Benson, Kerrane, Storz & Nelson is one of the leading construction defect law firms in Colorado, Minnesota, and Texas, representing property owners and community associations with construction defect claims against developers, builders, subcontractors, and their insurance companies.
Since 2007, the firm also has maintained a commitment to operational sustainability by participating in the Carbonfree® Business Partnership program with Carbonfund.org. Through the program, the firm has neutralized a portion of their annual operating carbon emissions and consistently supported carbon emissions reduction, mitigation and clean air technology projects with their annual program donations. Over the past ten years, the firm has grown, as has its commitment to this important environmental program. To date, the firm has neutralized over 2 million pounds of greenhouse gases, equivalent to mitigating the environmental impact of burning 103,000 gallons of gasoline.
For over fifteen years, Benson, Kerrane, Storz & Nelson has represented thousands of property owners and community associations faced with construction defects, which can be a catastrophic and frightening situation for a property owner or community association.
When a property owner or community association hires Benson, Kerrane, Storz & Nelson to handle their construction defect claims, the firm secures expert engineers to investigate the issues and determine repairs, negotiates with builders, developers, and subcontractors to seek a fair and reasonable settlement out of court, and if necessary, advocate on their behalf at trial or arbitration. After resolution, the firm remains available as a resource for clients as they hire contractors and perform repairs.
This type of commitment to client service and construction defect resolution is mirrored by the firm’s long-term commitment to operational sustainability. Carbonfund.org congratulates Benson, Kerrane, Storz & Nelson on its tenth anniversary as a Carbonfree® Business Partner and the firm’s demonstrated leadership in environmental responsibility.
WONDERHEADS is a multi-award winning physical theatre company specializing in mask performance and exquisite visual storytelling for adults and children. The works are performed in full-face mask, a wordless form that mixes European larval mask traditions with character mask styles, resulting in a craft rarely seen on the stage today.
Even performance art and storytelling produces carbon emissions. As a touring theatre company, WONDERHEADS recognizes the carbon footprint created by its activities, such as spending a lot of time on the road driving, flying back and forth across the country, staying in hotels, and eating out. To mitigate the impact of the company’s carbon emissions, WONDERHEADS has joined the Carbonfree® Business Partnership and made a donation to support carbon emissions reduction, forest preservation and clean energy technology projects.
“We Wonderheads have been growing more and more concerned about our impact on the environment with all the miles we drive, flights we take, and hotels we stay in, and we feel that it is our responsibility to give back what we are taking,” explains Kate Braidwood, Co-Founder & Artistic Head of WONDERHEADS. “We are committed to reducing our carbon footprint by offsetting our CO2 emissions each year through Carbonfund.org.”
In addition to the partnership with Carbonfund.org, the company works to minimize its impact on the environment as much as possible while traveling via recycling, using reusable dishes and utensils, and conserving energy by reducing electricity use. The team also uses recycled goods first when building and designing sets, props, costumes and masks.
Audiences have described the WONDERHEADS experience as watching a living cartoon – the whimsy and imagination of Pixar or Warner Bros in theatrical form. In this distinct style of storytelling, WONDERHEADS step beyond words and ignite the hearts and imaginations of audience members. Now WONDERHEADS has taken steps to move beyond its continuing efforts to reduce its carbon footprint by offsetting what remains.
New Carbonfree®Business Partner Maison Zahara is a lifestyle brand and online boutique offering ethically sourced products for the home and personal wear, made in non-mechanized ways using high quality local ingredients. The company’s work reflects its philosophy that aesthetic beauty and sustainability are not mutually exclusive; environmental mindfulness is truly luxurious.
“Our future depends on community, preservation, protection of peoples, cultures and traditions,” explains Marisela Feldman, Founder and CEO of Maison Zahara. “Maison Zahara is committed to providing conscious consumers with a sustainable alternative to ubiquitous mass production. Developing strong partnerships with organizations such as Carbonfund.org is less of a choice and more of a responsibility of any scalable business in today's world.”
Maison Zahara’s business is structured to bridge the gap between social and environmental sustainability, as they are of equal importance, yet the former is often overlooked. Sourcing products directly from specific peoples and cultures with a mastery in their particular craft allows Maison Zahara the opportunity to add authenticity to its overall mission. The careful curation of its artist/partner network is an important aspect of the company’s responsibility as a sustainable business. Extending this environmental responsibility to carbon neutral operations further demonstrates Maison Zahara’s commitment to a philosophy and practice of environmental mindfulness and stewardship.
Dukes Coffee Roasters is a group of like-minded individuals who share a love and passion for great coffee while maintaining a focus on social and environmental responsibility. Dukes is a proud member of 1% For the Planet, a not-for-profit network of businesses from around the world who have committed to creating a healthy planet. In the decade since ‘One Percent’ was founded, 1,400 member businesses have invested more than $100 million in environmental change.
Through 1% For the Planet, Dukes has pledged 1% of annual sales to the preservation of the natural environment. For the past two years, Dukes has chosen to support forest preservation and conservation projects through Carbonfund.org and to neutralize a portion of Dukes’ business operation emissions with their donation.
For the folks at Dukes Coffee Roasters, coffee quality is more than just the flavour in the cup; environmental and social sustainability stand at the heart of everything the company does, dedicated to reducing any negative impact on the earth and supporting the communities that take part in their coffees’ production process. All Dukes coffees are ethically traded and sourced from individual farms or small cooperatives. Each lot of coffee is traceable down to farm level, and there’s a preference placed on purchasing organically grown coffees when possible.
The Dukes roasteries in Melbourne and Perth, Australia produce freshly roasted coffee each day. Each lot is carefully selected and then profiled, tweaked and cupped rigorously before being made available to customers. Dukes also serves the coffee it roasts in its own cafes and coffee bars. The Dukes team of baristas is also a vital part of the quality control process; they provide constant feedback to help tweak the coffee singles and blends.
The Dukes Coffee Roasters’ approach to environmental responsibility within its own business is a great example of leveraging a commitment to the planet while reducing its own operational impact by supporting the protection and preservation of critical forestry around the world. Carbonfund.org is proud to partner with Dukes and with 1% For the Planet in these efforts.
The historic 1854 Twenty Mile House – a former stagecoach stop – is a stunning and secluded eco-estate on a 200-acre riverside property, surrounded by the spectacular Sierra Nevada mountains. For over 150 years, the Twenty Mile House charming guest house and private cabins have hosted eco-weddings and provided a haven for those looking for a truly relaxing getaway from their busy lives.
For the past five years, Twenty Mile House also has participated in the Carbonfree® Business Partnership program, neutralizing almost 400,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions by supporting Carbonfund.org’s clean air technology, forest preservation and carbon emissions reduction projects. To date, this sustainability program has reduced the same quantity of greenhouse gases as are sequestered by planting almost 4500 tree seedlings and allowing them to grow for ten years.
The Twenty Mile House Eco-Wedding packages include use of the spectacular grounds, featuring lush forest, beautiful gardens, serene creeks, flowing rivers and star-filled sky. Dining options include organic and locally-sourced options, and the wedding staff helps couples create the destination wedding experience that best suits their dreams. The Twenty Mile House offers an onsite Wedding Fair for couples who have booked their wedding date or are interested in learning more about the eco-wedding options. For families and visitors, the list of activities in extensive, featuring local hiking, biking, horseback riding, kayaking and canoeing, fishing, golf and winter skiing.
Twenty Mile House marries back-to-nature experiences with environmental responsibility, and Carbonfund.org congratulates the staff on their fifth year as a Carbonfree® Business Partner.
Tampa, FL – The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) and the California Resource Recovery Association (CRRA) recently announced the selection of Kessler Consulting, Inc. (KCI) to develop a Zero Waste Principles and Practices course and certification program for North America.
KCI, best known for their innovative approaches to solving complex solid waste management issues for governments, businesses, and industry has assembled a team of zero waste professionals that include Richard Gertman, Laurie Batchelder Adams, Matthew Cotton, and Cascadia Consulting.
David Biderman, SWANA Executive Director and CEO, said “Kessler Consulting is an industry thought leader that brings a wealth of professional commitment and experience with zero waste and waste diversion to this project. We are looking forward to providing a course and certification program that sets the standard for zero waste and moves the private and public sector forward in implementing zero waste practices across North America.”
For 27 years, KCI has served more than 200 government and numerous business and private clients with their expertise in solid waste management options and innovative, state-of-the-art collection, processing, and disposal solutions. Mitch Kessler, President of KCI, announced “KCI is honored and excited to have been selected as the team that will forge the future training and certification for solid waste professionals across North America.”
Since 2010, Kessler Consulting has partnered with Carbonfund.org to calculate and neutralize the estimated carbon emissions associated with its annual business operations. This important sustainability program further demonstrates the firm’s commitment to environmental responsibility, and Carbonfund.org commends Kessler Consulting for its sustainability leadership.
At Carbonfund.org, we love it when our business partners take our motto seriously and put it into action. We’ve been touting “reduce what you can, offset what you can’t™” for almost a dozen years, and many of our business partners have joined us in these efforts. It's easy to talk the talk, but they walk the walk as well.
Five-year Carbonfree® Business Partner Original Moxie is a great example. They create every product they offer and have a very personal stake in whether each ingredient is safe to use – for customers and for the planet. Whenever possible, Original Moxie uses organic, unrefined ingredients, so as to maximize their uniquely beneficial properties and minimize the company’s carbon footprint.
Original Moxie also understands that waste tends to pile up when you make something from scratch. Whenever possible, they purchase tools and supplies that can be re-used without sacrificing hygiene and quality. From glass droppers for essential oils to cotton towels for cleaning up, Original Moxie strives to minimize the amount of disposable items used to create products. All paper, plastic and glass that cannot be re-used is responsibly recycled, and all product containers are easily-recyclable plastics. All retail customers receive their orders in USPS Priority Mail boxes, which have been awarded Cradle to Cradle Certification℠ for their ecologically-intelligent design.
For everything that can't yet be reduced, recycled, or re-used, Original Moxie offsets its remaining carbon footprint by partnering with Carbonfund.org in supporting carbon emissions reduction projects. To date, Original Moxie has neutralized 395,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, the same quantity as avoiding over 2 million pounds of waste decomposition in landfills.
Whether your hair is curly or straight, Original Moxie’s natural hair care products will help you look your best, and you can feel good about a company that’s leading the beauty care industry in true environmental responsibility.
The Tower Companies “envisions a world where buildings inspire and enrich the lives of their occupants, and create a positive social change.” In this envisioned world, people seek out buildings that improve their health and well-being, connect them to thriving communities and help to sustain the environment.
The Tower Companies strive to be leaders in the green building industry – they believe it's not only a responsibility, but also an opportunity. One of the company’s goals is to "lead by example on environmental responsibility, by developing and managing high performance properties, being a global voice on environmental stewardship, and sharing our sustainable and innovative practices."
Since 2008, the Tower Companies has been a carbon neutral company, offsetting 100% of energy consumption by purchasing wind power and carbon credits, equal to over 150,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. Carbonfund.org has been fortunate to partner with the Tower Companies to help achieve some of their carbon neutral goals. Through energy reduction strategies, the Tower Companies also have saved 10 million kWh in electricity, a 22% reduction since 2008.
Please see their inaugural sustainability e-newsletter for more interesting and inspirational facts about the Tower Companies’ environmental impact achievements.
Carbonfund.org and National Geographic Society (NGS) have been partners in the fight against global climate change since 2009. Our relationship with NGS is managed by Mr. Hans Wegner, Chief Sustainability Officer at the Society whose leadership in the sustainability realm has been an inspiration to everyone at our Foundation.
In 2011, Han’s leadership with the NGS “Green Team” led to his team receiving our For People and Planet award in the “Media” category for their efforts to reduce carbon dioxide (C02) emissions.
These efforts included reducing emissions from their operations by 80% with an additional goal of reducing emissions from their magazine paper and printing materials supply chain by 10% by 2015. The team has succeeded at numerous other efforts from obtaining Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design for Existing Buildings (LEED-EB) Gold Status for their headquarters building to compost and recycling programs in their cafeteria.
Since the origin of our relationship, with NGS, the Society has been a key supporter of several of our projects including the Purus REDD+ (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) Project in Acre, Brazil, and the Native Species Reforestation Project in Panama to offset the Society’s respective travel and office emissions.
We had the opportunity to speak with Hans on his impressive 41 years at the National Geographic Society and his broader work in the sustainability realm.
1. Please describe your current role as Chief Sustainability Officer at NGS and what lead you to that position?
I came to the Society in 1973, with a background in commercial printing. I came here to work in one of the photographic labs, compiling film for wall maps for 1.5 years and subsequently became responsible for the production and then the manufacturing of the Magazine. During that time I also handled all paper purchasing for the Society so I became very conversant with the issues related to paper manufacturing and the paper market. I took particular interest in learning all I could about the environmental impacts of all aspects of paper making; from seedling in the ground to recycling of old paper products. I took great pride in working with our paper suppliers to make sure they abide by or exceeded all applicable environmental regulations.
In 2006 I headed up a group of concerned NGS employees who felt we as an organization could do more to reduce the impact our operations had on climate change and to raise our collective awareness of our responsibility to conduct our business sustainably. Our groups focused on measuring the carbon emissions that we as a company were responsible for, including those emitted on our behalf by our suppliers. We knew we had to know our corporate carbon footprint, not only in the aggregate, but by product line or service sector so we could have a roadmap for the remedial actions we wanted to take. On the basis of this information, we made our buildings carbon neutral, achieved LEED-EB Gold status for our complex, and certified our campus as Energy Star rated and implemented many energy saving features.
On the basis of our success, I was designated Chief Sustainability Officer in 2009.
2. How did you get started in sustainability work? Who or what inspired you to go into a career in sustainability?
I have always had an inclination to try to be environmentally responsible and I like to think of myself as acting on what I know to be true. This is what led me to set environmental policy for our paper suppliers when I was handling paper purchasing for the Society, implementing a requirement to use best forest management practices, to exceed the guidelines of the Clean Air and Water Acts. In the mid 1990's I became increasingly convinced of not only the fact of climate change, but the reality that it was human activity that was causing this phenomenon. Additionally human activity was consuming finite natural resources at obviously unsustainable rates. I was of course aware that the Society was publishing or producing related stories in our Magazine and TV productions on these subjects so the problem was not a lack of public awareness of the issues but rather a problem of failing to act on what we know. I felt compelled to make a difference and to act, so I began talking to people and knew there was a critical mass of my colleagues who felt strongly, wanted to help, and were willing to volunteer their time to make a difference. That led to the formation of the GoGreen Committee (Now Green Team) which has been meeting monthly since late 2006 and is leading the sustainability initiative at the Society.
3. What personal accomplishments in the sustainability realm are you most proud of?
I would have to say being instrumental in starting the sustainability initiative at the Society and thereby creating an awareness that we as an organization and as individuals could and needed to do more than we were.
As to specifics: 1) Focusing our efforts on knowing our carbon footprint and focusing our efforts at reducing that that footprint by eliminating waste where we found it and thereby eliminating the cost of that waste. 2) Setting and then achieving the goal of becoming a carbon neutral facility and qualifying our Buildings for LEED-EB Gold certification. 3) Doing the most comprehensive Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) ever done on a Magazine in cooperation with our paper and printing suppliers. This was completed in 2009. 4) Convincing the Society to become a Triple Bottom Line (TBL) driven company in 2012. 5) Committing the Society to the idea of offsetting our scope III carbon (all indirect emissions except for purchased electricity, heat and steam). To date, we have reduced our scope III by over 20% since 2008.
4. What are you currently working on in the sustainability realm?
We are working with our suppliers of printing and digital media storage to document their emissions on our behalf and to look into renewable energy for those emissions. We are working to achieve carbon neutral status for everything we do, and to send zero waste to landfill. My goal is to have sustainability become part of the culture of the Society.
5. What is your personal biggest sustainability challenge?
Changing behavior at our company and getting more companies to start addressing climate change. Behavior changes are hard. Energy has always been cheap in the US, and the challenge is to change that perception and get people to change their behavior and use less. The other challenge is for all of us to personalize climate change and take responsibility for that change. At the end of the day each of us must make a commitment to change if we are to solve this problem. We all have the tendency to wait for someone else to start. Don't wait for someone else. You do it. Each of us can start today by: not leaving lights on, shortening the showers we take, using mass transit, recycling everything we can, etc.
6. What is going to be the biggest challenge for sustainability in the next 20 years?
Complacency on the part of most of us. Dependence on someone else to do the job for us. Ignoring the noise from the fossil fuel industry to say everything is OK when it is clearly not. A Congress that is divided to the point of dysfunction, so no federal leadership is possible. The naysayers that persist in trying to say that this is not a problem, and it is bad for the economy to address this issue. The fear mongers who wish to use this issue to divide us rather than to say here is a challenge we can unite on and fix.
7. For the next generation of environmental professionals, what advice would you give?
You do not have to be an expert. Read and act on what you know. Make the business case that waiting is paramount to throwing money away and that America cannot compete with clean economies around the world. Make the business case that inaction, or little action, is far, far more expensive and costly to jobs and prosperity than the most drastic actions we take today.
8. How did Carbonfund.org help you achieve your sustainability goals?
Carbonfund.org has been able to find projects for us to help us offset our use of natural gas to heat our buildings and use in our cafeteria. It has also helped us find projects that offset our business travel. My question to any offset provider has always been: Can you get me a two 'fer or three 'fer? By which I mean I am looking for projects that not only reduce carbon buildup in the atmosphere by adding sequestration capacity, but does doing so expand the habitat for an endangered species (either flora or fauna) in an area, thereby enhancing the possibility of that species' survival? So I am always interested in finding projects that have multiple benefits with the primary one being carbon emissions reductions. So far, Carbonfund.org has done a really good job finding such projects for us.
9. Why did you choose to work with Carbonfund.org?
In keeping with the idea of sourcing locally, I liked that Carbonfund.org is in fact local to Washington DC metro area. I also like the fact of Carbonfund.org being a not-for-profit, as I believe that addressing climate change should not be a profit driven undertaking. That is not to say that we should not do business with for profit entities, it is just that if not-for-profit is an option; that is my preference so we can put more dollars into emissions reductions.
2014 is shaping up to be another strong year for continued environmental leadership by Carbonfund.org’s business partners. These companies understand the value in maintaining effective sustainability programs that demonstrate their commitment to environmental responsibility.
Entering its fifth year as a Carbonfree® Business Partner, Software for Good is a design-driven software engineering team producing complete digital solutions for companies doing great things.
“We are thrilled to be part of the Carbonfree® Business Partnership,” states Casey Helbling, founder and CEO of Software for Good. “By calculating, reducing, and offsetting our carbon footprint, we are helping to change the status quo and redefine what it means to be a responsible business.”
To date, Software for Good’s carbon emissions offset donations have supported Carbonfund.org’s carbon reduction projects, neutralizing the same quantity of emissions as are created by a standard passenger car driving almost 600,000 miles.
Software for Good team members and clients share a vision for what a healthy and sustainable community can be. They follow the triple bottom line business model, investing equally in people, planet, and profit.
A great example of Software for Good’s work can be seen in the rebuild for RE-AMP’s website. The organization is composed of over 150 non-profits and foundations across the US Midwest focused on climate change and energy policy. The new website focuses on user engagement and easy ongoing site maintenance, so that the various groups can work collaboratively to create a healthier, more sustainable world.
Software for Good demonstrates its environmental stewardship through the work it performs for its clients and in its continuing commitment to carbon-neutral operations through the Carbonfree® Business Partnership program.