8. View climate positive tree planting site

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

This link will take you to a map and photograph of the Climate Positive tree planting site in the Strzelecki Ranges in Victoria. Able are one of the organisations sponsering the replanting of the site.

Link to Climate Positive planting site in Balook

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7. Upping the ante - we are offsetting 130 % of our emissions

Monday, June 18, 2007

After meeting with the organization Climate Positive last week, we have decided to take a further step in developing our environmental program.

Instead of only investing in trees, we have elected to  offset our CO2 emissions ( currently  about 1100 tonnes per year of CO2) via a range of methods including methane flaring, and the distribution of CFC lights and  water saving shower heads.

In addition to these steps we are also planting permanent trees ( not plantation timber)   which will equate to a 30% surplus in our total carbon offset.

The philosophy is that the CFC's, water saving shower heads and methane flaring will provide immediate CO2 relief, while the trees provide a long term surplus effect.

By investing in a surplus of offsets, we are looking to do more to help reverse  the  trend of escalating CO2 in our atmosphere.

See our new monthly confirmation letter below in the offset certificate area.

Link to the climate postive site



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6. GreenEarth - Electricity

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Originenergy Today we signed up for GreenEarth electricity through origin energy.

This power source has received Australian Government approved "Green Power" accreditation.

All of the power that we use in our office and warehouse is now a combination of wind and hydro.

By taking this measure we are reducing our reliance on fossil fuel energy and emitting less carbon dioxide.

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CO2 offset certificates

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Each month we are funding trees to be planted in the Mallee and Strzelecki Ranges and investing in carbon offsets to the value of 130 % of our CO2 emissions.

Ableplasticsaprilcertifi Climatepositiveable_invoiAbleplasticsmaycertifica Able_certificate_june07_2Climate_positive_able_certificate_aAble_certificate_july07

Able_certificate_sep07  Able_certificate_oct07Able_certificate_nov07_2Able_certificate_dec072_2  Climate_positive_certificates__ma_2

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5. Staff enlightenment !

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Today we ordered compact fluorescent kits for all of our team members to take home. 

(available through easy being green and ecovantage )

These lights are more expensive to buy than regular incandescent light globes but they use a fraction of the energy. With time, each light  saves an enormous amount of energy, CO2 and money.


Able will offset the carbon dioxide saved by our team members ( by using the lights that we buy for them) against the carbon dioxide that we generate in our normal business activities.

Our team members will receive 6 free lights  which will reduce their power bills by up to $150 per annum.

Note - if you want to buy these fabulous little lights make sure that you remember to find out whether you need bayonet tip or screw tip.

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4. "From little things, big things grow"

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Today we made our first contribution to Trees for Life.     

Our offset was for approximately 79 tonnes of carbon dioxide. We will be making offsets like this on a monthly basis.

Hand_and_seedling_2We have invested in the current planting season, the trees are to be protected by covenant for a period of 70 years.

At least 4 species of trees are to be planted, we will furnish more details of  the site and the particular habitat being created over the coming weeks.

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3. carbon neutral motif to add to logo

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

We're interested to hear what you think of the new addition to the logo, please comment using the comments button below.

To reflect the initiative of becoming carbon neutral, we have added a new carbon nuetral motif to the able logo.

You may have guessed that the motif is a leaf, representing new growth, reflecting new awareness in moving towards sustainability  and literally illustrating the action of planting trees to offset the carbon dioxide generated as a business.


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2. Carbon neutral status - moving forward

Monday, April 02, 2007

Today I met with Bruce and Damien from Ecovantage. They are environmental scientists and have launched Ecovantage with a vision of helping households, schools, businesses and organisations reduce their carbon emissions and save water.

After an initial meeting a few weeks ago, we asked Ecovantage to independently  audit our business to calculate our carbon footprint. ( a carbon footprint is simply how much CO2 a companies' activities are generating)

Here's what they came up with;

electricity, cars, staff, travel, flights:    54.5 tonnes over the  last 12 months

manufacturing and transporting products: 1083 tonnes over the last 12 months

It certainly seems like a big number for a relatively small company. It was interesting that  the paper products that we sell, actually emit more CO2 in their manufacturing and transport than the plastic products.  Be that as it may, the task at hand is to offset this CO2.

Bruce and Damien explained that there are a variety of methods to offset CO2 including;

1. Requesting renewable energy from your power company

Renewable energy is primarily generated from solar and wind sources. Hydro (ie, the  snowy  river scheme) is also a renewable source, however, to qualify for an offset, the hydro plant needs to have been built after the mid 1990's.   

It also seems that green energy packages vary greatly in their environmental integrity.

On the face of it, the greenelectricitywatch  site provides a brilliant comparison of green energy from a myriad of suppliers.

This site does not shrink away from calling out  products making environmental claims which are having little or no positive impact on the environment. Electricity packages from different companies are graded on a 1 to 5 star rating system and are listed in order of merit.

The chart below is from the site on 3/4/2007


Ecovantage will be making contact with Origin Energy on our behalf. Origin Energy rated very highly in the rankings. It probably makes good business sense for them, it appears that in the past year, green energy has increased from 3 % to 12 % of total electricity supplied in Australia.

2. Purchasing RECs (renewable energy certificates)

Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), also known as Green tags, Renewable Energy Credits, or Tradable Renewable Certificates (TRCs), are the property rights to the environmental benefits from generating electricity from renewable energy sources. These certificates can be sold and traded and the owner of the REC can legally claim to have purchased renewable energy. While traditional carbon  emissions trading programs promote low-carbon technologies by increasing the cost of emitting carbon, RECs incentivize carbon-neutral renewable energy by providing a subsidy to electricity generated from renewable sources.

In states which have a REC program, a green energy provider (such as a wind farm) is credited with one REC for every 1,000 kWh of electricity it produces (for reference, an average residential customer consumes about 300 kWh in a month). A certifying agency gives each REC a unique identification number to make sure it doesn't get double-counted. The green energy is then fed into the electrical grid (by mandate), and the accompanying REC can then be sold on the open market.)

3. Buying carbon offset credits from a company that supplies products that displace reliance on electricity

Products such as energy efficient light globes and  water saving showerheads reduce electricity consumption and thus reduce the generation of carbon dioxide.

Easy being green are a company that distribute these items.


Since 2004, their products distributed by them have had the following impact;

* Reduced 620,000 tonnes of CO2 pollution per year, the equivalent to taking 150,000 cars off the road.

* Saved 5.8 gigalitres of water – the equivalent to 2500 Olympic sized swimming pools.

* Saved households $32.3 million off their energy bills.

That in my mind is a great effort. Easy being green, like the energy companies, are businesses rather than non profit organisations. The beauty of easy being greens' business model is that they give away energy saving packs (including the globes and showerheads) free of charge.

4. Planting trees

My lovely girlfriend and I travelled to the  WOMAD World Music festival in Adelaide a few weeks ago and visited displays run by trees for life and ACBI.

below: the Womad festival


These two companies plant trees on land that they legally protect via covenant for 70 to 100 years.

The criteria for selecting native trees and grasses to plant on a  site, are that the species were previously growing in the area. Many of these sites are regarded as being "stressed" by either wind or water erosion and or salinity. Planting trees is seen to benefit these issues in addition to the trees' role in storing carbon dioxide.


It struck me as an important piece in the climate change jig saw that in South Australia's Murray Darling Basin alone, 15 billion trees have been cleared during the last 150 years. There is mounting evidence that forests of trees create their own weather.

As an indication that there is growing big business interest in offsetting carbon dioxide by planting trees, on the ACBI site there is discussion of Mitsubishi manufacturing a model of car for which the carbon generated by all inputs and processes is to be offset by planting trees.


And while British satellite operator BSkyB has become carbon neutral and there is now serious discussions underway to make Rupert Murdoch's entire News Corporation empire carbon neutral.

Source: The Financial Times

Rupert Murdoch, the 75-year-old chairman and chief executive of  News Corporation, is planning to push all parts of his media empire to become environmentally friendly, using the strategies put in place by his son and heir James. Mr Murdoch said at a conference organised by Bill Clinton, former US president, that climate change was important and he was planning to put in place strategies across his News Corp media business to tackle it. News Corp owns newspapers in the UK, Australia and the US, the Fox News Channel , 20th Century Fox studios and numerous television stations in the US, operations in India and China and also internet assets, such as popular social networking site MySpace . "We're going to be absolutely carbon neutral" across News Corp's businesses, Mr Murdoch said, adding he was "examining" how to eliminate emissions "in every country where we are".

Becoming carbon neutral involves reducing greenhouse gas emissions and "offsetting" the rest by investing in projects such as windfarms or forests that reduce carbon dioxide emissions. James, widely regarded as the likely heir to Mr Murdoch, has taken on climate change as a key issue. Mr Murdoch's adoption of his son's strategy is seen as a further sign that James is starting to influence his father.

Thats very interesting, as a country which is becoming an elephant in the clmate change  room, I also wonder what China's view on offseting CO2 is.


When we reviewed the options for offsetting carbon with ecovantage, we decided to break our offsets into two parts;

for electricity, cars, staff, travel and flights amounting to 54.5 tonnes of CO2 ; we will most likely sign up for a combination of green energy and trees

for  manufacturing and transporting products amounting to 1083 tonnes of CO2; we will sign up for trees and also offset via energy efficient product programs

We plan to finalise our first month's carbon offsets this week.



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Stern Report

Friday, March 30, 2007

The Stern Report,  prepared by HM treasury, is an excellent and comprehensive source of information on the impact of climate change.  Follow this link and then select the chapters that are relevant to your query.

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Australia warned on climate impact

Friday, March 30, 2007

Aussies warned of climate impact - Reuters

Mar 30, 2007

Australia, slowly emerging from its worst drought in a century, will suffer killer heatwaves, bushfires and floods as global warming intensifies, a draft report by international climate scientists said.

Already the world's driest inhabited continent, Australia's outback interior will see temperatures rise by up to 6.7 degrees Celsius by 2080, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report said.

"An increase in fire danger in Australia is likely to be associated with a reduced interval between fires, increased fire intensity, a decrease in fire extinguishments," sections of the report leaked to Australian media said on Friday.

The study will increase pressure on Australia's conservative government, which refuses to sign the Kyoto Protocol, to do more to combat climate change ahead of elections later this year. Global warming is shaping as a major issue.

The draft is the second of four to be completed this year by IPCC climate experts and will be released for discussion in Brussels on April 6.

The first study said there was almost 90 percent certainty that humans were changing the world's climate and causing global warming, mostly through reliance on burning fossil fuels.

The draft second report said sea levels would rise due to glacial melt, causing havoc for coastal-dwelling

Australia and New Zealand with "greater coastal inundation, erosion, loss of wetlands and salt water intrusion into freshwater sources".

Rising temperatures would also hit the Great Barrier Reef with "catastrophic mortality of coral species annually". The first report by the IPCC said the reef would be "functionally extinct" in 40 years.

Landslides, water shortages and storm surges would cause infrastructure destruction, and heat-related deaths could rise to 6,300 a year from 1,115 at present by 2050, when temperatures would have already spiked by 3.4C, the report said.

The Australian government, which this week hardened opposition to signing the Kyoto Protocol which set greenhouse gas reduction targets, said there was nothing new in the draft.

"We know that there is the possibility or the probability of a hotter and drier future," Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio.

But former environment department chief Roger Beale, a member of the IPCC's working group on the economic impacts of climate change, said Canberra could not ignore the findings."

Australia among developed countries is very broadly exposed and we are already close to the thresholds," Beale told Reuters.

Prime Minister John Howard this week rejected a plea from British climate economist Nicholas Stern to urgently ratify the Kyoto Protocol and slash greenhouse gas emissions by at least 60% by 2050 to help fight global warming.

Howard told Parliament that Stern's demands would destroy Australia's economic growth and cost jobs.

Environment group WWF said Australia faced massive upheaval and potentially waves of wildlife extinctions due to global warming, with 1,590 native species threatened.

"Even if major greenhouse emission reductions happened tomorrow, the climate will still change dramatically and we have to be ready for it," WWF spokesman Martin Taylor said..

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