Author: 3Degrees Staff

At 3Degrees, we make it possible for businesses and their customers to take urgent action on climate change— providing renewable energy and carbon offset solutions to Fortune 500 companies, utilities, universities, green building firms and other organizations that are working to make their operations more sustainable. And as a certified B Corporation and eight-time winner of the EPA Green Power Supplier of the Year award, we’re primed to deliver custom clean power solutions that will help each organization make an environmental impact. Founded in 2007, 3Degrees is headquartered in San Francisco, California, with offices across the United States.

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

 

Reducing Scope 2 GHG Emissions at Home and Abroad

WhitePaper_international-latest

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.

 

California Bright Schools Solar Program

california-bright-schools

Solar Providing a Brighter Future for California Schools 

The California Bright Schools Program was born out of a vision to create a way for school districts to promote solar energy, save general fund dollars, and provide educational opportunities for students and teachers. This program helps to identify the most cost-effective energy saving opportunities and support the installation of photovoltaic solar systems on schools across the state.

The solar installations support curriculum that aligns with the state’s testing requirements and provides hands-on learning tools for schools. The panels installed on campuses bring daily attention to clean energy and provide a direct educational opportunity.

Schools that take part in the Bright Schools Program and implement energy efficiency initiatives are able to enjoy greater budget stability and predictability as a result of locking in long-term fixed electricity prices. Beyond the savings in energy costs provided by hosting these projects, the schools can also sell renewable energy certificates (RECs) generated by the systems, which help fund renewable energy education and provide an additional revenue stream to support school district operations.

The Milpitas Unified School District serves as a great example of how schools are directly benefiting from the Bright Schools Program. 3Degrees worked with the school district to help them build revenue through the sale of RECs generated from their solar system. As a participant in the Program, the district is expected to save $12 million over the portfolio’s lifespan.

 

3Degrees + renewable energy

certificates

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Sunny Knoll Farm Anaerobic Digester

Perry-New-York

Family-owned Farm Anaerobic Digester Project

Sunny Knoll is a family-owned farm with 1,200 milk cows located in Perry, New York. The project generates emission reductions by capturing and destroying methane gas that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere. Methane gas is a common byproduct of dairy farms, which traditionally manage manure and other organic waste by storing it in open wastewater lagoons. Since these lagoons are usually more than a few feet deep, this waste decomposes anaerobically over time, thereby producing methane. The installation of a digester to accelerate the decomposition and capture the resulting gas is one of the few technologies available to dairy farmers to avoid such methane emissions.

Digester projects are very expensive, especially at a small-scale farm like Sunny Knoll; carbon credits provide a very important stream of revenue to help make the projects economically viable. Sunny Knoll also harnesses the captured methane to generate electricity, enabling the farm to generate its own power and sell excess power to the grid. This helps the farm reduce operating costs and mitigate the impact of milk price fluctuation and other economic conditions.

Like most dairy digesters, this project also provides environmental and social co-benefits, including reducing water pollution that can result from nutrient runoff from wastewater lagoons and reducing odor in the local community.

Sunny Knoll Farm

3Degrees + carbon offsets

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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.

Pacific Power’s Blue Sky and 3Degrees

Over 125,000 customers participate in innovative renewable energy program

In 2000, Pacific Power, a regulated utility serving customers across a six state region, launched its Blue SkySM renewable energy program. The program was well-received and steadily gained customers in its early years.

By 2004, Pacific Power was offering three different products within the program and went in search of a third party marketing partner. The utility had a strong desire to reach more of their service area, particularly regions in Oregon beyond their most urban service areas, while continuing to steadily grow the program year over year and was looking for a partner to help them achieve these goals.

3Degrees was awarded the business and is now in its 6th consecutive contract with Pacific Power. The 3Degrees/Pacific Power partnership is a great example of what true collaboration and innovative thinking can do for a voluntary renewable energy program and the results tell a pretty powerful story. 

3Degrees and Pacific Power 

3Degrees has provided program management support, marketing, outreach across the six state service area and REC supply services for the largest product offering in Oregon. The program has grown to exceed 125,000 residential and business participants through a suite of award-winning marketing and customer outreach tactics and is consistently ranked as one of the top renewable energy programs in the country by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Klamath Falls Solar Farm

To address the unique challenges of selling a premium-priced renewable energy product to both rural and urban areas, across multiple states, serving a wide variety of customers with diverse motivations, 3Degrees and Pacific Power have developed a multi-pronged approach that focuses on:

1. Results-driven marketing plans:

Pacific Power and 3Degrees establish annual goals each year and then build a marketing plan that delivers on those objectives. Goals often include amplifying a core utility message, geo-targeting customers in a specific community and delivering on awareness or enrollment targets.

Portland thank you magazine ad

Thanks to 3Degrees’ subscription modeling, the program has always met or exceeded its targets for annual enrollments. As a result, it is entirely self-funded, which ensures the program can continue growing and delivering value for years to come.

2. Compelling products:

In 2016, 3Degrees took its innovative REC supply approach one step further by looking for new projects that needed long-term, premium REC purchase commitments to make the project viable. The team looked to identify renewable energy projects that had not yet been financed, worked with developers to determine the REC price needed to secure financing or get the project built and then signed long-term REC contracts to guarantee the income stream for multiple year periods.

This strategy drove the development of 51 megawatts (MWs) of additional renewable capacity in the state of Oregon, with the Huntington Wind project and Blue Basin Power, a solar project in southern Oregon. The ability to point to local projects that were developed directly from Blue Sky program participants’ support provides a unique and powerful messaging opportunity to both current and prospective program participants in the region.

Huntington Wind Farm

 

3. Customization:

The team recognizes that there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to compelling messaging for customers across all of Pacific Power’s regions. Thus, customization of marketing materials and message points is extremely important. To reach the 40 percent of Oregon customers living in Southern Oregon (an area that was previously under-enrolled), 3Degrees and Pacific Power worked to include RECs from a local landfill, established partnerships with local cities, and worked with Pacific Power to create campaigns leveraging local imagery and messaging. The results were an impressive 50 percent increase in participation over three years.

Targeted direct mail campaign

 

“We have worked hand-in-hand with the 3Degrees team for more than a decade; in that time they have helped us make our Blue Sky renewable energy program one of the top renewable energy programs in the country. 3Degrees’ expertise in program design and implementation has allowed us to continually evolve the Blue Sky program to keep it relevant to customers, the renewable energy market, and to the utility. We are proud to offer this program to our customers.”

–Berit Kling, Program Manager, Pacific Power Blue Sky

Etsy leads e-commerce toward carbon neutral shipping

Etsy-case-study-offset-shipping

Becomes first major online shopping destination to offset 100% of carbon emissions from shipping

etsy-logoetsy-carbon-goalsEtsy, the global marketplace for unique and creative goods, is committed to using the power of business to strengthen communities and empower people. As Etsy works to connect millions of buyers and sellers around the world and advances their mission of keeping commerce human, the company faces a unique set of challenges for managing carbon impacts and fostering responsible resource use.

Key challenges

Etsy is committed to building long-term climate resilience across their operations. They have set ambitious targets to power their offices and computing infrastructure with 100% renewable electricity and running zero waste operations by 2020. However, in 2018, 98% of Etsy’s carbon impact stemmed from items shipped from Etsy sellers to Etsy buyers. 

While these scope 3 emissions from shipping are outside of Etsy’s direct control, Etsy felt responsible to step up and take immediate action on behalf of the millions of buyers and sellers active in the Etsy marketplace.

To do this, Etsy sought to mitigate this carbon impact through verified emissions reductions – with an eye to catalyzing broader industry change. They have also identified a number of additional levers that they hope can drive carbon reduction longer term, including policy advocacy, vendor negotiation, and peer collaboration.

How we helped

3Degrees-approach-etsy-case-study

3Degrees helped Etsy to identify a portfolio of emission reduction projects to meet their desire for immediate action while fostering more sustainable shipping solutions for the future.

The key elements of the Etsy program designed by 3Degrees are:

  • Environmental integrity. This is the most fundamental aspect of the program design and a core element of every carbon offset sold by 3Degrees. Environmental integrity can generally be broken down into two main components: (a) “additionality,” the notion that the emission reductions would not have been achieved without the promise of funding from carbon offset sales, and (b) rigorous and conservative quantification of the actual emission reductions achieved. All 3Degrees projects are registered under internationally recognized standards maintained by not-for-profit environmental organizations, including the American Carbon Registry (ACR)Climate Action Reserve (CAR), Gold Standard, and Verified Carbon Standard (VCS). These standards require that project emission reductions are monitored and quantified on a regular basis and that this quantification and project additionality are independently verified by accredited third parties.
  • Impactful and unique projects to address GHG emissions. Leveraging 3Degrees’ proprietary project portfolio and experience addressing transportation emissions, Etsy’s initial investment is supporting four unique projects. Over time, Etsy’s emission reduction investments will support the development of new projects that provide similar impact.
    • UPM Blandin Native American Hardwoods Conservation Project, which reduces air pollution and increases the supply of sustainable forestry products. The Blandin Forest supports the continued conservation of nearly 20 million trees and up to 500,000 new trees will be planted this year.
    • Meridian magnesium project, which manufactures automotive parts that help lightweight vehicles and improve vehicle fuel efficiency. Carbon offsets are generated by reducing the use of SF6, a powerful greenhouse gas that is commonly used in magnesium production for automotive parts.
    • Giriraj Bundled Wind Power Project and The Solar Grouped Project by ACME, which generate clean, renewable wind and solar power, respectively, that displace electricity generated by traditional fossil fuel sources.
  • Strengthen communities. Etsy’s emission reduction projects provide co-benefits important to human health, well-being, and the livelihood of local communities. These projects (a) reduce local air pollution, (b) improve water quality and security and (c) promote biodiversity. The portfolio also includes projects that support renewable energy markets and transportation sector emission reductions.

“Etsy has a long-standing track record of working to reduce our environmental footprint. Our carbon neutral shipping initiative is a major milestone within our larger commitment to act urgently and aggressively in the fight against climate change. We are excited to partner with 3Degrees in order to support projects with a high level of environmental integrity that will evolve with our growing needs.”

–Chelsea Mozen, Sustainability Lead at Etsy

 

Results

etsy-results

 


Project Spotlight

UPM Blandin Native American Hardwoods Conservation Project

Investing in sustainable forest management

blandin-forestry-project

Photo: Richard Hamilton Smith

UPM Blandin Forestry manages 187,876 acres of native, mixed hardwood forests in Minnesota that supply timber to the UPM Blandin paper mill.  The company is committed to sustainable management of these acres and the resulting products. Blandin’s SmartForestrySM practices protect the diversity of natural forest communities, align management with ecological regimes, and reduce harvest impacts. All UPM-Blandin Forestland is Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI®) certified and all Blandin products are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) or Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC™).

In 2010, working with non-profit partners and the State of Minnesota, Blandin signed a conservation easement that grants public access in perpetuity, guarantees the property will always remain forest and that it will be managed under sustainable practices. This sustainable practice improves carbon dioxide sequestration by the forest which, in turn, is credited under the methodology.

Throughout the span of the carbon offset project, the property will remain a working forest that produces sustainable pulpwood, saw logs, and other high-value forest products for the regional forest industry. The forest supplies 17 facilities in Minnesota, supporting more than 3,200 working families and hundreds more in related businesses.

american-carbon-registry

Supporting Blandin’s conservation efforts provides important co-benefits for the local communities. This forest provides water quality protection, wildlife habitat, and recreation opportunities for the public. The forest protects a diverse suite of wildlife, including 30 miles of state designated trout streams, 47 species of birds, and over 30 species of mammals including black bear, grey wolf, and moose.

Standard: American Carbon Registry (ACR)

Co-Benefits: Improved local air quality, public use and recreation, biodiversity/habitat.

 

More on 3Degrees Carbon Offsets

UPM Blandin Native American Hardwoods Conservation Project

UPM-Blandin-Forestry-Conservation

UPM Blandin Native American Hardwoods Conservation Project

UPM Blandin Forestry manages 187,876 acres of native, mixed hardwood forests in Minnesota that supply timber to the UPM Blandin paper mill.  The company is committed to sustainable management of these acres and the resulting products. Blandin’s SmartForestrySM practices protect the diversity of natural forest communities, align management with ecological regimes, and reduce harvest impacts. All UPM-Blandin Forestland is Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI®) certified and all Blandin products are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) or Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC™).

In 2010, working with non-profit partners and the state of Minnesota, Blandin signed a conservation easement that grants public access in perpetuity, guarantees the property will always remain forest, and that it will be managed under sustainable practices. This sustainable practice improves carbon dioxide sequestration by the forest which, in turn, is credited under the methodology.

Throughout the span of the carbon offset project, the property will remain a working forest that produces sustainable pulpwood, saw logs, and other high-value forest products for the regional forest industry. The forest supplies 17 facilities in Minnesota, supporting more than 3,200 working families and hundreds more in related businesses.

Supporting Blandin’s conservation efforts provides important co-benefits for the local communities. This forest provides water quality protection, wildlife habitat, and recreation opportunities for the public. The forest protects a diverse suite of wildlife, including 30 miles of state designated trout streams, 47 species of birds, and over 30 species of mammals including black bear, grey wolf, and moose.

blandin-forestry-project

Photo: Richard Hamilton Smith

blandin-forestry-project

Photo: Richard Hamilton Smith

blandin-forestry-project

Photo: Richard Hamilton Smith

3Degrees + carbon offsets

View other project profiles or contact us.