I’m a numbers guy living in the heart of San Francisco. I am a scientist and an analyst, managing an asset valued at more than $100 million. But I’m not your typical investment banker. I’m part of a team of carbon bankers at The Conservation Fund—conserving forests to help trap or “bank” carbon dioxide to help address climate change. In short, I help measure, monitor and model tree growth so that we can trap more carbon dioxide in our forests, provide habitat for fish and wildlife and jobs for the local timber economy.
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Garcia River Forest
As the UPS Archivist, I spend a lot of time researching documents that reveal our history and the stories of our people.
So in my search through the UPS Archives – while looking for something else I might add – I came across this document from 1933 asking for the funds for three new “Gould Batteries for two ton Walker Electric Trucks.” These new batteries were to replace three “very old and almost useless” batteries in package cars that were serving in New York City at the time.
For a long time, the term “carbon offsetting” sounded to me like vague corporate speak. I had little or no idea what it really meant, and struggled to understand it. But when our video team at UPS was tasked with producing a video project centered around carbon offsetting at the Garcia River Forest, I finally had something tangible to (forgive the tree-hugging pun) “put my arms around.”
It suddenly seemed incredibly simple. Our carbon offset program at UPS is used to support projects such as the forestry efforts at Garcia River, and the trees in the Garcia River Forest suck carbon dioxide from the environment. At last, we had something visual – and real – to help tell the very non-visual story of what carbon offsetting actually is, and does.
I’ve learned a lot in the six months that I’ve been with UPS. One of the first is that around UPS, sustainability is a pretty big deal. As someone who loves escaping out to the Rockies for the beautiful camping and hiking, I was pleased to see the great sustainability programs we offer like carbon neutral shipping, and the emission offset projects we support like Big River Salmon Creek, Cholburi Wastewater Treatment, and the beautiful Garcia River Forest Project.
Seeing these projects got me thinking: with all the conservation opportunities available worldwide, how do we as a company decide what offset projects to support? Luckily, one of the other things I’ve learned during my time here is that there is no shortage of seriously knowledgeable people, so I knocked on a few doors and got the answers.
I’m not a tree hugger. Nor am I a scientist. I’m a conservationist and a marketer, and as of seven weeks ago, a mom. I was raised with a strong appreciation for nature, and I know how glorious it feels to hike up to a clearing to watch the sea mist roll in across the redwood forest at sunset. The sustainability and communication teams at UPS know this too. We shared a chilly sunset during a recent video shoot at The Conservation Fund’s 24,000-acre Garcia River Forest along California’s north coast.
We visited with foresters, ecologists and loggers, and witnessed firsthand that you don’t have to be an environmentalist to appreciate nature, or to understand the vast changes to the landscape we’ve experienced recently. Over the past several decades, millions of acres of forests have given way to homes and roads to support a growing global population. Forest loss has been hard on wildlife and our climate, accounting for nearly 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. But there are positive changes as well. Companies like UPS have changed the way they do business to measure and then reduce their impact on the planet. Customers can make a difference too.