For many of our CarbonFree® Small Business Partners, it’s important to balance their intentions to provide sustainably-produced products to customers while minimizing their operational impact on the environment. These goals often require careful choices and thoughtful decisions in order to achieve the right equilibrium and stay true to the mission and goals of the business. New CarbonFree® Business Partner Just Skin Food struggled with this balancing act until they reached the right approach.
Just Skin Food offers handmade organic and naturally synthetic-free “skin food” products that support, nourish and heal. All of the herbal oils, salves and balms are made by hand, by using various infusing methods of organic herbs with unrefined, steam-distilled and cold-pressed ingredients. Most products are vegan, and all products are cruelty free and GMO-free.
Just Skin Food was started by Gabriella Calvi-Rooney. When she first launched Just Skin Foods, she chose NOT to sell anything online – she felt that generating a larger carbon footprint through packaging and shipping small quantities of her products was counter-intuitive to the healing that she hoped her products would accomplish. As a result, her products were offered locally in the Cape May, NJ area or hand-delivered by Gabriella when she traveled to other areas.
In a very short time, customer demand was so great that Gabriella felt compelled to create a website to enable customers to order her herbal products online. Now Gabriella had to decide how to minimize the carbon footprint for shipping such small items.
The CarbonFree® Business Partnership program was established to help businesses like Just Skin Foods address their impact on the environment. The program provides a simple, affordable means through which products and services can be delivered to customers while neutralizing operational emissions and supporting carbon reduction projects around the world.
Joining the CarbonFree® Business Partnership program was an easy and affordable solution that neutralized carbon emissions from Just Skin Food's operational activities and projected product shipments. Gabriella also established a minimum online order size, reuses shipping boxes from vendors, and only ships twice weekly to reduce carbon emissions associated with post office trips and shipments. In addition, she chose to use organic freshly popped popcorn as packaging material, which can be fed to the birds.
If your business is re-evaluating its social and environmental responsibilities and needs to its reduce operational impact, consider the example of Just Skin Food and the solutions we provide through our CarbonFree® Business Partnership program.
Even the most environmentally sensitive businesses know that their annual operations contribute to the increase in carbon emissions in our atmosphere, but the businesses that are truly committed to operational sustainability are taking simple and affordable steps to reduce their carbon footprint.
For the past six years, CarbonFree® Business Partner Arbor Teas has neutralized its annual operational emissions and its product shipment emissions in partnership with Carbonfund.org. Arbor Teas retails one of the largest selections of USDA-certified organic loose leaf teas from around the globe, most of which is Fair Trade, through its on-line store. In addition, Arbor Teas is committed to making a positive impact on the environment and has taken many steps to reduce emissions by offering only organic teas, reducing and “greening” its packaging and using renewable energy sources. However, their teas come from all corners of the world, so the shipping emissions are unavoidable. To mitigate these emissions, Arbor Teas has maintained a CarbonFree® Shipping program to offset the carbon footprint of annual product shipment emissions, and to offset all internal operational emissions, by supporting Carbonfund.org’s renewable energy, energy efficiency and reforestation projects.
“It makes no sense at all to sell an organic product if the method of delivering it to our customers is environmentally harmful,” says Jeremy Lopatin. “Although we do everything we can to reduce our carbon footprint, we’re happy to partner with Carbonfund.org to offset what we can’t avoid… yet!”
Almost three years ago, Arbor Teas became the first tea company to deliver its full line of organic loose teas in 100% backyard compostable packaging. With the release of this next generation packaging, Arbor Teas advanced its environmental mission, continuing to lead the tea industry through its staunch commitment to sustainable business practices. For the first time ever, tea drinkers are now able to compost their tea leaves AND tea packaging together in their home composting system. This innovative packaging is composed of a cellulose film made from wood pulp sourced from sustainably-managed trees, and the films used for Arbor Teas’ new packaging breaks down in a backyard compost setting.
Carbonfund.org applauds Arbor Teas’ long-term commitment to maintaining its CarbonFree® Operations and Shipping programs, and to its continuing innovation in the areas of product packaging and sourcing.
The CarbonFree® Business Partnership program is intended to provide a simple, affordable way for businesses of any size to evaluate the carbon emissions associated with their annual operations, take steps to reduce these emissions, and neutralize the remaining emissions by supporting clean air and carbon reduction projects around the world. The program is also structured so that it compliments broader sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility programs, and helps to promote awareness and recognition for these efforts.
A great example of expanding environmental commitment beyond carbon emissions neutralization is CarbonFree® Partner K.L. Security Enterprises’ annual tree-planting projects through their Safe Environments Initiative. When not out planting trees, the K.L. Security team helps customers store critical business and personal electronic data, documents, vital records and collections with their custom safes, vaults, fireproof file cabinets and ioSafe rugged hard drives. For residential customers, services may also include preservation and protection of family photo albums, heirlooms and other keepsakes.
“For the last 5 years, I’ve been a steward of a diverse ecosystem in Indiana - 48 acres of native forest and prairie that deserves to be protected,” explains Johnny Klemme, CEO of K.L. Security Enterprises. “With the help of friends and family, we’re teaching others about the importance and power of our local environment, and even more importantly, that you can’t sit back and wait for other people to take initiative; you have to make that conscious decision today to make a difference.”
Check out this video to see Johnny and the K.L. Security team in action.
In the last two years alone, K.L. Security has offset 93 metric tonnes of CO2 through the CarbonFree® Business Partnership, the equivalent of carbon emissions from almost 10,500 gallons of gasoline. In 2013, K.L. Security plans to complete two additional environmental improvement projects with several other local businesses in their community.
"Our commitment to the environment runs deep, and partnering with Carbonfund.org ensures that every bit of our operational CO2 emissions is accounted for,” confirms Johnny. “Each and every one of our customers across the United States can take comfort that the carbon emissions from every safe and vault that we ship to them are offset through our support of Carbonfund.org’s reforestation, renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. We’re doing our part to affect positive change in the world in which we live, work and play and hope our customers value this commitment as much as we do."
To inaugurate the New Year, CarbonFree® Business Partner Inner Ecology™ is proud to become one of the very first Benefit Corporations in the state of Illinois. Founding Director Amanda Kreiss joined thirteen pioneering business leaders to join this newly-established corporate structure to help forge a more sustainable and inclusive economy.
Inner Ecology facilitates the responsible sourcing, assessing, and dispensing of East Asian traditional medicinals of whole plant, mineral and animal origin for the benefit of its customers’ environmental and economic health. Inner Ecology seeks to provide consistent leadership in forging a fresh approach to social entrepreneurship within the field of East Asian Medicine.
Three years ago, Inner Ecology augmented its environmental sustainability commitment by joining the CarbonFree® Business Partnership program in order to neutralize its annual operational carbon emissions and support carbon reduction and clean air projects around the world.
“We relish this singular opportunity to demonstrate publicly the level of our commitment to good stewardship and to be held accountable for the high standards we set”, asserted Amanda Kreiss, the Founding Director of Inner Ecology. “In the longer term, a central aim of our business is to do our part to "green" the profession of East Asian Medicine and support domestic cultivation of our medicinals.”
Benefit Incorporation revives the tradition of corporate charters from an era when states expected and demanded that corporations serve the public good. In Illinois, Benefit Corporations are now legally required to include this material positive impact on society and the environment in their articles of incorporation, and to publicly report annually on overall social and environmental performance in compliance with comprehensive, credible, independent, and transparent third party standards. This offers businesses more freedom in defining success and provides legal protection for those looking to pursue a corporate purpose other than simply maximizing profits.
Carbonfund.org recognizes Inner Ecology’s leadership, both in its ongoing pursuit of environmentally-responsible operations and its new focus on a broader social commitment to fully accountable reporting on all social and environmental performances.
The CarbonFree® Business Partnership program was launched in 2007 with the goal of helping businesses of all sizes – start-ups through global Fortune 1000s – to make a commitment to environmentally-sustainable operations and to keep that commitment for the long haul.
Six years later, we’re honoring over 100 small businesses that have been consistent CarbonFree® Business Partners for the past five and six years. One of these businesses is Moxie Bookkeeping of Brooklyn, New York, started in 2004 by Ean Murphy, with the purpose to serve small operations and to make bookkeeping a valuable tool for making smart decisions instead of one more hassle at the end of a long week.
While Moxie Bookkeeping does not sell ‘green’ products, they’ve made the conscious decision to provide services in the most environmentally-responsible way possible. This included joining our CarbonFree® Business Partnership program in 2008. Moxie Bookkeeping makes an annual donation to Carbonfund.org in order to support our carbon reduction and clean energy innovation projects around the world. In addition, Moxie Bookkeeping focuses their service on electronic delivery wherever possible, to avoid printed statements and checks. Their office products are purchased through green product providers and recycling is mandatory in their offices.
“I can’t run my business without using electricity and natural resources,” says Ean Murphy. “I want to make sure I am an active part of the solution.” Through her long-term partnership with Carbonfund.org, Ean is able to provide her holistic bookkeeping services in a CarbonFree® work environment.
According to the Carbon Disclosure Project, cloud computing can help companies realize $12.3 billion in energy savings and reduce carbon emissions by 85.7 million metric tons annually by the year 2020. This staggering carbon emissions reduction figure is equivalent to mitigating the emissions from almost 181 million barrels of oil each year.
These compelling statistics are creating a surge in cloud computing options and providers; the challenge is to find the right provider offering the breadth of computing services, systems security and deliver the flexibility required by each business.
Chicago-based Steadfast Networks offers an additional benefit to its customers by operating in a CarbonFree® environment. Steadfast Networks calculates the annual carbon emissions from all base operations and neutralizes those emissions by supporting Carbonfund.org’s carbon reduction and clean air technology projects. Steadfast Networks also provides a CarbonFree® option to all customers by calculating and mitigating specific operational emissions through Carbonfund.org for each customer’s dedicated or co-located server energy consumption.
"At Steadfast, we're always looking for new ways to reduce our environmental impact. Carbonfund.org fit organically into our business model and so it was pretty much a “no brainer” for us," explains Karl Zimmerman, President and Chief Executive Officer at Steadfast Networks.
Steadfast Networks specializes in highly flexible cloud computing, including options for dedicated servers or collocation services at their fully redundant data centers in Chicago and New York. The facilities used by Steadfast Networks are highly engineered to assure reliability and maximize energy efficiency, resulting in a significantly reduced carbon footprint. Their status as a CarbonFree® Business Partner sets Steadfast Networks above the competition for companies seeking the most environmentally responsible options for cloud computing solutions.
The “Leave No Trace Behind” ethic is supported by the four major US federal land management agencies and by most eco-travel organizations trying to uphold high standards of environmentally-responsible tour operations. These principles can be followed in eco-tourism planning and observed onsite during tours, but eco-travel operations still generate other sources of harmful environmental emissions through transportation and onsite energy consumption during tour operations.
Carbonfund.org works with several eco-tour operators who take their environmental commitment beyond the tenets of “Leave No Trace Behind” by measuring, reducing where possible and mitigating all carbon emissions from their operations, and CarbonFree® partner Jackson Hole Eco Tour Adventures is a great example.
Jackson Hole Eco Tour Adventures maintains carbon neutral operations for the transportation and energy consumption they cannot eliminate by supporting Carbonfund.org’s clean air and carbon reduction projects around the world.
"It's so important to do what we can to leave the smallest impact possible here on planet earth. This is why we partner with the Carbonfund.org," states Taylor Phillips, Owner and Lead Guide for Jackson Hole Eco Tour Adventures.
Eco Tour Adventures was created with the idea of helping people connect with and gain a deeper appreciation for the natural world through wildlife observation and natural history interpretation. Their premise is that their tour guests develop a stronger bond with the natural world and will make more environmentally sound choices in their daily lives. TripAdvisor recently named Jackson Hole Eco Tour Adventures as one of ten great wildlife tours. Carbonfund.org is proud to partner with Eco Tour Adventures in their carbon emissions mitigation efforts, helping their organization serve as a positive role model for its tour guests and for other eco-tourism businesses.
Part of an effectively designed corporate social responsibility program is to address the interests and concerns of the clients, customers and employees of the company. The fitness industry has recognized that its customers and employees seek out businesses that share their commitment to social responsibility and environmental sustainability, but not all have addressed these concerns.
Carbonfund.org partner HealthCare International (HCI), a leading supplier and distributor of innovative products for health, wellness, fitness and active aging, took action by implementing a program to assess and neutralize the environmental impact of its annual operations. Since 2008, HCI has measured and offset all carbon emissions associated with the energy used in its manufacturing, packaging, transportation and operational aspects of their business through their CarbonFree® Partnership program. This commitment places HCI as an environmental leader in the fitness industry and demonstrates proactive steps in the fight against global climate change.
In order to neutralize its annual operational emissions, HCI has made itself carbon neutral by supporting Carbonfund.org’s carbon reduction projects which are helping to build renewable energy sources, develop reforestation projects and invest in energy efficiency technology worldwide. Considering the implications of climate change, maintaining a carbon emissions mitigation program through Carbonfund.org is a natural extension of the work HCI does in improving the health and wellness of its customers and employees.
Glenn Safadago president of HealthCare International comments, “Collectively, the fitness industry has not made an effort to reduce its impact on the environment. Our goal is to be the first company in the fitness industry to be considered a “green” manufacturer.” We commend HCI for their leadership position in fitness industry sustainability and are proud to partner with them in these ongoing efforts.
According to a study by the American Bus Association, motor coaches are the most fuel-efficient transportation mode in North America, in terms of passenger miles per gallon of fuel. As a result, motor coaches are on average seven times more fuel-efficient than single occupancy automobiles, making motor coaches the most environmentally-friendly option for group transportation needs.
Carbonfund.org makes it simple for environmentally-conscious transportation companies, such as CarbonFree® partner The Convention Store (TCS), to further enhance their fuel-efficient coaches by offsetting fuel-related emissions. TCS specializes in providing ground transportation services to large-scale meeting planners, conferences and events throughout the United States and Canada.
TCS monitors, designs and implements the most efficient travel routes for their clients to decrease the distance of each trip; then they augment their large-capacity fuel-efficient transportation services by offsetting all carbon emissions from their motor coach services. This in turn supports Carbonfund.org’s clean air and carbon reduction technology projects.
“We chose to partner with Carbonfund.org because they not only offer ways to offset our carbon footprint but are building a network of other companies that care about our environment as much as we do,” says TCS CEO Sean Higgins. “It is amazing to watch the list of partners grow and know the amount of change that we will all bring by partnering with Carbonfund.org.”
In what is easily the best environmental action in a generation, this week, the Obama Administration announced new CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards for cars and light trucks (think minivans and sport utility vehicles). By 2025, these vehicles will be required to average 54.5 miles per gallon (MPG).
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regulates CAFE standards and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency measures vehicle fuel efficiency. An agreement in support of acceptable standards was made between the government, automakers and their unions, and environmental organizations.
The stage for these historic fuel economy standards was set by an energy law enacted in 2007 under President George W. Bush. Additionally, the 2009 federal bailouts of General Motors and Chrysler were tied to better fuel efficiency.
Fuel-efficient cars and trucks were the U.S. auto industry’s saving grace. It makes good sense on multiple levels to continue these efforts. For one, 570,000 new jobs can be created by 2030. Not to mention saving consumers more than $1.7 trillion at the gas pump and reducing U.S. oil consumption by 12 billion barrels. This also translates to strengthening national security by lessening the country’s dependence on foreign oil.
What about fighting man-made global warming? The new standards will cut greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light trucks in half by 2025. This reduces emissions by 6 billion metric tons, which is more than the total amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the United States in 2010. We thank President Obama for his leadership on combating climate change, pollution prevention and national security.
Starting in 2017, the standards will be phased in over the course of eight years. New fuel-saving technology is projected to increase the cost of new car or light truck by $3,000 on average. This means consumers will pay a little more when they buy the vehicle, about $50 more a month over a five-year loan, but they’ll more than make up for it at the pump with expected gas savings per vehicle between $7,000 - $8,000. And that is good for the environment and our wallets.
Undeniably, the vehicle fuel-efficiency standards represent an unbeatable combination of protecting the environment and strengthening the economy. They’re also the nation's single largest effort to combat climate-altering greenhouse gases, but we can’t stop building our carbon-reduction portfolios now. Wonderful news like this should push us to continuing to find more ways to reduce our carbon footprint, as individuals and a nation. Now let’s go invest in some renewable energy projects!