There is a misconception within our state that nothing has been done by the business community to reduce carbon emissions since 2008. However, there is a laundry list of ways in which many of Washington’s businesses have actually been leading the way to voluntary reduce their emissions. In fact, many of them have won awards from the Governor’s office or the EPA.
Below is a short list of some companies who have undertaken carbon reduction efforts:
- ConAgra Foods was presented with a Washington Energy Leaders Award in 2013 by Governor Inslee for its ongoing efforts to reduce its carbon footprint. Through its commitment to reducing waste headed to the landfill (where greenhouse gases are emitted), it has reduced its emissions by 7 percent with a goal of 20 percent by 2020.
- In March, Seattle-founded UPS was named one of 16 organizations leading the way on climate issues by the EPA and recognized by the agency as one of six companies to receive the 2015 Climate Leadership award for “Excellence in Greenhouse Gas Management.”
- Port Townsend Paper Corporation, working with the local Climate Action Committee, reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 60 percent over the past 10 years by reducing the use of fossil fuels, efficiency improvements and increased use of renewable and carbon neutral biomass.
- Batdorf & Bronson of Olympia has built environmental consciousness into its business since it was founded in 1988. Batdorf powers office computers with rooftop solar panels, provides bicycles for employees to ride for in-town trips and commutes, and pays extra for fully compostable cups at its seven locations in Washington and Georgia. They were the nation’s first 100 percent green-powered coffee roaster.
- Canyon Creek Cabinet Company in Monroe upgraded its 2006-era trucks with newer, cleaner models that are Clean Idle Certified. The company helped create the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association’s Environmental Stewardship Program and in 2006 was the first cabinet company awarded the ESP certificate for voluntarily going above and beyond to development environmentally friendly products.
- Earth Friendly Products in Lacey has made green manufacturing a priority since 1967. The company switched to 100 percent renewable energy in 2010 and in 2013 achieved carbon neutrality at all five of its manufacturing facilities – avoiding emission of nearly 54 million pounds of carbon dioxide a year.
- Family-owned Claar Wine Group’s vineyards and winery in Pasco are certified as sustainable by the Low-Input Viticulture and Enology program. The company cut its lighting energy use by 50 percent through a switch from metal-halide bulb lamps to T-5 bays.
- Saint Martin’s University’s engineering building has rooftop garden space and 2,500 square feet of photovoltaic solar panels that produce 15 percent of the building’s electricity, a 64 percent reduction.
- Nucor Steel in Seattle is known for being the greenest steel mill not only in the country, but throughout the world. It was a first-adopter of energy-efficient technology and is operated using green power — hydroelectricity — giving it one of the lowest carbon footprints of any steel mill in the world. This dedication earned it a Leadership by Example award in 2012 from former Governor Gregoire.
- Based in Tumwater, Cardinal Glass received a 2013 Washington Energy Leaders award for their innovations in energy efficiency with their glass products. Their highly insulated windows emit less heat than most so customers use less energy to heat their homes and businesses.
- IEDS out of Spokane, installed electronic on-board recording devices in its trucks this year to allow the company to track real-time drive and vehicle performance information to optimize delivery routes. In two months, the company reduced engine idle time by 40 percent and increased mileage per gallon by 8 percent, decreasing fuel use by 3,780 gallons.
- Spokane-based Avista Utilities is at the forefront of evaluating how a new battery technology can be used to improve power quality for customers while maximizing the economic value of hydropower and potentially optimizing the grid to accommodate wind and solar energy storage and use.
- Alaska Airlines, a founding member of Sustainable Aviation Fuels Northwest, is a leader in exploring opportunities for the use of biofuel in commercial air travel.
- Over the past 15 years, Inland Empire Paper Company has implemented carbon reduction strategies that have reduced the company’s footprint by 30,000 tons of carbon per year, lowered natural gas consumption by 77 percent and has developed a state-of-the-art algae-based water treatment technology.
- Renton-based Shuttle Express converted its shuttle fleets to clean burning propane. This included the first in the nation F-550 bus conversion. All told, this reduces the company’s carbon footprint by 90 percent.
- From 2007 to 2014, the Boeing Co. reduced its U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 9.3 percent while increasing production rates 50 percent. This achievement earned it a 2014 Climate Leadership Award from the Environmental Protection Agency.
- Cascade Natural Gas, a utility based in Bothell, works with its customers to ensure energy efficiency. In both 2012 and 2014, they received Washington Energy Leaders awards. 7.42 million pounds of CO2 were mitigated in 2014 due to their programs and customers’ efforts.
- SECO Development out of Renton worked with the Seahawks to reduce their emissions through sustainable design. They installed LED lighting, and 30% of their energy is provided by solar panels.
- The Built Green program originated with the Home Builders Association of Kitsap County more than 20 years ago. The homes are designed to be energy efficient and exceed strict Washington State Energy Codes, Washington State Ventilation and Indoor Air Quality code and the Water Use Efficiency Standards.
This is merely a sample of the many companies who truly believe that being good stewards of the environment is the right thing to do. Contributing to and maintaining a clean environment is not just good, but it’s good for business.