Follow up to Earth Day Initiative’s Earth Day NYC 2018 in Union Square

Reed Shapiro

A few weeks ago Carbon Credit Capital (“CCC”) partnered with the Earth Day Initiative to help them mitigate and spread awareness about the environmental impacts of their event—namely, the greenhouse gas impacts.

While Earth Day Union Square has, in the past, been beautiful, April 15th, 2018 in New York City was not. It was cold, windy, and rainy. Nevertheless, the event was surprisingly well attended. All vendors showed up to brave the elements, and throngs of people, whether just there in passing, or because they knew of the event, meandered around Union Square North throughout the day.

For the most part, those brave enough to stop and stand in the 39-degree weather were very interested to learn about what carbon credits are. There were of course, as always, those who cried bull****, however, this was a minority position. For most in attendance were, after learning what a carbon credit was, happy to know the environmental instrument exists. Some attendees even offset their attendance plus the equivalent of the attendance of dozens of others.

All together, we were able to offset over 27 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. A majority of the credits purchased came from a friend and business partner to CCC, Residential Home Funding’s very own George Pakenham, who I worked with to develop our Carbon Neutral Mortgage product and partnership, and who has been collaborating with myself and John Oppermann, the Executive Director of the Earth Day Initiative to potentially bring the product to New York City. George offset 20 of the 27 tonnes from the day. Attendees accounted for another 3 metric tonnes.

Finally, last but not least, we had a handful of brands and co-exhibitors who decided to offset their booths for the day, making them Carbon Neutral Exhibitors for the event. As is tradition, we’d like to highlight the companies who offset with us at Earth Day Union Square. These companies are great in their own right, however, their commitment to offsetting their emissions showcases their seriousness about being a better brand. We highlight them here to show that when you take action as an individual, or as a business, it does not go unnoticed.

 

ZICO
No stranger to the public eye, Zico was one of few large corporate sponsors at the EDI event. While sustainability is not particularly present in their online and brand persona, Zico does work with and support hundreds of small-share farmers around the world, and provides a product that keeps its consumers healthy and well nourished. Zico’s local brand manager, Sebastian Palacios, however, saw value in becoming a carbon neutral exhibitor right away. Similar to the other exhibitors listed below, Zico purchased one tonne of emissions reductions (one carbon credit) to offset the emissions associated with producing and packaging the product, shipping it to New York, and the waste streams created at the event. We are proud to have helped Zico make a green move (however small it may be), and are pleased to see that even some of the large corporate companies have the managerial agility to sign on to efforts like this at the moment.

HONEST TEA COMPANY
Right next to Zico was Honest Tea. Similarly to Sebastian, local brand manager Rosalie Troianello was more than happy to make Honest Tea one of the four carbon neutral exhibitors of the day. Honest Tea does have a fairly robust sustainable mission, and their supply chain and corporate ethos are well versed in both providing a great product, and also doing so in a socially and environmentally responsible manner. Honest Tea’s source map is a great example of supply chain transparency, and would lend itself to our Carbon Neutral Checkout® model that would allow Honest Tea to track, and then mitigate the carbon emissions, not just from their attendance at events like Earth Day Union Square, but for every bottle of tea they sell every day. Who knows, maybe one day we’ll see this as reality!

ECO-BAGS Products
We have a lot of love for ECO BAGS. Both ECO BAGS and CCC are NYC-based, both Certified B-Corporations. ECO BAGS founder Sharon Rowe has been in this space since the late ‘80’s and provides New Yorkers and people all around the world with a simple product that makes a world of difference. Using a reusable bag is one simple step anyone can take to make a positive change in their lives from both a greenhouse gas standpoint, as well as from a plastic pollution perspective. Many people don’t know that plastics are typically made from oil and that the millions of pounds of plastic pollution we create every year is essentially a large oil spill—it’s just translucent and crinkly, as opposed to black and sticky. ECO BAGS has been changing that story, one reusable bag at a time, since well before it was a big trend. It was thus no surprise that Sharon offsets her exhibit in a heartbeat. If I remember correctly her rationale was something along the lines of, “Duh, done.”

INNISFREE
Last, but certainly not least comes Innisfree. A subsidiary of Amore Pacific, Innisfree is a Korean beauty products manufacturer. They have a fairly robust Green Promise that covers a range of activities and commitments, from recycling, to sourcing mostly naturally-derived ingredients for product inputs, and a commitment to giving back to local communities. Their VP, Julien Bouzitat, much like the heads of the three other booths who offset their attendance, was delighted at the opportunity to mitigate the emissions from their booth (which was a well-staffed, extensive set up) and thought it was a no-brainer.

 

All told, what started out as a fairly dreary day, turned out to be one full of dedicated business owners and managers coming together to spread awareness to the great products and services they provide. Weather aside, it was great to get the opportunity to meet and work with everyone on a deeper level. We hope to keep in touch with these brands moving forward, and that in the not-too-distant future you’ll be able to purchase a carbon neutral bottle of tea or coconut water, a reusable tote bag, or a pallet of makeup from these vendors who may just be starting down their roads towards carbon neutrality.