In early 2009, we teamed up with Green Mountain Energy Company to reduce our environmental footprint.
"Our first step is assessing all aspects of Klean Kanteen operations, then using that information to run things more efficiently and reduce our environmental footprint as much as we can," says Klean Kanteen's Sustainability Officer, Danielle Cresswell. "But we also recognize that no matter how efficient we are, using electricity and shipping products uses natural resources and has an impact."
That's where Green Mountain comes in. They helped us assess the electricity use at Klean Kanteen's headquarters and distribution center in Chico, California, and also the carbon footprint of the shipping for our online store. Then we purchased a combination of Renewable Energy Certificates (energy created from renewable sources like wind and solar) and carbon offsets (from projects that capture and absorb carbon) equal to our use.
We also set in place the Green Shipping Program, which uses a portion of the shipping costs to purchase carbon offsets and neutralize the environmental impact of our shipping.
If you want to get into the technical stuff, it breaks down like this. First there's the electricity we use at our headquarters and distribution center in Chico, California. Each Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) represents a certain amount of electricity produced through renewable sources. We buy RECs equal to the amount of electricity we use that comes from non-renewable sources, and those RECs balance out the environmental impact of our electricity use.
Then there's the carbon footprint from all the shipments we send out when our customers order stuff from our online store. Green Mountain used the Greenhouse Gas Protocols developed by the World Resource Institute to analyze our shipping and figure out the carbon footprint of an average shipment.
To make up for the carbon emissions from our shipping, we buy carbon offsets, which come from projects that absorb and capture carbon in the atmosphere. Carbon offsets are created in lots of different ways, some types of carbon capture projects involve the containment and/or combustion of the methane gases generated by farm animals, landfills or other sources of organic waste. It's not super sexy, but it works, and that's the kind of carbon offset we're buying.
The Green Shipping Program uses a portion of what customers pay for shipping to cover the cost of buying those carbon offsets. Put simply, we're helping fund projects that take carbon out of the atmosphere, equal to the amount generated from our shipping. So the net result is zero.
We chose to work with Green Mountain because they're experts in helping environmentally conscious companies like Klean Kanteen® operate more sustainably. Green Mountain meets strict industry standards, is a pioneer in the renewable energy field, and is one of the most trusted companies selling renewable energy certificates and carbon offsets.
Green Mountain's RECs and carbon offsets are also certified by third parties such as Green-e and Verified Carbon Standard respectively. Green-e is the nation's leading certification program for Renewable Energy Certificates and the Verified Carbon Standard is an association that reviews and certifies carbon offsets. Green Mountain's rigorous certification standards combined with their transparency about how the RECs and carbon offsets are generated, ensures the money we're investing goes to fund legitimate green power sources such as wind and solar, and creates demand for new green power-generating facilities.