Volkswagen of America has partnered with Carbonfund.org to offset one year of carbon emission from each new Volkswagen vehicle sold in the US from 1 September 2007 through 2 January 2008.
Working with Carbonfund.org, a non-profit carbon offset company, Volkswagen plans to reforest land in the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley (LMAV) in Northern Louisiana, a wetland ecosystem that had been largely converted to farmland. The total carbon reduction is estimated at more than 372,000 tons of carbon dioxide from the planting of over 250,000 native trees in the Volkswagen Forest.
The climate, soils, and growing conditions in the LMAV result in carbon absorption rates that are among the highest of any region in the United States, according to the partners: 450 tons of carbon dioxide per acre, compared to 170 tons per acre in comparable projects world wide.
In addition to this carbon offset program, Volkswagen has also partnered with Carbonfund.org to offset carbon emissions at a vehicle test drive program at the Teva Mountain Games and for an upcoming “Clean Diesel Tour” promoting the upcoming Jetta Tier 2 Bin 5 diesel (earlier post) and VW’s alternative fuel strategy.
In addition to enlarging the carbon sink, the project restores native trees to habitat, provides food for local wildlife, reclaims barren pastureland and increases water security.
We developed this partnership to help bring our customers to the forefront of environmental initiatives. Vehicles are an important and necessary part of our society, but there are actions we can all take to help ensure a cleaner environment for future generations. We hope that Volkswagen’s investment will serve as a catalyst to involve our owners and create awareness beyond our defined contribution.—Adrian Hallmark, executive vice president, Volkswagen of America
Consumer offsets. Consumer carbon offsets have been criticized as a modern form of indulgence, or as a way to avoid making more substantive changes. Terrapass, one of the older companies in this still young space of providing consumer carbon offsets, recently surveyed its customers to gauge their environmental habits.
Our survey results are striking, if perhaps unsurprising: it turns out that anyone willing to voluntarily fund clean energy is someone looking for as many ways as possible to reduce his impact. TerraPass customers are way greener than the average US citizen.—Tom Arnold, Chief Environmental Officer, Terrapass
Results from the TerraPass customer survey include:
26% of TerraPass customers take public transportation to work—more than 5 times the national average.
24% of Terrapass customers bike to work, 22 times the national average.
64% of customers have installed compact fluorescent light bulbs.
16% drive hybrids, about 7 times the national average.
50% of TerraPass customers have contacted an elected representative about climate change.
69% support nonprofit environmental groups.
6% have home solar panels—200 times the national average
The TerraPass survey went out to 11,000 purchasing TerraPass members in June 2007. The total response rate of n=2,059 corresponds to a +/- 2.1% confidence interval at a 95% confidence level.