Written and shared by Beneficial State Bank.
At Beneficial State, we recognize we cannot reach our ambitious goals alone. We are proud to partner with organizations that share our values and keep us accountable to our goals, evaluating our business practices and helping us continue to deepen our impacts.
Greenhouse gas emissions are directly tied to climate change. At Beneficial State, we are committed to measuring and offsetting the carbon emissions in our direct operations and lending portfolio. To ensure we have the impact we intend, we need thoughtful partners like Forterra.
Forterra operates in Washington State, and all of its work comes back to the land – its highest and best use. “At Forterra, we are guided by the questions, ‘What does our environment need to be healthy, what habitat do humans and animals need, what do we need to be resilient in the face of climate change, and how can we use our land to make those conditions possible?’” explains Kristi England, Chief Board and External Relations Officer.
An unconventional land trust
Land and a sense of place impact people’s feeling of belonging. Forterra operates at the intersection of land and community, and they learn from tribes, governments, community members, and businesses. “When we bring people together around our shared values about the land, we get better outcomes,” says Skip Swenson, Senior Director, Special Projects.
“The land is where we all start. If we’re not taking care of the land, we’re not caring for ourselves for our communities,” explains Kristi. “We have to get the land right to solve other problems.”
Forterra is an unconventional land trust in how they broadly view land. “Most land trusts define themselves in terms of protecting rural open space. We take a broader view, looking across both urban and rural areas and seeing the interconnections between land and people. We focus our efforts at these points of connection, building projects and programs that have environmental and social impact,” says Skip.
Evergreen Carbon Capture Program
Forterra’s Evergreen Carbon Capture Program builds on a sense of place, of belonging, and the desire to have healthy, safe places to experience where we live. It brings together community members, businesses, and governments to tackle global climate change at a local level through tree planting. Specifically, it allows companies to offset their carbon footprint by funding tree planting in parks and open space restoration projects.
Beneficial State started working with Forterra in 2019 as one of their business partners and participants. Beneficial State leverages Forterra’s program to offset operational carbon emissions and participates in local tree planting projects. “When you make the work tangible and real, it has cascading impacts,” explains Kristi. “It’s fun to get out and plant trees and contribute positively to the community.” Together Beneficial State and Forterra have planted 190 trees in Snohomish and South King Counties, in Washington State.
In addition to planting trees, Forterra also monitors those trees over time, replacing trees as needed in the stewardship of the land and mission commitments.
Forterra creates profound impacts through its unique model that combines carbon offset projects and community benefits. “We bring multiple benefits together: offsetting carbon emissions, community-based restoration, and environmental benefits, targeting areas that need those resources. We bring community partners together in a way that builds awareness and deepens impacts,” explains Kristi.
Get started today
“We all face the daunting global climate crisis, and it can be overwhelming,” says Skip. “But there are things we can all do. The first step is to take action.”
Kristi adds, “There are opportunities to act locally that have a global impact.”
Calculate your own carbon footprint or use the household averages to help inform your decisions. You can also donate to support Forterra’s important work.
Forterra is an unconventional land trust that works across Washington’s communities and landscapes, from the ranches and shrub-steppe of the Yakima basin, to the estuaries, farms and forests of Washington’s coast, reaching more than 100 counties, cities, towns and rural communities. Working cooperatively with people and nature, Forterra drives land stewardship, management and planning, innovative programs and policies, farming and forestry approaches, community ownership opportunities, and development solutions. Visit www.forterra.org.