As June’s temperatures start to rise in Miami, visitors and locals seek out a respite from the heat. And with all the news reports of climate change’s impact on the heavily-populated cities along the US eastern seaboard, the environmentally-aware customers will choose to patronize area businesses that take responsibility for their environmental impact.
For the past four years, these eco-customers have had the option to visit the tea oasis at specialTEA Lounge & Café, created with the planet and people in mind. Owners Marilyn Morales and Chris Infante are extremely conscious of their impact on the environment. Since opening the café, Chris and Marilyn have been teaching through example about sustainability initiatives, selecting local and organic products, and being as earth-friendly as possible. They use local organic ingredients and materials whenever possible, use eco-friendly compostable containers and utensils, and choose paper products made with 100% post-consumer-recycled content. The café is equipped with energy-saving LED light bulbs, an energy-saving water-heater, a water-saving dual-flush toilet as well as an ExtremeAir® hand-dryer.
This year, specialTEA Lounge & Café took an important additional step in their sustainability plan by joining the CarbonFree® Business Partnership and mitigating their annual operational carbon emissions.
“No matter how eco-conscious we are in our decisions, there are still aspects of our business that are beyond our control,” explains Christian Infante, co-owner of specialTea Lounge. “For those reasons, we have chosen to partner with Carbonfund.org, a leader in carbon offsetting, to offset any carbon emissions we generate in the course of our business operations.”
SpecialTEA Lounge & Café patrons can enjoy a pot of tea or a cooling frappé with friends over a game of chess, relax with a book on the comfy couches, or use the free wi-fi while noshing on sweet or savory treats at the café. With over 60 premium fresh loose leaf teas, certified Organic Fair Trade™ and locally roasted coffee, frappés, bottled and hand-craft sodas, homemade pastries, desserts and an array of delicious made to order panini, salads and wraps, there’s something for everyone. And customers can be environmentally-assured, knowing that specialTEA Lounge maintains CarbonFree® operations and a commitment to sustainability.
For visitors to the greater Chicago area and the locals who’ve endured a long winter, a big three-season draw is the Lake Michigan waterfront. Among the popular waterfront pastimes are the various Chicago River and Lake Michigan boat cruises that provide passengers with views of the Chicago skyline, architectural tours, dinner cruises, and on-board wedding and special event celebrations.
To help protect and preserve the Lake Michigan resource, the environmentally-focused passenger will consider a cruiseline’s attention to environmental responsibilities and fuel conservation when booking their tour. CarbonFree® Partner Chicago’s First Lady Cruises and Mercury, Chicago’s Skyline Cruiseline will stand out as a leader in this area.
As part of their extensive sustainability initiatives, Chicago’s First Lady Cruises and Mercury, Chicago’s Skyline Cruiseline has partnered with Carbonfund.org to measure and neutralize their annual carbon dioxide emissions. Office energy usage, business travel and employee commuting emissions, as well as all fuel used by the cruise ships throughout 2012, were included in the emissions calculations. The resulting total annual operational emissions were mitigated by corresponding donations to support Carbonfund.org’s renewable energy and reforestation projects.
The CarbonFree® Business Program status joins many other environmentally conscious initiatives followed by the Chicago-based cruiseline company. Since 2006, all vessels have used B-11 biodiesel fuel, saving more than 4,000 gallons of imported crude oil per year. Their newest vessel, Chicago’s Leading Lady, added to the fleet in 2011, is equipped with computerized energy-efficient engines that help the boat save over 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel each year.
Chicago’s First Lady Cruises encourages their passengers to join an active office and operations recycling program by recycling their onboard maps for future guests. Dockside waste bins are constructed of recycled plastic milk containers, and beverage cans and bottles are collected onboard and dockside for recycling. Promotional materials are printed by CarbonFree® Partner Digital Hub, voted Chicago’s Greenest Printer, with soy-based inks and recycled papers. All employees are encouraged to ride their bike, walk or commute to work by using public transit, and Mercury, Chicago’s Skyline Cruisline encourages its staff to participate in the employee public transit reimbursement program.
This focus on measures to protect the waterways its passengers enjoy demonstrates a firm commitment to environmental stewardship by Chicago’s First Lady Cruises and Mercury, Chicago’s Skyline Cruiseline, and Carbonfund.org is glad to participate in these efforts.
The American Forest and Paper Association continues to make strides as an industry intent on leading the expansion of paper recycling. The success of their “Better Practices, Better Planet 2020” initiative will be partly dependent upon consumer preferences shifting to products containing fully or partially recycled paper. In order to help close the “recycling loop”, “green” consumers must continue to seek out businesses that offer eco-conscious products featuring recycled paper, in order to expand the practice of paper recycling and the manufacturing, marketing and price-competitiveness of products containing recycled paper. CarbonFree® Business Partner Paper Culture was led by its strong environmental focus, one of the foundations upon which the company has built its business, to develop its product line on 100% post consumer recycled paper and to take additional measures to neutralize the carbon emissions from its business operations.
As part of its ongoing environmental commitment, Paper Culture took the important step five years ago to neutralize its annual operational emissions and become a CarbonFree® Partner. "In choosing Carbonfund.org, Paper Culture wanted a partner that had a strong, auditable record of driving additional green house gas reducing projects,” explains Christopher Wu, Paper Culture Owner. “When we looked at their marquee list of partners that includes names like Staples, Discovery Channel and Virgin, when combined with the audit trail provided by Environmental Resources Trust to verify the various Carbonfund.org projects, our decision was made."
Over the past five years, Paper Culture’s CarbonFree® commitment has neutralized its own operational emissions by steadily supporting Carbonfund.org's reforestation projects around the world, which reduce carbon dioxide emissions through tree planting and forestry management efforts.
Paper Culture is an online stationery company offering modern eco-friendly personalized stationery and cards such as baby announcements, holiday cards, and baby shower invitations. All Paper Culture card and stationery designs are printed on 100% post consumer recycled paper, and Paper Culture plants a tree in a US national forest with every order. These steps, together with the long-term commitment to CarbonFree® operations, underscore Paper Culture’s focus on environmental responsibility and demonstrate their sustainability leadership within the paper products industry.