On Tuesday, Biogen, one of the world’s oldest independent biotechnology companies, announced that it has achieved operational carbon neutrality.  This important sustainability milestone was reached through a multi-year initiative to reduce carbon emissions from global operations and by investing in environmental projects to offset the remaining carbon emissions that could not be eliminated from business activities, including emissions from its suppliers’ operations, employee commuting and business travel. 

The company’s commitment to environmental sustainability, philanthropy and diversity are highlighted in its 2014 annual Corporate Citizenship Report, which Biogen also released on Tuesday. 

To achieve carbon neutrality, Biogen has reduced carbon emissions through: 

  • Investments in sustainable technologies and highly efficient facilities and manufacturing processes including energy-efficient heating and cooling, power through co-generation, and advanced distribution systems to conserve water.
  • Coordination with its top suppliers to help manage their overall environmental impact and encourage regular reporting of their energy usage and carbon emissions in order to set and meet reduction targets. Currently, about 70 percent of the carbon emissions associated with Biogen’s business comes from its suppliers.
  • Investments in programs that fund wind, solar and low-impact hydroelectric power in the United States, Denmark, and Switzerland. Biogen is also investing in landfill gas projects that take naturally occurring methane gas and use it to produce energy.

Biogen followed the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol Corporate Standard methodology, the most widely used international accounting tool for quantifying and managing carbon emissions, in calculating carbon emissions from its global operations.  These calculations were validated by third-party auditors to confirm Biogen’s statement of carbon neutrality. 

Biogen’s leadership in operational sustainability has received numerous and wide-reaching recognition.  Earlier this month, Biogen achieved the number one ranking on the Newsweek list of “Top Green Companies in the World 2015,”.   In January, Biogen was also named the most sustainable company in the world on the Corporate Knights’ Global 100 list, and was named the biotechnology Industry leader on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index World last October.  

Carbonfund.org Foundation is proud to continue to partner with Biogen in achievement of its milestone carbon neutrality goals.  

Published in carbonfree blog
Thursday, 28 March 2013 19:35

The Politics of Climate Change

Global warming has become a highly charged political issue.  The players in the climate change drama cast into different roles.  It seems like you must be a Democrat to be interested in combating global warming, or if you’re a Republican, you cannot be environmentally motivated. 

“The Earth’s climate does not care whether you are a Democrat or a Republican. It doesn’t care whether you’re liberal or conservative. Climate change will affect all Americans no matter what your political beliefs, your religious beliefs, your race, class, creed, et cetera, okay. And in the end, the only way we’re going to deal with this issue is if we come together as a country and have a serious conversation, not about is it real. But what can we do about it,” Anthony Leiserowitz, Director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and a Research Scientist at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University said in an episode titled, “Encore: Ending the Silence on Climate Change” this month on Bill Moyer & Company.

For many years fossil fuel company interests have waged an active disinformation campaign that has borne fruit for them.  They learned well from tobacco war strategy, which was to make people believe the science isn’t clear and that the experts do not agree.  This leads the average person to reserve judgment on climate change.  They aren’t likely to take global warming seriously until it seems that the experts reach a conclusion.  Unfortunately that day will be long coming because these big, powerful companies will continue to spread misinformation.

The climate change disinformation campaign has spread so far that it’s even affected politics.  In last year’s presidential election the question was, “If we focus on protecting the environment, won’t that harm the economy?”  The truth is that there is no inherent contradiction.  The U.S. could, in fact, lead the Green Industrial Revolution.

 What is also interesting is that Republicans weren’t always painted with the not caring about global warming brush.  They actually led the charge on issues such as acid rain.  President George H.W. Bush passed cap and trade legislation on sulfur dioxide.  It was one of the most successful environmental programs in American history, and it was accomplished at a cost far below even best guess estimates at the time.

The answer to the politicization of climate change is that the U.S. needs a groundswell of grassroots movement for environmental change.  We need to get organized and demand change of our politicians.  This country’s political system simply is not conducive to making the changes itself to deal with the global warming crisis we desperately need.  Let’s take partisan gridlock out of the picture.  We can begin by mobilizing and directing the 16 percent of Americans that are the Alarmed, defined in my last post on climate change communication, but are unsure what to do to make a difference in climate change.

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
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