Author: Ruth Moorman

How Verisk is Successfully Addressing Emissions from its International Energy Load

Sunset with transmission towers

verisk challengesVerisk is a leading data analytics provider with a focus on the insurance, energy, and financial services industries. Since several of the company’s business lines involve analysis of the effects of climate change, Verisk is highly attuned to the urgency of this challenge and has a strong commitment to environmentally responsible business practices. In 2017, Verisk approached 3Degrees to help it develop and execute a plan to address its global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through investments in energy attribute certificates and carbon offsets.

Challenges

Though the company is headquartered in New Jersey, Verisk’s energy load is heavily decentralized among offices in approximately 20 countries. The offices are leased not owned, often relatively small, and frequently situated in multi-tenant buildings, which makes it very difficult to address renewable energy needs directly. To add a layer of complexity, several of the company’s international locations are in markets with very limited, or newly developing, renewable energy instrument options. Finally, Verisk saw that a renewable energy purchasing commitment was consistent with the expectations of its stakeholders, and had the potential to positively influence employee job satisfaction, retention, and attraction. To strengthen this connection to employees, Verisk specifically requested that at least some of the projects be located in places where many of its 7,000+ employees would appreciate the connection.

3Degrees was undaunted by these criteria. With extensive experience navigating global energy markets and tailoring solutions to fit our clients’ specific needs, we were confident we could craft a high quality, cost-competitive renewable energy purchasing plan to achieve Verisk’s goals.

How we helped

We began by conducting an in-depth assessment of all available EACs in each market where Verisk’s various businesses have load. Because many of these markets offered limited or new, and therefore less familiar, options, 3Degrees performed detailed due diligence down to the project level.

After assessing the best options in each market that balanced cost with quality, we were able to propose and transact on a diversified portfolio approach of EACs and carbon offsets (when renewable energy was unavailable or did not make strategic sense in a market) that allowed Verisk to address its electricity emissions in each of the following countries:

Verisk world map

Results

By executing a portfolio of high quality EACs and carbon offsets, Verisk achieved its goal of supporting renewable energy in the areas around the world where it conducts business and where the vast majority of its employees live and work. Importantly, this investment also enabled the company to demonstrate its commitment to climate action to its stakeholders, including its employees. Verisk has now made this commitment for five years (2017-2021), and expects to continue exploring renewable energy options beyond that.

“We were happy to work with 3Degrees to create a portfolio of EACs and carbon offsets to address our electricity emissions around the world. Given our decentralized footprint, it was important to us that we work with an experienced advisor. The team was highly knowledgeable and we felt very comfortable with the recommendations they proposed.”

— Pat McLaughlin, Senior VP and Chief Sustainability Officer, Verisk

3Degrees is again named Best REC Trading Company – North America by Environmental Finance

North America RECs trading award

3Degrees has been named the 2019 Best Trading Company in Renewable Energy Certificates (REC) – North America for the sixth year in a row by Environmental Finance. This is the 20th anniversary of the Environmental Finance Annual Marketing Rankings, the largest and most closely watched survey of the world’s environmental markets. 

“Receiving this award once again is incredibly meaningful to our team, who works hard every day to meet the needs of our partners and customers, and deliver an exceptional quality of service,” said Scott Eidson, vice president of environmental markets. “It’s extremely rewarding to be a part of an industry that’s doing such important work in the fight against climate change.”

For over 15 years, 3Degrees has provided tailored renewable energy, transportation, and emission reduction solutions to our clients, and helped them source high-quality, country-specific renewable energy products around the globe.  An award-winning B Corp, 3Degrees has delivered more than 170 million RECs and GOs to clients, and supported more than 2,000 facilities.

This is the ninth time the company has earned a top designation by Environmental Finance readers in this category. Learn more at 3Degrees.com.

MOM’s Organic Market: Leading the Way in Grocer Sustainability

MOMs-case-study

Mom's Organic MarketMOM’s Organic Market has a long history of environmental stewardship. In 1987, founder Scott Nash recognized the demand for organic food and its vast benefits for our environment and fighting climate change. He decided to start a company to deliver on that need in a way that demonstrates responsible and sustainable business practices. Today, MOM’s has stores in four states and Washington, D.C. and has created a culture centered on its purpose to protect and restore the environment.

Consistent with this culture, MOM’s has matched its total electricity with renewable energy since 2005. The company also practices strict energy and packaging efficiency at all locations, installed on-site solar in three locations, and has a 1.5-megawatt off-site solar farm in Kingsville, MD, which supports approximately 25% of its total power needs. But MOM’s was eager to make an even greater impact and enlisted the support of 3Degrees to further evolve its renewable energy strategy and help build plans to address the company’s long term climate goals.

Challenges

MOM’s Organic Market has a lean sustainability team with ambitious environmental goals. In addition to the on-site solar that had already been installed on several of the company’s facilities, MOM’s had matched the remainder of its Scope 2 emissions with high-quality, certified renewable energy credits. However, in order to gain access to a more competitive REC market and open up additional funds to reinvest in broader high impact sustainability initiatives, MOM’s turned to 3Degrees to help support its renewable energy sourcing.

Demonstrating an even deeper commitment to environmental sustainability, MOM’s launched its “CARbon OFFset” campaign to address the emissions generated by the retailer’s customers traveling to and from its stores. Armed with the store-level zip code data collected annually, MOM’s turned to 3Degrees to help process this data, determine CO2 equivalencies, and invest in high-quality carbon offset projects to cover the total output of their customers’ tailpipe emissions.

The 3Degrees team helped MOM’s craft a plan that would address both the company’s renewable energy and carbon reduction goals, while meeting its business and financial criteria.

How we helped

Renewable Energy

3Degrees developed a portfolio of Green-e certified wind facilities across the United States that would allow MOM’s to support renewable energy generation by purchasing enough zero-emitting wind RECs to cover the remainder of emissions from its electricity use.

Carbon Offset Projects

In order to offset its customers’ carbon footprint, MOM’s had to first measure the emissions created from their shopping trips. Every year, the company collects zip code information in store and calculates the average distance customers traveled, then multiplies that by the annual customer count across its 19 stores. 3Degrees uses this information to calculate the equivalent carbon emissions associated with this travel, then identifies high-quality, third-party verified carbon reduction projects to offset these emissions.

Today MOM’s Organic Market invests in a variety of different carbon reduction project types across the United States including landfill methane capture, anaerobic digester (manure methane capture), and emissions capture from U.S. coal mines. These projects all prevent potent greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere and reduce MOM’s overall carbon footprint from its business operations.

Results

Since becoming a 3Degrees customer in 2015, MOM’s Organic Market has:

  • Purchased more than 47,600 wind RECs to match its direct electricity emissions
  • Prevented more than 225M pounds of CO2 from being released into the environment

MOM’s Organic Market continues to investigate new technologies and avenues to further reduce its impact on the environment. Its environmental commitment and associated sustainability initiatives have also translated into strong customer satisfaction ratings and customer loyalty.

Mom's case study impact

 

“Being an environmentally-focused company not only helps the world be a better place, it also helps our business’s bottom line by increasing employee morale and customer loyalty. With expanding options for solar and renewable energy, we hope other businesses follow suit.”

–Scott Nash, MOM’s Organic Market, CEO/Founder

 

Saint Louis University Achieves Renewable Energy Milestone

SLU is Missouri’s first institution of higher education to commit to match all electricity used in student residence halls with renewable energy through the Ameren Missouri Pure Power® Program.

Founded in 1818, Saint Louis University (SLU) is one of the oldest and most prestigious Catholic universities in the nation. 2018 marks its bicentennial and to continue the 200-year commitment to serve a higher purpose while always seeking the greater good, a student-led sustainability initiative was started four years ago to lead the effort to reach this milestone.

To match electricity used in residence halls, SLU purchased Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) from Midwest wind farms through the Ameren Missouri Pure Power Program. By purchasing these RECs, SLU is able to prove that renewable energy was generated and added to the grid, and in turn, bolsters the renewable energy industry as a whole.

The initiative was headed by Douglas Fritz, now a senior who founded the student group, Green Billikens, and who also co-chairs the Sustainability Committee for the Student Government Association. “We made it happen during our bicentennial year, creating a campaign around sustainability that focuses on making our campus greener for the next 100 years,” Fritz said. “Pure Power is one of the many ways Ameren Missouri is providing affordable choices for customers who support and want to grow renewable energy in the Midwest,” said Tom Thompson, supervisor of energy services at Ameren Missouri.

3Degrees Business Development Manager, Debra Pottinger, worked closely with SLU to bring this project to fruition. Pottinger notes “During the first year, SLU will create the demand for 8,004 megawatt hours of electricity to be generated by Midwest Wind Farms and added to the Midwest power pool.”

By The Numbers

Greenhouse Gas Equivalents:

+ 1,427 vehicles off the road for a year or
+ 173,173 trees planted or
+ 239,496 incandescent bulbs switched to LED

Photo Credit: photo provided by Saint Louis University – Sustainability initiative leaders include (L to R) Laura Beilsmith, Green Billikens president, Douglas Fritz, Green Billikens founder & co-chair of the SGA Sustainability Committee, Laju Sudhakar, president of the Residence Hall Association and Antonio Hornstein, chair of the Green Billikens Renewable Energy Working Group.