World Centric prides itself not only in it’s provision of sustainable and compostable goods, but also in it’s commitment to operating sustainably. A key part of being a leading supplier of compostables in the industry is also recognizing that our every action in making compostables has a consequence. Global climate change is one of the most serious issues facing humanity, and we are doing our part to help contribute to the lowering of carbon emissions that come from the manufacturing of our product. While our products require less energy in production, we are still committed to reducing the emission of carbon throughout the entire life cycle of our compostable goods.
Our carbon footprint is the sum of all carbon emissions emitted into the atmosphere in the process of making our compostable goods and running our sustainable business. This would include emissions from the production of our raw materials and manufacturing all the way to its transportation to your front door. It includes transportation, processing, inbound ocean freight transportation, outbound trucking, warehouse operations, and even our office footprint that includes the commute and travel of our staff.
It is our belief that both individuals and companies can and should reduce their carbon footprint. It starts with looking at ways to reduce your own emissions, usually directly related to reducing energy consumption. We also believe in investing in renewable energy like solar and wind energy production in addition to carbon offsetting programs such as planting trees.
In fact, our office is powered by renewable energy (a combination of wind and solar) by Palo Alto Green. We are also conscious of our daily operations and simple ways that any individual can reduce energy use such as limiting centralized heating and using energy efficient space heaters, using spaces with natural light and using space lighting such as desk lamps as opposed to larger inefficient and high-energy lighting.
We also have a company wide incentive for using public transportation; World Centric reimburses up to $250 per month to any employee using public transportation. From our low flow environmentally friendly toilets to both our home composting unit and our compost waste bin where other compostable items go to a composting facility, we do our every effort to reduce, reuse, recycle, and compost.
World Centric, which has roots as a non-profit and eco-fair trade store early on, recognized that by partnering with other grassroots organizations, we could become carbon neutral and at the same time help other organization and people that are directly faced with problems of income generation and sustainable development. In our endeavors for going carbon neutral, we focused on two things—the sequestering of carbon through tree planting and supporting projects with direct benefits to communities and people. The projects we have chosen to support are not Verified Projects. In our research into carbon offsetting programs, we found that verification is a significant cost that typically goes to third parties. Rather than support large corporations with large scale projects, we went small—we decided to work with grassroots organizations that directly work with people and communities that manage forests.
For 2011, we have continued to partner with Rainforest Action Network (RAN), offseting 4927 tons of carbon, through their small grants Protect-an-Acre and Climate Action Fund programs. We have also supported three different grassroots tree planting projects through People for Progress in India, offseting a total of 464 tons of carbon through them. More details to follow.
In 2010, we partnered with Rainforest Action Network (RAN) to address our 2010 carbon emissions, totaling 4810 tons, by supporting innovative initiatives that keep millions of tons of CO2 in the ground. Through a $24,000 donation to RAN’s small grant programs Protect-an-Acre and Climate Action Fund, World Centric is investing directly in community-based organizations, Indigenous federations and small NGOs that are fighting to protect millions of acres of forest. We also continued to offset 318 tons of carbon through the One Child/100 Trees Project supported by People for Progress in India. Survival rates of the planted trees from 2009 was over 85%.
**9/7/12 - Here's an update on how our $24,000 grant to RAN's Protect-an-Acre and Climate Action Fund has been implemented:
$3,500 to support Caura Futures conservation efforts within the 45,300 km² Caura River Basin in the Venezuelan Amazon through providing training and tools to safeguard Indigenous knowledge, improve human health, and promote good ecosystem stewardship, including addressing the issue that some youths today are more likely to fell, rather than climb, a palm tree for its fruit by creating new enthusiasm for the traditional practice of tree-climbing through introducing new gear, reviewed and approved by community members, and holding competitions. A workshop will expand this aspect of the project to Iquitos, Peru, where wild palm fruit markets are highly developed and the problem of felling palms is widespread.
$5,000 to support work with 5 villages in Jambi Province, Sumatra, Indonesia to strengthen community management systems and values and help secure control and protection for over 40,000 acres of customarily-owned rainforest through holding a series of meetings to reach collective decisions to develop and implement 35 year management plans that consider ecological, economic and social dimensions and provide for sustainable sources of income that reflect local cultural values.
$2,000 to support the establishment of a 200 acre mixed-use agroforestry project, incorporating cacao, coffee, and 10,000 newly planted guayusa and hardwood trees that will provide income for communities, while also serving as a strategic buffer zone around the 25,000 acre Colonso Protected Area in the Ecuadorian Amazon
Lati Tana Adat Takaa
$2,000 to help the Dayak Benuaq Indigenous Peoples of Muara Tae in Kalimantan, Indonesia to protect their customary rainforest land through the completion of participatory mapping of village areas as part of a process to secure a 10,000 acre territorial claim, as well as advocating to stop ongoing and future encroachment by palm oil and mining companies.
Frente de Conservacion Ecologica de la Comunidad Nativa Mushuk Llacta de Chipaota
$2,500 to support ongoing work* to expand the recognized territory of the Mushuk-Llatka de Chipaota Indigenous community from 55,000 to 97,000 acres through the establishment of a biological reserve in the Andean Forest buffer zone of Cordillera Azul National Park in the Peruvian Amazon and to secure protection of the area through a community-led monitoring program.
Climate Action Fund:
Campaña Amazonía por la Vida
$2,000 to support grassroots efforts to pressure the national government to commit to its proposed plan to keep oil under the ground in Yasuní National Park in the Ecuadorian Amazon, which would result in preventing 407 million tons of CO2 emissions and help protect one the most important biological areas on the planet that also includes territory of the Huaorani people, as well as two other Indigenous tribes living in voluntary isolation.
Pueblo Kichwa de Rukullacta
$2,500 to support workshops to solidify opposition in all Rukullacta communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon and lay the groundwork for outfacing activities to prevent Canadian company Ivanhoe Energy's potentially environmentally and socially devastating plan to deploy highly questionable technology to attempt to recover and convert heavy, tar sands-type oil to lighter crude for export. The Pungarayacu oil field is estimated to contain between 4.3 to 12.1 billion barrels of heavy, extremely viscous crude. It is unknown exactly how much of that lies beneath the 106,000 acres of titled Rukullacta lands, but at least a dozen wells are planned to explore the area.
Trees are nature’s own carbon sinks and World Centric recognizes that deforestation plays a key role in global climate change. It is estimated that one tree in the tropics on average can sequester 50 pounds of atmospheric carbon dioxide per year. World Centric’s estimated total carbon footprint for 2009 is just over 4,273 tons of carbon dioxide, or about 9.4 million pounds. It was our goal to offset this with 176,824 trees. We looked to two organizations to help us with our goal: People for Progress(PPI) in India and Trees for the Future(TREES). Our sustainable development partner PPI is helping us plant trees in the state of Karnataka in Southern India. Sustainable farming, vocational training, skill training, providing basic amenities like clean drinking water, mentoring high risk children, and micro-finance loans are some of the areas that PPI also works on. PPI has planted 17,360 trees with a variety of species, supporting biodiversity and agroforestry since 2008. Their One Child/100 Trees project is a three-year activity that educates students and families about biodiversity in the process of helping plant the trees. Trees for the Future is helping us plant trees in the African nation of Cameroon. With the help of 8,000 volunteers in mostly rural villages, TREES has successfully planted more than 1.5 million trees in 2009. TREES works with rural farmers to develop sustainable land-use practices which are beneficial to the environment and improve the lives of the people involved. Farmers are planting trees to improve the soil and their crop yields, and protect the land against further erosions. Many farmers are developing income generating activities such as livestock raising, honey production, and fruit production.
We take great pride in the quality of our compostables, but we take an equal amount of pride supporting these grassroots organizations and communities that help us offset all our carbon.