Delegates from around the world are traveling to London for the First International Conference on Ethical Certification, which begins today. Event organizers at InSource have teamed up with Carbonfund.org to mitigate the environmental impact of this important conference entitled Certification, Consumption and Change (CC&C) for thought-provoking discussions on the future of product certifications. The CC&C conference will be a carbon-neutral event, supporting third-party validated carbon reduction projects. Carbonfund.org supports several projects around the world from forest conservation in the Amazon to the Nez Perce Reforestation Project in the United States that reduce emissions and help protect the environment and biodiversity. A few weeks ago a HuffPost article listed London as one of the most polluted cities of the world. So this is a great start, hopefully one that other events and conferences follow toward a healthier, cleaner planet.

Central Coast Outdoors, one of our CarbonFree® Small Business partners, is an adventure travel company based in San Luis Obispo County, California that provides outdoors tours on California’s Central Coast region, including Paso Robles wine country vacations. Their trips focus on kayaking, bicycling and hiking and they specialize in small group travel, although they have hosted large groups.

Central Coast Outdoors has a very complete environmental initiative that is highly impressive. They use a 2008 Toyota Prius for smaller trips that need vehicle support and estimate this will help to reduce their annual fuel consumption and carbon emissions by over 50%. Additionally, they have installed solar electric panels at their home/office. Combining the usage of solar panels with more energy efficient appliances, they anticipate being able to reduce 70-75% of their electrical use.

We are always thrilled to see a company following our organizations’ motto of “Reduce What You Can, Offset What You Can’t” and Central Coast Outdoors is an example of a company making a difference in their green efforts.

On September 27th at the Shangri-La Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia, The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), in association with leading business groups, NGOs, development agencies, and government ministries, will convene a one-day conference entitled Forests Indonesia: Alternative futures to meet demands for food, fibre, fuel and REDD+. The event will provide a platform for 800 leaders from all sectors to discuss the challenges and opportunities faced by the country in the sustainable use of its forests. The conference will feature agenda-setting keynote speakers and a series of engaging forums under two themes: Trade and investment: Implications for forests, and REDD+ in transition to a low-carbon future. Registration is free directly through www.ForestsIndonesia.org and simultaneous translation of the addresses and discussions into Indonesian and English will be provided. For the conference's program, complete list of speakers and other information, visit the website or write to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .  The Center for International Forestry Research is a nonprofit, global facility dedicated to advancing human well-being, environmental conservation and equity, and Carbonfund.org is proud to partner with CIFOR. CIFOR’s work is particularly critical for many of the forest projects that Carbonfund.org supports, and we are pleased to support their mission. Operating around the world, and primarily in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, CIFOR provides important analysis to help policy makers improve forest management techniques from the viewpoint of the people whose livelihoods depend on forests for agriculture, infrastructure, and trade. We encourage everyone to follow the important work of CIFOR, which is now easier than ever with three new Facebook pages: one in English that is focused internationally, one in Spanish focused on Latin America and another in French focused on Africa. Likewise, they have launched three new Twitter feeds in English, French and Spanish. To learn more about the important forestry issues affecting our world today, check out the thoughtful and informative articles on the CIFOR blog. And, if you can please join the September 27th Conference.
Spring has sprung and we're already starting to hear the thump-hop-thump of the Easter bunny bopping into town. For everyone who wants to celebrate Easter but skip the drug store junk, we've got just the ticket for you. A host of Carbonfund.org partners are sharing products and deals on everything from Easter fashion,  flowers and candies. Best of all, by purchasing from a CarbonFree® business partner, you know your gifts come from a company that values sustainable materials and enviro-savvy practices. So this year, share some Fair Trade chocolates, dye your eggs a pastel green and celebrate the fun and values of Easter and the Earth at the same time. For those celebrating Easter and seeking the perfect bonnets and bows, check out the adorable children’s fashions at CrabAppleKids and receive a 20% discount on Easter styles. For the unique and innovative woman, be sure to view the creative eco-luxury spring designs at annieandjade by annie le.  Take advantage of a special 15% discount just for Carbonfund.org friends and fans for the next two weeks (through May 1st).  Enter "Carbonfund" in the promotion code field to receive the discount. Also check out the whimsical styles of SoulFlower and the classic fashions at Reformation Clothing. If it’s sweet treats you seek, try to contain yourself as you peruse the selections at Drexelius Chocolates, and be sure to see “Taste Temptress” Molly’s Easter recommendations. Have a riotous time finding just the right treat from sweetriot.com. Their globally responsible mission and fair trade products make their treats an easy choice. To send flowers, always the perfect gift, we recommend partners Bloom Nation, Flower Petal and Organic Bouquet. You can select the type of flowers and bouquet design that best conveys your message to the friend or loved one. There’s still time to select and send your celebration gifts and outfits. Log on and use envirosearch.org to find your selections and generate revenue toward Carbonfund.org projects like reforestation in Haiti while you e-shop with our recommended partners.
March is National Women’s History Month.   To celebrate, Grounds for Change CarbonFree® certified coffee is offering special pricing on their unique and delicious Cafe Femenino coffees.   The Cafe Feminino project is interesting and inspiring: With the help of organic and Fair Trade premiums, much has been  accomplished in the rural communities of coffee-producing countries, from improvement in the local economies, better diets, improved sanitation and new wet-processing mills for green coffee beans. However, the marginalization of women in these rural communities continues. In the urban areas of Peru, for example, the abuse rate is estimated at 40% and in the rural communities the rate is far greater. With little money to count on, a coffee family generally prefers to invest available resources in educating the sons. The daughters stay home and devote themselves to chores around the house and watching over the farm. They usually marry between 12 and 16 years of age and until now, women have only been allowed to participate in the domestic work of the home. If they were allowed to join work groups, it was only in a passive role. In 2003, the first conference of Women Coffee Producers was held in Northern Peru. The concept of separating these women producers' coffee from the rest of the Fair Trade co-op's production was a new idea, developed by the Fair Trade co-op, their organic coffee trading partners, and the women themselves, searching for ideas that would improve their living conditions. The women's conferences focus on building self-esteem, leadership, and sharing experiences. The women's response to these organizational activities has been amazing, as has the support offered by community leaders. There are currently well over 1,000 women coffee farmers involved with the Cafe Femenino Coffee Project in Peru. The women farmers participate in all farm activities: preparing the terrain, nurseries, and the compost to fertilize the soil; preparing bio-fertilizers, as well as harvesting, de-pulping, fermenting, and drying the coffee. It is very rare for women to participate in selling coffee or in deciding how the money from coffee sales will be used - all of which they do with Cafe Femenino. Once the coffee leaves the co-op, all sales contracts for Cafe Femenino must be signed and committed to by a woman, and a woman must participate in the sales and marketing of this coffee. An extra two cents per pound above the Fair Trade price for green coffee is paid by the US importer of Cafe Femenino, and these funds provide income that goes directly to the women producers - the use of this money is for them alone to decide. Grounds for Change donates an additional 10 cents for each pound of Cafe Femenino sold directly back to this women's coffee growing project to fund annual grants requested by the members. This year, they funded a dental health grant for several rural communities in Northern Peru that aims to improve dental education and provide toothbrushes for local children. We hope you take this concept to heart, share the story and the coffee, and be a part of something that can change the lives and futures of many women. Cafe Femenino started in Peru and is now also available from a women's co-op in Chiapas, Mexico.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has released a report analyzing the costs and revenues of the Waxman-Markey global warming bill. They found that within the first decade that the bill gets enacted, the US Treasury can expect to make $24.4 billion in revenue. Darren Samuelsohn of ClimateWire reports the following income and expenditures: Income:
  • The distribution of allowances via an auction would generate $254 billion for the Treasury between 2010 and 2014, and about $858 billion over the next 10 years;
  • $25 million and $50 million per year starting in 2012 from companies who do not meet their compliance obligations on-time.
Expenditures:
  • Giving credits away for allowances will cost about $693 billion from 2010-2019;
  • Tax breaks for the poorest individuals and families to help offset higher energy prices ($161 tax credit for a single person earning less than $23,000 and about $359 for a five-person household);
  • $19.3 billion will be credited into a new Treasury account to help the Energy Department and U.S. EPA with reductions in HFCs through better appliance purchases, as well as recycling and reclamation;
  • $5.3 billion would go into a Treasury fund for national resource adaptation activities;
  • $900 million gets sent primarily to the Department of Health and Human Services to assist health professionals as they gear up for the challenges associated with climate change;
  • $4.3 billion from 2011-2019 for a new Labor Department benefits, job training and health insurance program to help workers who lose their jobs because of the climate law.
Read the full article here: http://www.nytimes.com/cwire/2009/06/08/08climatewire-house-climate-bill-would-trim-budget-deficit-83573.html “The Waxman-Markey bill will get our planet out of the red, while helping to put our budget back in black,” said Rep. Markey in a statement released yesterday. “Waxman-Markey is a win-win for America’s economy and environment.”
cwscreen1Looking for the next big "app" for your iPhone or Android phone? CauseWorld lets you donate to charities of your choice, including Carbonfund.org, for free while you shop! CauseWorld enables users to accumulate "karmas" when visiting various stores which can then be used for donations. No purchase is required. The mobile phone application is free to download and use via Apple iTunes here or via the Android Market on one's phone. With grants from Citi and Kraft, CauseWorld is able to distribute funds to the charities that users select. The updated app includes a social layer, meaning you can now sync it up with Facebook to share your experiences and donations you're making with friends. Also, Procter & Gamble (P&G) is sponsoring a way for users to earn extra karma points by scanning barcodes on individual items with one's iPhone. The app helps connect users with products they may be interested in, while earning karmas that they can then use for donations. The app has been lauded by TechCrunch, featured in the San Francisco Chronicle, and was recently highlighted at the popular South by Southwest (SXSW) conference and festival in Austin, Tex. There, TechCrunch and CauseWorld teamed up to offer attendees double karmas when one checked in with the app at any of over 50 venues around the city including the Austin Convention Center. To learn more about the app, or download the updated app now for your phone, please visit www.causeworld.com.
A stroll through the National Palace Museum of Taiwan, viewing the remarkable treasures and artifacts of Chinese dynasties across history, impresses visitors with the high value and venerated role that jade carvings and jewelry played in Chinese history. Indeed, jade is a gemstone with a long and fascinating history. Though its reputation is perhaps made most famous by the Chinese, jade has played prominent roles in many other cultures in North to South America, New Zealand, Europe and Russia - all of which revered jade as a stone of high value and status. Bringing beauty into people's lives is the goal of the Cassiar Jade Collection, and they specialize in providing the highest quality of nephrite jade since 1967 as a direct manufacturer and importer of jade jewelry and carvings. In recent years, they have extended their lines to include other very unique and selected semi-precious stone products for the marketplace. But Cassiar Jade isn't just taking stones out of the earth - they've made it an integral part of their business to give back to the earth, too. The polar bear is their keystone symbol representing all wildlife, people, and lands threatened by global warming. Cassiar Jade Collection is committed to help, and five percent of their sales revenue from bear carvings is given to various non-profit organizations that support research projects that benefit the world's polar bears, as well as educational programs that enlighten the international community about the issues surrounding the polar bear's deteriorating habitat. Cassiar Jade also partners with Carbonfund.org to offset general business emissions in their ongoing commitment to environmental sustainability. Now we know about the green business practices of Cassiar Jade, but what else do we know about the green stones? The mysteries of jade are ancient and still persist to mystify jade admirers with its unique qualities as the "Stone of Heaven". This gemstone is believed to bring its wearer good health, good luck and protection. So, while everything has a price, jade can be considered priceless because it stands for the essence of purity and the symbol of life. The Chinese consider jade to be the "Stone of Heaven" and a sacred mineral, used for making sacred implements and articles. Jade also was revered in the Mayan culture as the "Sovereign of Harmony", facilitating balance within the physical, emotional, and intellectual planes. It is believed that Montezuma, king of the Mayan empire, was relieved to hear that the Spanish Conquistadors were only interested in gold, not jade, when they arrived in the New World. Jade in New Zealand was honored by the Maori natives who consider it a talisman of protection, to provide an invisible defense against attack and illness. But jade has several forms and imitators, so it’s important to work with knowledgeable sources when purchasing jade items and jewelry. Jade is valued for its color and its lack of cracks. Polished pieces should be shiny, and hold a luster that appears to be greasy and is cold and smooth to the touch. For finished carved pieces, the quality of craftsmanship and the overall color of the piece is the most important value factor, but attention is also paid to translucency, texture, and pattern.

So if the allure of the “Stone of Heaven” has caught your eye, check out the Cassiar Jade Collection for high quality jade carvings and jewelry, and reliable service from a highly committed team of jade experts.