2014 Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) Reporting Deadlines are Quickly Approaching

The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) is an international, non-profit organization providing the only global system for companies and cities to measure, disclose, manage and share vital environmental information. They work with market forces to motivate companies to disclose their impacts on the environment and natural resources and take action to reduce them.

If your organization has been invited to report to CDP, you will received an information request and an invitation to activate your online account. All responses to the CDP questionnaire must be submitted through the CDP online response system.

Climate Change Program

CDP’s climate change program works to reduce companies’ greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change risk. CDP believes that improving corporate awareness through measurement and disclosure is vital to the effective management of carbon and climate change risk.

They request information on the risks and opportunities of climate from the world’s largest companies on behalf of 767 institutional investor signatories with a combined US$92 trillion in assets. CDP then provides this information to its 767 institutional investor signatories, as well as distributing it throughout the global market place to increase transparency around climate-related investment risk and commercial opportunity, and drive investments towards a low carbon economy. Continue reading

Advertisements

7 Green Tips for your Garden

Image

The following tips are from “The Ultimate Guide to Greening your Home”.

There are several benefits of gardening.  In addition to producing nutritious, organic food for you and your family, gardening can also save you money and provide you with a relaxing, rewarding hobby.

✔ Select the location carefully – Selecting the location of your garden is one of the most important decisions you will make during the planning process.  When choosing a location, keep these factors in mind:

  • Select a location that gets several hours of direct sunlight every day.
  • Make sure the location has access to a water hose. Your plants they may need additional watering, especially when they are young.
  • Try to choose a location where the ground is level (not on a gradient), but also drains well).

✔ Grow foods to replace supermarket food – The most direct way to benefit from gardening is to replace the food that you usually buy in supermarkets with food that you grow in your own garden.  The food that you produce can be grown in an organic manner, will be more nutritious and better tasting and will save you money.

✔ Avoid using weed killers – Weeds can be an eyesore as well as a persistent source of additional work.  Although, the use of weed-killers should be avoided in almost all circumstances, especially in the presence of your garden.  Weed-killers contain toxic chemicals that cannot only kill your vegetables, but could find their way into your food and water supply.

To stay on top of your weed situation, consider the following:

  • Don’t disrupt or till unused ground – This will bring seeds to the surface, which given a bit of water and sunlight, will bloom into weeds.
  • Cover bare ground with mulch – Mulch not only helps keep moisture in the soil, but it also helps keep the sun away from the seeds that become weeds.
  • Weed by hand, often and early – By weeding often, you will catch weeds before they have an opportunity to flower (creating more weeds), and you catch them when they are young and easier to remove.

✔ Use organic pest and disease control – There are several effective organic pest and disease control option available at lawn and garden stores.  By using these, you again avoid the use of toxic chemicals.

✔ Grow plants suitable for your climate – Plants suitable for your climate will require less water and fertilizer than nonnative varieties.

✔ Use your own compost – Creating your own compost will not only reduce your household waste stream, but will also provide nutrients for your plants which will help them grow strong and healthy.  The following items can be used to make compost: kitchen waste, lawn clippings, chopped leaves, shredded branches, disease free garden plants, shredded paper, weeds (before they go to seed), straw, hay, newspaper, tea leaves, and coffee grounds.

Creating your own compost is a rather simple process.  You can purchase composting bins at lawn and garden stores, or make your own. Start with a layer of chopped leaves, grass clippings and kitchen waste. Keep adding materials until you have a six-inch layer, then cover it with three to six inches of soil, manure, or finished compost. Alternate layers of organic matter and layers of soil or manure until the pile is about three feet tall. A pile that is three feet tall by three feet square will generate enough heat during decomposition to sterilize the compost.

When your compost is ready, it can be mixed into the soil before planting or applied to the surface of the soil as a mulch. Keep the pile in a semi-shaded area to keep it from drying out too much. Keep it moist, but not wet. Beneficial organisms cannot survive in soggy conditions.

✔ Use organic soil amendments and fertilizers – Use of organic soil amendments and fertilizers avoids the use of toxic chemicals and provides a use for home compost materials.  Organic fertilizers can be found in most lawn and garden stores.

Top 10 Tips for Eating Green

The following in an excerpt from the book “The Ultimate Guide to Greening your Home“.

Making some simple changes to your food buying habits and food choices, can make a significant impact on the environment and your health.  Every food purchase you make is a ‘vote’ on how and where you want your food to be supplied.

✔ Eat less meat – Reducing the amount of animal products in your diet can prevent tons of greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) released a report in February of 2009 which concluded that livestock is responsible for 18% of our world global warming emissions. Yearly global meat production is projected to more than double from what it was at the turn of the century by 2050, which will only increase the associated global warming gases.

✔ When buying beef, look for organic and grass fed – Organically raised beef will have significantly lower levels of antibiotics and should have no growth hormones. The raising of grass-fed cows has a much lower environmental impact than that of corn-fed cows.

✔ Buy local foods – Buying food produced locally has several positive effects on the environment and your health.

  • Keeps local farmers working – Buying from a local farmer cuts out the middle man and keeps local farmers working. Investing in the local economy also helps ensure that future generations have access to local, flavorful, and abundant food.
  • Reduces food transportation – Food transportation is one of the largest and fastest-growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions on the planet. Some food items, which could be supplied locally, may travel thousands of miles to reach your supermarket.
  • Provides more nutritious foods – Local food tastes better and is better for you. Produce loses nutrients quickly. Food grown locally was likely picked within the last few days versus the last few weeks or longer. Locally raised meat is typically organic and free from growth hormones and other artificial fillers.

✔ Buy your packaged food in bulk – Buying your packaged food in bulk will reduce the total amount of packaging. Buying in bulk is also usually cheaper than buying small quantities. However, be sure not to buy too much.  If you are not able to eat all the food before its ‘best by’ date, this could result in spoilage or food waste.

✔ Buy FairTrade certified foods – The objective of the FairTrade Mark is to ensure that farmers and workers in developing countries receive a fair price for their products and that the conditions for the production and trade of a product are environmentally responsible. By buying food with the FairTrade mark, you are not only supporting farmers in developing countries, but you are also supporting sustainable farming practices.

✔ Make ocean-friendly seafood choices – Nearly 75% of the world’s fisheries are fished to capacity, or overfished. Our seafood choices have the power to make this situation worse, or improve it.  To avoid the ‘farm raised’ vs ‘wild caught’ question, which can get quite complicated, use a guide published by the Monterey Bay Aquarium at http://montereybayaquarium.com. The recommendation in their Seafood Selector considers the fishery, habitat, species, management, and several other factors to recommend the most sustainable choice.

✔ Before going to the store, plan ahead – Be sure to plan before going to the store to avoid multiple trips.  Also, while creating your shopping list, be sure to do some research on the most sustainable options (so you don’t have to make a quick decision in the store).

✔ Take your own shopping bags – Be sure to take your own shopping bag to the store with you.  Both plastic and paper bags have negative effects on the environment.  Neither paper or plastic is more environmentally friendly than the other, so it is best not to use either. Try to find a durable, reusable shopping bag made from either recycled or natural materials.

✔ If you are not sure where the food is from, ask – Before buying food in a supermarket or in a restaurant, be sure to know where it comes from.  There is a big difference in apples flown in from New Zealand than those raised locally.  If it is not clearly marked, ask.

✔ Look for free-range poultry products – When poultry products are marked as free-range (eggs, chicken, duck, etc.), you will know that they were not raised in inhumane conditions.

5 Tips to Green your Baby’s Nursery

Making sure your nursery is a nontoxic environment is especially important because newborns spend most of their life in the nursery—an average of 16 to 17 hours a day.

The following in an excerpt from the book “The Ultimate Guide to Greening your Home”.

By following the tips below, you can help ensure a safe, eco-friendly environment for your nursery.

✔ Paint with low- or no-VOC latex paint – Painting with low- or no-VOC paint may cost more than conventional paint but it will release fewer or no volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into your home.

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids including paints. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short and long-term adverse health effects. Concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors (up to ten times higher) than outdoors.  Continue reading

7 Green Tips for your Garden

The following tips are from “The Ultimate Guide to Greening your Home“.

There are several benefits of gardening.  In addition to producing nutritious, organic food for you and your family, gardening can also save you money and provide you with a relaxing, rewarding hobby.

✔ Select the location carefully – Selecting the location of your garden is one of the most important decisions you will make during the planning process.  When choosing a location, keep these factors in mind:

  • Select a location that gets several hours of direct sunlight every day.
  • Make sure the location has access to a water hose. Your plants they may need additional watering, especially when they are young.
  • Try to choose a location where the ground is level (not on a gradient), but also drains well). Continue reading

11 Tips for Green Lawn Care & Landscaping

The following tips are from “The Ultimate Guide to Greening your Home“.

By properly maintaining your lawn & landscaping, you cannot only save on your utility bills, but you can also save water and significantly reduce your family’s possible exposure to hazardous chemicals.

✔ Water wisely – If you need to water your lawn, consider the following tips:

  • Try to water early in the morning.  Watering early in the morning reduces the amount of water lost from evaporation.
  • If you have automatic sprinklers, be sure that all the water is being absorbed and not simply running off.
  • When watering, avoid paved surfaces.
  • Be sure to check your irrigation system for leaks several times during the growing season.
  • Install a evapotranspiration system to help regulate watering.
  • Consider replacing your above ground irrigation system with a subsurface drip system. Subsurface drip systems can be up 90 to 100% efficient. Continue reading