Author: Karen Healey

Karen Healey is a marketing director at 3Degrees. She has worked in sustainability marketing for the past ten years, on topics such as green transportation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy.

Reducing Scope 2 GHG Emissions at Home and Abroad

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Businesses across the globe are increasing their efforts to reduce their carbon footprints. For many, it’s clear how to do this in their home country, but less so when they try to reduce emissions associated with their overseas operations. 

3Degrees recently released a white paper that explains some of the most common international options, where each option is available, and how to ensure that investments follow the WRI Greenhouse Gas Protocols.

The white paper covers topics such as:

  • Methods for calculating Scope 2 emissions
  • Reducing global emissions
  • Quality criteria for Scope 2 emissions reductions

Want to learn more? Check out our white paper.

 

GreenTrees: reforestation project

GreenTrees: reforestation project

Trees and forests have been an important resource since the beginning of mankind. For centuries, trees have been used for heat, shelter and a variety of other needs. In all cases, trees were cut down to be of benefit. More recently, we have discovered that trees are also an important resource when left standing.

The Mississippi Alluvial Valley (MAV) has been called North America’s Amazon because of the fertility of its soil and the animal and plant life it supports. This is a vital ecosystem for 60% of all migrating American bird species and multiple endangered species. But development and farming have led to significant deforestation of the MAV; today only 20% of the original forest remains.

The GreenTrees project is working to turn that tide. This project works with local farmers to convert marginal croplands back into forests. To date, they have planted over 30 million trees on 120,000 acres in partnership with 500 landowners. The project uses an innovative approach where they plant fast growing cottonwoods with slower growing hardwood seedlings. The cottonwoods shade the hardwoods, accelerating their growth and thus the carbon capture and habitat development.  

In addition to the carbon offsets created from the carbon dioxide absorbed by these trees, this project creates a number of additional benefits:

+ Reduced nitrogen and phosphorus runoff 

+ Improved water quality and improved flood control

+ Additional revenue for farmers

+ Jobs created in local communities

+ Habitat creation for migratory bird populations

WHAT’S A FORESTRY CARBON CREDIT?

Carbon offsets from forestry projects are created when one metric ton of carbon dioxide is absorbed by the forest. As trees grow, they absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through photosynthesis. Forestry carbon offsets are measured through a robust protocol of forest monitoring and scientific verification.

3DEGREES + CARBON OFFSETS

At 3Degrees, we are committed to bringing high quality carbon offset projects to the market, providing our customers with unique and meaningful projects.

The do’s and don’ts of marketing your renewable energy purchase

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For a variety of reasons, companies are increasingly buying renewable energy as a way to reduce their carbon footprint. After making this investment, many companies want to share the news of their environmental commitment with interesting stakeholders including customers, employees, investors, and environmental organizations. Done well this can help a company improve employee and customer satisfaction, garner positive press and enhance their brand value. Done poorly, a company runs the risk of brand damage, accusations of greenwashing, and may be subject to fines if in violation of federal or local regulation.

This white paper shows you how to avoid those pitfalls and provides clear, concise guidance to all organizations that want to accurately communicate their actions to support renewable energy.

Download the white paper to learn:

  • What is an environmental claim?
  • Who regulates market claims around renewable energy?
  • Guidelines for making an accurate claim.
  • Examples of potentially troublesome marketing claims.
  • Common areas of confusion.

The source of this white paper is a webinar series for the EDF Climate Corps fellows.  EDF Climate Corps is a summer fellowship program that embeds trained graduate students inside leading organizations to accelerate clean energy projects. We thank EDF for allowing us to share this content with a wider audience. 

Learn more about renewable energy certificates and power purchase agreements.

Or contact us.

Dempsey Ridge: Wind Farm Project

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Dempsey Ridge: wind energy farm

The Dempsey Ridge wind project is located in Beckham and Roger Mills counties, in western Oklahoma, approximately 10 miles southwest of Cheyenne. The wind energy farm sits on over 7,500 acres of agricultural and grazing land. The project has a capacity of 132 MW, consisting of 66 wind turbines.

This project is also known as the “Big Smile” wind farm, named after an employee of the project developer who lost a battle with cancer.  

Environmental and Social Benefits

The Dempsey Ridge Wind Farm provides a number of environmental and social benefits to its community and the larger region. First, the project provides enough clean energy to power 46,000 homes. Further, each year, this renewable wind energy source saves the planet from nearly 339, 000 metric tons of carbon dioxide.

The Wind Farm also created over 150 temporary jobs during construction and the on-going operation of the wind farm has created 13 new full-time, skilled local jobs. The project will generate more than $20 million in tax revenue for Roger Mills County and will provide supplemental income to participating agricultural landowners through its 99 lease agreements.

3Degrees + carbon offsets

Learn more about renewable energy certificates or to view other project profiles

Or contact us.

Scenic View Dairy: Methane Digester Project

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Scenic View Dairy: methane digester project

The Scenic View Dairy has been operating since 1985. Owned by Brian Geerlings, this farm, which is located about an hour from Grand Rapids, Michigan, is home to approximately 2,200 milking cows, 1,500 heifers and 10,000 grow-finish swine. Prior to the digester project, as on many other farms, the manure at this facility was stored in an open lagoon and field-applied seasonally. Manure decomposes anaerobically in open lagoons, resulting in large amounts of methane gas, a very potent greenhouse gas.

With the dairy methane digester in place, manure is now taken from the barns and gravity-fed to the digesters where the methane is captured and used for energy production. The potential sale of carbon offsets helped make the Scenic View methane digester system financially feasible. The digester system was installed and first came online in June 2006. Scenic View Dairy was the first commercial facility in North America to generate both pipeline-grade methane and electricity from animal waste.

Environmental and Social Benefits

The methane produced from this system is utilized to generate electricity for on-farm use. Excess power is sold to the power grid for the use of the community.

Other benefits of the system include: utilizing the separated solids as animal bedding, reducing the odor of the effluent, and producing sustainable energy for the farm and local community (600 homes). The farm is also saving money on heating costs, bedding costs, and solids disposal.

For more info on Scenic View, check out this video.

3Degrees + carbon offsets

Learn more about renewable energy certificates or to view other project profiles

Or contact us.

For fourth year, 3Degrees is named Best Trading Company by Environmental Finance

3Degrees was recently named the 2017 Best Trading Company in Renewable Energy Certificates (REC) – North America for the 4th year in a row by Environmental Finance magazine. These awards honor the expertise and ingenuity of the leading brokers, traders and intermediaries in environmental markets worldwide and are based on a survey of customers and peers.

“It is an honor to be recognized once again by our partners, customers and peers and a testament to the hard work, integrity and creativity of our entire team,” says Scott Eidson, vice president of environmental markets. “Our work – and the work of everyone in our industry – is key to continuing to our ongoing fight against climate change.”

3Degrees offers products and services across the globe and it is our extensive industry knowledge and focus on high-touch customer service that keeps hundreds of energy suppliers and buyers returning to 3Degrees each year. “In today’s volatile markets, our steadfast focus on building strong relationships that create value has served our partners extremely well,” says Eidson.

3Degrees recently celebrated our 10 year anniversary and has transacted more than 130 million megawatt-hours of renewable energy. Overall, this is the sixth time 3Degrees has earned a top designation by Environmental Finance readers in this category.

3Degrees helps BART negotiate two new renewable energy projects

Rigorous process allows BART to procure cost effective renewable energy

3Degrees is proud to be a part of BART’s historic commitment to long term renewable energy through two power purchase agreements. BART, the fifth largest rapid transit system in the US, serves San Francisco and surrounding communities. Working with the Sustainability Group at BART, our team developed and managed the solicitation process, evaluating bids from over 30 project developers. 3Degrees was also responsible for significant quantitative analysis and qualitative project and supplier assessment, allowing the team to identify those projects that provided both the best value and the best fit for BART’s unique energy needs.

“3Degrees was instrumental in providing both in-depth quantitative analysis along with real-world expertise that allowed us to quickly zero in on the best opportunities for BART,” said Holly Gordon, Sustainability Group Manager at BART, “Their team was invaluable in helping us make strategic procurement decisions in a dynamic and changing marketplace.”

The 3Degrees’ team worked closely with BART throughout contract negotiations and helped to finalize the agreements, providing key risk mitigation recommendations and solutions.

“3Degrees is proud to be a part of BART’s work on combating climate change,” says Kourtney Nelson, Director in 3Degrees’ Energy & Climate Practice. “As a leader in the transportation sector, they have now set the bar for their peers.”

These projects, which are expected to come online by 2021, will provide about 90% of BART’s electricity needs, far exceeding BART’s goal of getting 50% of their energy from renewable sources by 2025. In addition, these projects will help both lower and stabilize BART’s energy costs.

 

For fourth year, 3Degrees recognized as a Bay Area Best and Brightest

Initiatives around Diversity and Inclusion and Work-Life Balance recognized

3Degrees announced today that it was named a 2017 San Francisco Bay Area Best and Brightest Company, which recognizes companies that provide superior work environments for their employees. The results are based on an employee survey and a review of HR practices. This year, the award highlighted 3Degrees’ focus on diversity and inclusion as well as the organization’s attention to appropriate work-life balance.

“We consider improving diversity within our workforce and our industry to be of strategic importance,” said CEO Steve McDougal. “We know we have a lot more to do, but our proud to be recognized for our progress.”  

3Degrees is known for creative human resource practices and more recently has been acknowledged for its efforts around inclusion.  As a global organization with a large part-time and seasonal workforce, the company has a long history of creating a culture that supports work-life balance through flexible work arrangements, an innovative leave policy and paid volunteer hours.

In the past year, 3Degrees has increased its focus on diversity and inclusion. An employee-led committee has organized several training sessions for employees and is currently managing an equity audit that will allow us to determine priorities for the coming year. In addition, this year, 3Degrees became a sponsor of Energy Scholars, a program that helps encourage women and minorities consider careers in renewable energy.

See a list of available jobs on our careers page.

Insights from European sustainability conferences

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3Degrees has been spanning the globe in recent weeks to connect with organizations that are at the forefront of sustainability and climate change action.

We attended several conferences across Europe and wanted to share some of our key takeaways and common themes that we have been hearing.

We attended the following conferences:

  • Sustainable Aviation Summit, October 3-5, Geneva
  • Companies vs Climate Change, October 4-6, Brussels
  • Responsible Supply Chain Summit, October 17-18, London

Here is what we heard:

  • Supply chain is seen as the next area of opportunity. At both the Supply Chain Summit (obviously) and at Companies vs Climate Change, there was a clear recognition that Scope 3 (supply chain) emissions are the most challenging to address. While more companies are reporting, training, and auditing, there was a lot of interest in implementing initiatives that achieve measurable results. We have seen this desire for ideas on how to make real progress from both clients and prospects. As a result, we have partnered with CDP, Smithfield Foods, and Akamai on a webinar focused on concrete actions that can be taken today around supply chain emissions. The webinar is October 26, but if you miss it, you can can still get a copy of the recording.  
  • European firms are very focused on Sustainable Development Goals. One of our key takeaways from all of these conferences is how central Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are for European companies – in a way that is not the case for most U.S. based companies as of yet. As a reminder, SDGs are a set of 17 goals, created by the United Nations in 2015, that tackle a range of issues from hunger, to gender inequality, to climate change. Many companies are using these goals as a guidepost for their sustainability strategies. 
  • Carbon offsets are a hot topic. At both the Aviation Summit and Companies vs Climate Change there was a lot of talk about carbon projects. By and large, the companies that were investing in carbon offsets were focused on projects that support communities in the developing world and offer storytelling opportunities. An open question remains on if there will be enough charismatic projects to meet demand when the airline industry carbon offset requirements go in effect (voluntary starting in 2021, required after 2026). This is something that our own carbon markets team is working on as they look to bring more boutique projects into our portfolio.

Overall, across all the conferences, it became clear that European companies are very focused on carbon neutrality (as opposed to just a percent emission reduction) and the opportunities this creates for improvements in their operations and supply chains. This momentum in Europe should drive companies in other parts of the world to become fast followers, learning from their counterparts on how to make material progress on climate change.  

Three key takeaways from VERGE 2017

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VERGE 2017 took place last week. As a conference that promotes itself as where “technology meets sustainability” it had a wide mandate with topics ranging from smart infrastructure and circular economy, to connected transportation and mobility, to renewable energy procurement. About half the schedule was dedicated to large plenary presentations, with the balance of the time in multi-track breakout sessions. And many times, it was difficult to decide what breakouts to attend – a good problem to have.

I was fortunate enough to attend the conference, along with several of my colleagues. Not surprisingly, I was most focused on attending sessions related to renewable energy. So, with that in mind, here are a few of my key takeaways from the conference:

  • The market needs education about renewable energy procurement options I saw and heard considerable interest in corporates buying renewable energy – it was one of the most popular sessions I attended. And because the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA) was meeting in the days ahead of VERGE, there were many sophisticated companies in the room. But there is a gulf between the handful of market players actively making long term investments in renewable energy and the vast majority that don’t have the necessary load, or balance sheet, or internal knowledge needed to do so. There is clearly opportunity to innovate and educate.
  • It’s very early days in discussions about blockchain technology: The break out sessions on this topic were packed, but the panelists and the audience represented a very wide range of understanding about how and where blockchain technology might be relevant. One panelist stated: “Just because you could use blockchain doesn’t mean you should. Maybe you just need a spreadsheet.” With use cases still far and few between, the key question for now seems to be how to know what you need.
  • We need a positive message about our environmental challenges. Jon Foley, executive director of California Academy of Sciences spoke passionately about the need to change the conversation about climate change. We need to speak about hope not fear; solutions, not problems; collaboration not conflict. To help reframe the conversation, the museum is launch Planet Vision in January. The goal is to paint a clear and optimistic vision about how we can tackle some of the most pressing environmental problems we have including food, water and energy. 

Overall, I left the conference energized and excited to be part of defining what is next at the intersection of technology and sustainability.