The trend towards “farm-to-table” dining is everywhere, and locavores “rule” in many parts of the world.  But how can you tell if a restaurant truly “walks the walk” and is not just “talking the talk”?  An inspiring example is CarbonFree® Business Partner Founding Farmers, with locations in Washington, DC and Potomac, MD (with Tysons Corner, VA slated to open in Summer 2014).  Since September 2008, the award-winning Founding Farmers has been one of the country’s leading restaurants to offer farm-inspired “American True Food & Drink” in a modern, casual setting.

Founding Farmers is a business that is fully committed to preserving, protecting and enhancing the earth with a “Triple Green Approach” to bringing great food from Farm to Fork. The menus at Founding Farmers are based on regional and sustainable agricultural resources whenever possible, and the freezers on site are for ice cream only!

For the fifth consecutive year, Founding Farmers is proud to be an official CarbonFree® Business Partner, supporting global climate-friendly renewable energy projects and the Carbonfund.org mission of education, offsets and outreach. Founding Farmers is 100% carbon neutral by offsetting its CO2 emissions annually with Carbonfund.org. 

"As Washington DC’s greenest restaurant, and one of the greenest in the country, our business model is earth-friendly from the inside out. It was logical, affirmative and natural for the restaurant to partner with Carbonfund.org,” explains Dan Simons, PR Advisor for Founding Farmers.  “We believe in setting an example as a leader in the green/LEED restaurant category, and partnering with Carbonfund.org allows us to share in the mission and share what we’ve done with others."

Secondly, the restaurant operates with the earth in mind, by sorting and recycling all non-food products, processing used cooking oil into bio-diesel, composting all organic waste products, using an in-house super water purification system to eliminate water bottle waste, and cleaning with earth-friendly and chemically neutral products. Even the menus are printed on recycled papers with soy-based inks.

Finally, the architecture and design of the space itself meet the USGBC’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold design standards and criteria, with the use of reclaimed and recycled materials for the floors, surface finishes and fabrics; with high-efficiency lighting, HVAC and general energy use.Beyond the building itself, Founding Farmers is a Certified Green Restaurant™ as recognized by the Green Restaurant Association for eco-friendly operations.

A collective of American family farmers owns the flagship restaurant, where products are sourcedfrom family farms, ranches, and fisheries across the United States. They celebrate and share the longstanding connection between farmers — the first to lead the green movement — and their historic stewardship of natural resources.  Carbonfund.org is proud to partner with Founding Farmers in achieving sustainability leadership in the restaurant industry.

Published in carbonfree blog

A study released in 2009 by two New Zealand scientists, claiming that a medium-sized family dog had a carbon footprint twice the size of an SUV, caused quite a stir in the pet food industry.  Carbonfund.org business partner Ainsworth Pet Nutrition took note.  A fifth generation family-owned and operated company catering to all segments of the pet food industry, Ainsworth Pet Nutrition makes a wide spectrum of pet foods and snacks, from brands that offer sound nutrition and convenience to ultra-premium specialty foods. 

In late 2009, Ainsworth Pet Nutrition began an ambitious company-wide Social & Eco Responsibility program, making significant achievements across the entire company and establishing longer-term 2015 goals for its logistics, packaging, manufacturing, products and community. By 2011, their manufacturing operations achieved a recycling rate of over 90% and reduced waste from 6% to 2% in their largest facility.  The company’s overall sustainability goals for 2015 aim to reduce overall carbon emissions from manufacturing and shipping by 15%, water-usage by 25%, achieve a 99% recycle-rate, and produce less than 1% created waste.   

In 2012, Ainsworth Pet Nutrition took the additional step to analyze then neutralize the annual carbon dioxide emissions related to the manufacturing process and shipping of two of the company’s high-end brand, Back to Basics and Rachael Ray Nutrish.  Ainsworth partnered with Carbonfund.org to support a CCBS-validated reforestation and preservation project in the Darien, Panama rainforest in order to mitigate 2012 annual operational emissions for these two brands.   

Ainsworth plans to continue to extend its sustainability initiatives to examine product sourcing, reviewing the entire supply chain to select suppliers based on their environmental actions, proximity to production facilities, and socially-responsible behavior.

 “Continuous reduction of our environmental impact has become one of Ainsworth’s top strategic objectives,” states Jeff Waters, President of Ainsworth Pet Nutrition.

Carbonfund.org is proud to partner with a forward-thinking company like Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, helping them to lead the pet food manufacturing industry in maintaining an aggressive and ongoing commitment to operational sustainability. 

Published in carbonfree blog

Most Corporate Social Responsibility programs include Scope 3 employee business travel and commuting in annual operational carbon emissions calculations.  Often, a review and audit of business travel patterns and choices reveal options to reduce the resulting business travel carbon emissions, and sometimes reduce the costs of business travel. 

Since 1978, CarbonFree® Business Partner Topaz International has been a leader of audit and support services to the corporate travel industry, with the mission to deliver world-class customer service to its clients, including over half of the Fortune 1000 companies located in over 80 countries.

In 2007, Topaz International implemented several initiatives to streamline its operations and reduce its carbon emissions.  Topaz became a 100% virtual organization, eliminating all office space and employee commuting, and joined the CarbonFree® Business Partnership program in order to neutralize its remaining carbon footprint and become a zero impact company to the environment.  2013 marks the sixth consecutive year that Topaz International has maintained this commitment to a CarbonFree® environment by supporting Carbonfund.org’s energy efficiency and renewable energy technology projects, and reforestation projects around the world. 

 “This is our effort to make earth a better place to live today and in the future.  Each person and company must do their part to improve our environment for our children and working with Carbonfund.org is a great place to start,” asserts Bradley Seitz, President and CEO of Topaz International. 

A great example of following our motto, “reduce what you can, offset what you can’t™”, Topaz International leads the corporate travel audit services industry by practicing what they preach to their clients and by operating CarbonFree®.

Published in carbonfree blog

Frequent travelers know that metal hotel keys are almost a thing of the past, widely replaced by flexible plastic hotel key cards.  In some instances, these key card systems add energy efficiency benefits by auto-controlling the electricity usage in the room, switching off lights or turning off the electricity to the room altogether when the guest leaves the room. 

One of our CarbonFree® Business Partners, The Greenfield Group, has developed unique ways to stand out in the competitive hotel key card marketing business.  As a business committed to maintaining carbon neutral operations by supporting our global reforestation projects, the Greenfield Group has become a  CarbonFree® supplier to its hotel clients.  In order to operate as sustainably as possible, the Greenfield Group partnered with Carbonfund.org to analyze the carbon emissions created by their annual business operations, travel, and product shipping, then implemented a carbon emissions mitigation program by investing in reforestation and avoided deforestation projects around the world. 

The Greenfield Group provides complimentary custom-designed hotel key cards featuring local business advertisements, and they further augment their services by supporting various environmental causes as an integral part of their business model.  In addition to being a carbon neutral business, The Greenfield Group helps provide a free community bike program in the Ocean Beach community of San Diego and participates in local tree planting campaigns and trash cleanup efforts, and they developed a clever and innovative way to recycle old hotel keycards into guitar picks for students, teachers, and guitar players of all ages.   

 “At The Greenfield Group, it is our priority to align our practices with what is best for the environment,” says Rob Greenfield, founder of The Greenfield Group.  “In most businesses, including ours, it is very difficult to not have some undesirable impacts on the earth.  That is why we have partnered with Carbonfund.org to offset the negative aspects of our business that we can't control.”

Currently, The Greenfield Group donates over 5% of its total revenue to environmental projects, and their goal is to reach 10% total revenues to the environment by the end of 2012.  This type of market leadership and environmental commitment is prevalent among Carbonfund.org’s business partners, and we are pleased to partner with The Greenfield Group to help them achieve sustainable business operations. 

Published in carbonfree blog