non-profit group in Guatemala providing holistic care to malnourished children and their mothers.  And with Carbonfund.org, Yumbutter helps nourish the environment by restoring and preserving forestry projects around the world.  

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