As a sustainable green marketing firm, it’s only natural that we’d be a carbon-neutral operation too (pun intended). And it’s much easier than you might think.
I look at it like a voluntary tax, in some respects. I figure we can’t help but spew out carbon through our daily activities. So why not start an offset program ourselves? This way we can do our small part to help curb our impact on global warming.
Then I read about EcoAid, a carbon offset consultant and broker, joining Valley Forward here in Phoenix, and I dropped them a line to ask for help.
It’s a learning process, and we’re approaching our carbon neutrality through a number of steps starting at 50,000 feet.
- EcoAid has calculated our initial carbon footprint that is created by our 10,700-square-foot building in Phoenix. This number is based on an EPA average for buildings of our size in our desert climate. We have purchased $1,052 in carbon credits for a Michigan reforestation project. Ideally, we’re looking for something a little closer to home; like renewable solar energy in the desert, wind farms closer to the coast, or even reforestation in the Pacific Northwest (the forests of my youth). But Michigan will do for now.
- Next, EcoAid is performing a Carbon Management Plan for our entire agency. This plan reviews numerous sustainability practices, including our travel and telecommuting, paper and printer use, number of computers, lighting, AC settings, etc., creating an even more exact carbon footprint for our green marketing firm.
- Step three examines the carbon created through our film and video production services. Since we hire large shoot crews outside of our office, and often find ourselves on location, we need to account for the carbon created through these productions in addition to our day-to-day agency operations. We will pay for these carbon offsets out of our own pocket, and we always invite vendors and clients to participate if they like, but it certainly is not mandatory.
- The fourth step is a complete energy audit of our facility to determine how we can make the agency more energy efficient.
- Step five is working with Solar City and other solar providers in Arizona to bring solar to our building and agency.
Each of these projects are underway. It’s important to note that making your office more sustainable doesn’t happen over night. It’s a process. An inspiration to get our process rolling is Deborah Fleischer of Green Impact. I wrote a post about her approach to activating a sustainability project in your office a while back: “How to Get Your Sustainability Project Rolling.” The post offers a few of her insights and a handful of books she recommends.
I will continue to share with you what we learn about becoming and maintaining a carbon-neutral ad agency. Please let me know if you have any questions along the way, and I will do my best, with EcoAid’s help, to answer them.
Tomorrow, Brendan Cook from EcoAid writes a guest post about clearing the air on carbon offsetting and carbon credits (Can’t help myself). Do you have a question for Brendan or me? Please ask in the comment section below.
BTW, we have 1,500 square feet now available in our beautiful little building at 44th street and Indian School road, in case you know of anyone looking for a fun, creative campus atmosphere.