It’s a bold idea – and what better place to start than in one of the greenest cities in the United States?
That’s the thought behind a new program aimed to recruit businesses large and small to commit to calculating, reducing and mitigating their carbon output to combat climate change. Local rock band Pearl Jam, who has been tracking and mitigating their touring carbon for nearly eight years, chose Forterra to be their carbon mitigation partner for the band’s 2009 World Tour. Forterra mitigated the tour’s carbon emissions through an urban forest restoration in Washington State. Now, Forterra is launching a new program that will take the idea to scale, inviting Puget Sound region businesses to follow Pearl Jam’s lead.
12 Seattle-based businesses have joined Pearl Jam and Forterra to help launch this new program, called Carbon Capturing Companies (C3). The founding C3 businesses include Seattle’s biggest names in music, sports and business, including Pearl Jam, the Seattle Sounders FC, the Seattle Seahawks, the Seattle Mariners, Outdoor Research, Molly Moon’s Ice Cream, Woodland Park Zoo, Cherry Street Coffee, Glassybaby, Stream Real Estate, GLY Construction, CleanScapes and the Seattle Aquarium.
This unique group of businesses and non-profits are voluntarily calculating, reducing and helping mitigate their carbon footprint through a new tree planting program. Collectively, they will put over 12,000 conifer trees in the ground which will mitigate over 60,000 tons of carbon over their 100 year lifetime.
Conifer trees, native to the Pacific Northwest, will be planted in parks, right of ways, transportation corridors and natural areas by Forterra and other trusted nonprofit partners. “We are excited to launch the C3 program with such an important and diverse group of partners,” said Gene Duvernoy, Forterra president. “These are some of our region’s most prominent establishments and it is a great testament to businesses leading by example and demonstrating their commitment to the environment and the community.”
“Having worked with Forterra before, I approached them about starting a program like C3 knowing they had the expertise to get this work done successfully,” said Stone Gossard, Pearl Jam’s rhythm guitarist and founder. “Pearl Jam recognizes that reducing your environmental impact is an important business choice. We hope to inspire other companies to make public their carbon footprint and join us on C3. Until the business community and consumers step up, the issue of climate will be kicked down the road to future generations.”
The C3 program is open to any Washington-based business and Forterra is looking to expand the program beyond the 14 founding partners. Participants calculate the carbon emissions for all or part of their business operations, look for ways to reduce their footprint and then provide funding for native conifer trees to be planted to mitigate against the impact they are not yet able to reduce. Forterra will do a request for proposals for other nonprofit partners or community groups to apply for the trees purchased by the participating businesses. Forterra and a team of advisors will select which projects have the appropriate merits for ensuring the trees are planted properly and cared for over the long run. Businesses who want to take an even more hands-on approach to the process will have the opportunity to have their employees take part in the tree plantings themselves.
In addition to helping companies reduce their impact, the C3 program helps improve urban parks and natural spaces that beautify and strengthen our communities. These green spaces help watersheds by reducing soil erosion, water pollution and stormwater runoff; cool cities by reducing heat sinks; provide sound buffers for large urban areas; improve air quality and salmon habitat and much more.
About Forterra: Forterra fills a unique niche as the largest community building and conservation organization dedicated to this region. They partner with leaders and residents across the region to create healthy, livable and prosperous communities. For over 20 years, Forterra has led efforts to conserve more than 177,000 acres of forests, farms, shorelines, parks and natural areas and restore critical landscapes. They encourage broad collaboration across all sectors and emphasize the link between vibrant cities and healthy lands. Forterra advances pragmatic solutions to our tremendous population growth with policy, land transactions, community engagement, environmental stewardship and more. Their work is grounded in market-based approaches with the understanding that economic vitality and environmental protection are both critical to maintaining our region’s quality of life for the next 100 years. www.forterra.org
About Pearl Jam: Pearl Jam has used its influence to affect change locally and internationally through direct involvement in many environmental and socially-conscious issues. Their work to this end has included support of such organizations as The Wild Salmon Center, Forterra, Conservation International, Surfrider, Honor the Earth and People for Puget Sound. Alongside these efforts, Pearl Jam began tracking and mitigating their touring carbon footprint starting in 2003. The band hopes to continue to work toward reducing its carbon, and mitigating its carbon footprint, with the goal of helping to advance preservation of existing ecosystems, restoration of degraded environments, and continued investment in clean, renewable energy technologies.
Since their inception in 1991, Pearl Jam has sold more than 60 million albums worldwide including millions of live bootlegs. In celebration of the band’s twentieth anniversary last year, Pearl Jam released a Cameron Crowe-directed film, Pearl Jam Twenty, which captures the band’s journey over its twenty years, along with an accompanying book and soundtrack album. www.pearljam.com.