February 4, 2015|By Ross Feldman
The Conservation Fund’s Salmon Creek forests spans about 4,000 acres of coastal redwoods and Douglas-fir forests in Mendocino County. Photo: Jena Thompson Meredith

Disney’s zero emissions goal results in positive impact for forests

Disney logo
Walt Disney had a personal passion for conserving natural resources, building a legacy that today continues to inspire children and families to join The Walt Disney Company (Disney) in caring for the environment. Disney recognizes that our future depends upon nature and a healthy planet. None of that is possible without healthy forests. Through investments in The Conservation Fund’s high-quality forest-based carbon credits, Disney is striving to meet its long-term goal of attaining “zero” net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Together we are protecting and restoring forests that clean the air we breathe, filter the water we drink and create places to play for wildlife and people alike.

Challenges

  • Meet the company’s sustainability goals, including net-zero emissions, by protecting and restoring forests that benefit wildlife, air quality, water and local economies.
  • Demonstrate a strong commitment to the environment and communities by finding innovative solutions to confront climate change.

Solutions

Disney and The Conservation Fund teamed up in 2009 to protect forests on the North Coast of California, known for its iconic redwoods. Here, decades of aggressive timber harvesting left the landscape and the economy bruised and battered. Rivers and streams—important to endangered salmon and steelhead trout—were clogged with sediment from eroding logging roads.

With leadership from Disney and others, The Conservation Fund has pioneered a new approach to land conservation in California by becoming the first nonprofit to own and sustainably operate a large working forest. Carbon credit investments have enabled the Fund to implement improved forest management practices that include decreasing the intensity of timber harvests, increasing the time between harvests and widening riverfront buffers to improve water quality in streams impaired by erosion. We sell carbon credits that result from the improved operations, allowing us to generate further income for restoration activities and additional forestland conservation.

“Disney understands that protecting and restoring forests may be one of the most important environmental challenges of our time. Forests clean the air we breathe, filter more than half of the water we drink, and provide homes for wildlife and people alike. We applaud Disney for its leadership to protect and restore our nation’s forests. Its climate commitments are inspiring others to do more and be better stewards of the environment each and every day.”

Jena Thompson Meredith, Vice President, Business Partnerships The Conservation Fund


Disney The Conservation Fund            
Lauren Fety, Jena Thompson Meredith, Lisa Shibata, Holly Newberger. Salmon Creek Forest 2016.
Photo: Scott Kelly


Results

Disney’s industry-leading targets and investments help The Conservation Fund protect nearly 75,000 acres of redwood and Douglas fir forests in Northern California that encompasses one of the largest river systems in the area. By operating these forests sustainably, we’re:

  • Restoring conditions of more than 120 miles of stream, which provide habitat for endangered coho salmon and steelhead trout, and supply drinking water to nearby communities.
  • Safeguarding habitat for 36 northern spotted owls, a threatened species, as well as other rare plants and animals.
  • Rebuilding commercial timber inventories that generate more than $4 million a year in economic support for the local community.
  • Maintaining other ecosystem services and providing climate benefits.

“Disney has a long legacy of environmental conservation, and protecting the planet for future generations is a priority for us. We have supported conservation projects for almost 20 years and worked with forest communities to protect wildlife and critical habitats. We are continuing our commitment to forest by investing in forestry projects to curb climate change.”

—Lisa Shibata, Senior Manager, Corporate Citizenship, Disney

Looking Forward

More than 45 million acres of working forests are at risk in the U.S. alone, jeopardizing millions of jobs, billions of dollars to our economy, countless acres of wildlife habitat and immeasurable benefits to our health. If we’re to make significant strides in protection and restoration of our forests at scale, we will need leaders like Disney who believe that business and the environment are strongest when they work together.

 
February 4, 2015|By Ross Feldman
Photo courtesy of CSX

Investing in Diverse Communities

wf-rgb-highlight-62pxWells Fargo, one of the nation’s largest financial institutions, came from humble beginnings as a small regional bank serving its neighbors and supporting its community. Throughout its growth and success, that sense of community has remained at the heart of Wells Fargo’s values. Wells Fargo collaborated with The Conservation Fund to strengthen local communities where its customers and team members live and work.

Challenges

  • Reach diverse communities and disadvantaged business owners across the country.
  • Provide support that yields social, economic and environmental benefits.

Solutions in North Carolina

Through its Wells Fargo Works for Small Business: Diverse Community Capital (DCC) program, aimed at serving diverse-owned small businesses, Wells Fargo provided $1.6 million in loan and grant funds to the Natural Capital Investment Fund (NCIF), an affiliate of The Conservation Fund that provides lending and advisory services to locally-owned green enterprises in disadvantaged communities in Central Appalachia and the Southeast. Funding from Wells Fargo will help African-American farmers and small business owners increase access to financial resources, diversify their enterprises and build greater financial stability, resulting in stronger local communities and the responsible use of natural resources.

“NCIF recognizes that the growth and success of diverse businesses focused on triple bottom line results is good for communities, our economy and the environment. We're thrilled to be recognized by and partner with Wells Fargo to grow the next generation of African-American and minority entrepreneurs.”
                                                                                                       
Marten Jenkins, President and CEO, Natural Capital Investment Fund (NCIF)   
 

Results in North Carolina

The Wells Fargo DCC program will help people like James Joyner of Faison, North Carolina, a disabled African-American U.S. Army veteran who transformed his family farm from a labor of love to a profitable enterprise. NCIF helped him develop financial projections for his business and connected him with an innovative North Carolina company that enables him to graze his herd of sheep on solar farms and helps market his lamb. NCIF'S loan helped Joyner expand his herd, upgrade pastures and fencing, and build a lambing shed. Today, Joyner’s farm is profitable, and he sells his grass-fed, antibiotic-free lamb to a well-known national organic and natural foods grocery chain.

“Wells Fargo is proud to support NCIF and the work they are doing. Investing in our communities is one of the most important things we can do as a company and directly connects with our vision and values. At Wells Fargo, we believe that we’re responsible for promoting the long-term economic prosperity and quality of life for everyone in our communities. If they prosper, so do we.”

– Jack Clayton, Piedmont East Regional President for Wells Fargo

NCIF
The Roger Outlaw farm is funded by the ShadeFund – a project of the The Conservation Fund’s Natural Capital Investment Fund (NCIF). In May 2016, Wells Fargo provided $1.6 million to NCIF.  As a result, we will expand access to lending and business advisory services for African American farmers and small business owners, primarily in Eastern North Carolina. 

Solutions in Alaska

In Alaska, Wells Fargo and The Conservation Fund collaborated to support Native communities. Here, Wells Fargo donated 143 acres of culturally and historically significant land adjacent to the Native Village of Eklutna to the Fund for permanent preservation. The donation was part of Wells Fargo’s Environmental Solutions for Communities grant program.

“This land is the centerpiece of an ongoing effort to protect and restore the lands and waters of great cultural and environmental value to the Eklutna people. We are pleased to work with Wells Fargo and Eklutna, Inc., and we applaud the corporate leadership and community appreciation for this wonderful and important conservation accomplishment.”

Larry Selzer, President and CEO, The Conservation Fund

Results in Alaska

Approximately 25 miles northeast of Anchorage, the land donated by Wells Fargo preserves the way of life of Native people. Situated in the heart of Dena’ina Athabascan country where Alaska Native people have lived for thousands of years, this culturally and historically significant land remains a place for traditional subsistence activities such as hunting, fishing, and berry picking. Hills on the property are also revered as sacred grounds where ancestors’ ashes are spread, and a unique granite formation on the land was the inspiration for the Native village’s name. Its permanent preservation honors the legacy of the Native people and helps future generations cultivate a connection to the land and their ancestral identity.

“When we got the word…we were thrilled and filled with such emotion that it took several days for the news to sink in. We are grateful for the vision and respect shown by Wells Fargo toward the Dena’ina people.”
 
                          – Curtis McQueen, CEO, Eklutna, Inc.

Eklutna
The Native Village of Eklutna is situated 25 miles northeast of Anchorage, AK and lies in the heart of Dena’ina Athabascan country. Alaska Native people have lived in Eklutna for thousands of years and the local hills are revered as sacred grounds where their ancestors’ ashes are spread. Wells Fargo donated 143 acres of land adjacent to the Native Village of Eklutna to The Conservation Fund for permanent land and habitat preservation. 

Looking Forward

From remote tribal lands in Alaska to rural farms in Appalachia, our long-standing relationship with Wells Fargo advances conservation at the local level for a greater impact. We will continue to help Wells Fargo find new ways to invest in diverse communities that pay big dividends for our society, our economy and our environment.

            

 
February 4, 2015|By Ross Feldman

Going the Extra Mile for Environmental Stewardship 

Williams logoFor some infrastructure projects, it’s not always enough to minimize the impact of new roads or pipelines. Williams, a leading operator of pipeline infrastructure in the U.S., recognized its Atlantic Sunrise project in Pennsylvania would have a big impact, so it set out to exceed expectations. That’s when Williams turned to The Conservation Fund to develop an environmental stewardship program for its Transco pipeline that will enable the company to identify, rank and support measurable and lasting projects important to wildlife and communities across the Atlantic Sunrise project area in Pennsylvania. The Atlantic Sunrise Environmental Stewardship program is purely voluntary and is in addition to any mitigation or compensatory steps that would be required of Williams to offset potential impacts from its pipeline.

Challenges

  • Go above and beyond compensatory mitigation requirements to advance conservation and benefit local communities.
  • Develop a transparent, science-based process to evaluate and select stewardship projects that maximize benefits for the business, community and natural resources.
  • Convene and energize stakeholders along the pipeline route to identify shared priorities and implement the best potential projects.

Solutions

The Conservation Fund designed a turnkey environmental stewardship program for Williams’ Atlantic Sunrise project, an expansion of its Transco pipeline system, which currently transports about 10 percent of the nation’s natural gas.

The Fund first worked with Williams to identify community stakeholders in eight Pennsylvania counties impacted by the pipeline expansion, develop criteria for conservation projects, create an appropriate program budget and map natural resources and community assets with geographic information systems (GIS) technology.

Next, the Fund convened community focus groups with more than 100 stakeholders that identified hundreds of environmental stewardship opportunities. Working closely with Williams, and with feedback from the community, The Conservation Fund applied its optimization modeling tool, which takes raw data about each project’s conservation attributes, as well as the criteria set forth by Williams, and uses a scientific algorithm to calculate the best projects for the company, the communities, and the environment.

“We designed the Williams Environmental Stewardship Program with the intent for it to be an exemplary model that recognizes the importance of working in a collaborative way to go above and beyond legally required mitigation to invest in high value community projects.”

Will Allen, Vice President of Sustainable Programs, The Conservation Fund

Results

Williams has pioneered the environmental stewardship approach to the planning and development of linear infrastructure projects. Williams invested more than $2.5 million in 18 projects that focus on stream restoration, nutrient reduction and recreational trails in Pennsylvania communities. Collectively, these projects will result in: 10 miles of stream frontage restored; 30 acres of riparian area restored; 8 miles of new recreational trails installed; benefits to 200,000 annual trail users; and 925 tons of manure stored annually, preventing harmful nutrients from entering waterways.

“We believe that a project as unique and far-reaching as Atlantic Sunrise requires an equally unique and significant demonstration of our willingness to step up and not only protect, but also enhance the natural resources in the project area.”

—Chris Springer, Atlantic Sunrise project director, Williams

Williams partner page
Thanks to support from William’s Company restoration activities at Camp Snyder in PA are improving habitat for brook trout. Photo by USFWS.

Looking Forward

Through this collaboration, the partners have developed a model for future infrastructure investment projects that proactively maximize environmental and community benefit. After the success of this pilot program, the partnership will continue to look for additional stewardship opportunities. 

 
February 4, 2015|By Ross Feldman
Dow Diamond Baseball Stadium will get LED lighting thanks to a grant from Saginaw WIN. Photo by Cory Seeman/Flickr.

Supporting Grassroots Projects Michigan’s Saginaw Bay

dow-logo
In 1998, The Dow Chemical Company (Dow) approached The Conservation Fund to help them develop a new program that could improve Michigan’s Saginaw Bay watershed and the communities where its employees live, work and play. As an organization that works at the intersection of business and the environment, we were ideally suited to forge the local and regional partnerships necessary to realize Dow’s bold vision for a sustainable Saginaw Bay.

Challenges

  • Impact the quality of life in local communities
  • Support local projects that protect natural resources and strengthen economies

Solutions

The largest watershed in Michigan, Saginaw Bay is located between the thumb and forefinger of Michigan’s “mitten” on the state’s eastern boundary with Lake Huron. The watershed includes more than 7,000 miles of rivers and streams and 175 inland lakes. It is home to more than 90 fish species and is a path for migrating songbirds and waterfowl travelling along the Mississippi Flyway. It’s also home to 1.4 million people and to many agricultural and industrial resources that drive Michigan’s economy.

Dow and The Conservation Fund created the Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network (WIN) to invest in efforts on the ground that make Saginaw Bay – and its people – better. Through grants and technical assistance, the WIN program is helping grow the region’s identity as a sustainable community. Dow’s leadership and commitment to sustainability also inspired others to join the charge – the WIN program now includes 12 corporate and foundation partners and has become a catalyst for hundreds of initiatives to improve the watershed and its communities.
 

“We understand that investors want to see great returns, and by connecting Dow with a range of people, resources, organizations and programs at the grassroots level, we’re making their investment go further and creating a real difference in all facets of the quality of life in the region, and in Saginaw Bay.”

Michael Kelly, Director, Great Lakes Office and Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network, The Conservation Fund

DOW CorpsDow and The Conservation Fund's partnership helps remove dams to improve passage for spawning fish and recreational   kayakers and canoers. Photo by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District.

Results

Since 1998, WIN has invested more than $4.5 million in approximately 250 projects, leveraging an additional $9 million in support for these community efforts.

WIN grants have supported a wide range of locally driven projects. We’ve helped our partners improve the energy efficiency of a minor league baseball team’s stadium, plant community gardens, build trail systems, provide canoe and kayak launch facilities along the watershed’s major rivers, control erosion along tributary rivers to prevent pollution, and even remove dams to improve passage for spawning fish and recreational kayakers and canoers. One of WIN’s biggest ongoing projects involves the removal of a deteriorating dam along the Cass River in the city of Frankenmuth, Michigan’s top tourist destination.

“WIN’s open-minded, collaborative approach to providing funding is fantastic. With its entrepreneurial spirit, WIN is often the first organization to step in and provide grant money.”

Zachary Branigan, Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy, 2014 Saginaw Bay WIN grant recipient

Looking Forward

With nearly 8,700 square miles making up the Saginaw Bay Watershed, there is still much more work to be done. But the seemingly limitless creativity of the organizations, communities and individuals on the ground inspires us to keep going. We look forward to even more exciting projects in the future, working with our partners to build a more sustainable Saginaw Bay region.

Learn More

2017 Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network Annual Report
February 4, 2015|By Ross Feldman
Erik Meyers with the Google Trekker on the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail.

Bringing the Outdoors Online and Using Technology for Good

Google Maps logo
Where would we be without Google Maps? Lost. The state-of-the-art mapping technology and innovative Street View developed by Google have given us a better view of the world. By partnering with The Conservation Fund, Google Maps is now giving people a better view of the natural world, one majestic landscape at a time.

Challenges

  • Use technology as a tool to help people explore some of the most iconic and historically significant landscapes in our country.
  • Engage new audiences by giving them opportunities to experience the great outdoors that they otherwise might not have.
  • Bring awareness to the importance of land conservation in America.

Solutions

The Conservation Fund and its local partners teamed up with Google Maps to create virtual tours of some of America’s most important places—its parks, waterways and even battlefields. Our staff borrowed and set out with Trekker, a 4-foot-tall, 40-pound camera and backpack, that’s part of Google’s project to create a digital reflection of the world for people to explore and enjoy. Now, these spectacular places are online in Street View in Google Maps for the world to see.

“Much like Google, we are innovators. We find creative ways to engage people in conservation, and this partnership with Google is a brilliant illustration of that. Trekker expeditions spark curiosity, and give people all across the globe a view of the world they may never get to see in person. These treks will inspire a new generation to discover the outdoors and will foster a compassionate, respectful relationship with the natural world.”

Jazmin Varela, Information Manager, Strategic Conservation Planning, The Conservation Fund

Results

The result is a virtual tour of 14 sites across the country where The Conservation Fund played a role in permanent protection. Some of these sites include:


Looking Forward

With more than 7.5 million acres protected across the country, we’ve got even more forests, landmarks and wilderness to capture, and we stand ready to work with Google to keep the masses connected to our natural world.
February 4, 2015|By Ross Feldman
Go Zero tree planning at Red River National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Sean Gardner.

Food for Thought: C&S Wholesale Grocers Makes a Commitment to the Environment

C&S Wholesale GrocersChances are, you’re a customer of C&S Wholesale Grocers, and you just might not know it. As the largest wholesale grocery supply company in the U.S., C&S supplies a supermarket near you with products ranging from seafood to soap. While C&S is making a big impact inside on store shelves, it is also making an impact outdoors by working with The Conservation Fund to address climate change and its forest supply chain by making investments in forests that result in healthy, resilient communities.

Challenges

  • Address the company’s environmental impact in a way that produces tangible results.
  • Create a more sustainable forest-based supply chain.
  • Enhance the communities where the company’s employees live.

Solutions

For more than a decade, C&S has partnered with the Fund to protect and restore forests in an effort to address climate change, create habitat for wildlife, engage employees and enhance communities. The company recently announced it would commit to a more sustainable forest-based supply chain. While C&S doesn’t use a lot of paper or make paper-based products or packaging, C&S transports large quantities of food and goods to its network of retailers across the country. Nearly everything it ships to a grocery store near you is stacked on wood pallets.

C&S worked with The Conservation Fund to measure its “forest footprint” for those pallets, and committed to offset a portion of that use by protecting responsibly managed forests. The timber sustainably harvested from these forests will help offset approximately 20,000 wood pallets. 

“The willingness of C&S to forge new ground with forests demonstrates the company’s leadership and commitment to a sustainable forest supply chain. C&S has made a significant and lasting impact in the protection and restoration of forests across America, especially in states where it has operations and employees.”

—Jena Thompson Meredith, Vice President, Business Partnerships, The Conservation Fund
 

Results

Since 2007, C&S has contributed to the planting of more than 91,000 trees across 250 acres in national wildlife refuges in Louisiana, Missouri and Texas. Restoring these areas to their former forested glory benefits a range of animals like Louisiana black bear, American alligator and long-eared bat. Restored forests also help flood-prone communities within the Mississippi River basin by acting as natural sponges and soaking up excess water. Communities downstream of restoration areas not only stay drier, but they also get an economic boost resulting from enhanced public recreation opportunities.

Along the north coast of California, donations from C&S are enabling the sustainable management of Garcia River Forest. This 24,000-acre expanse of redwoods traps harmful greenhouse gases boosts the local timer economy, cleans water for downstream communities and shelters coho salmon, steelhead trout and Northern spotted owl.

Since announcing its commitment to protecting forest-based supply chains, C&S is helping conserve 8,700 acres of working forestland surrounding Success Pond in northeastern New Hampshire. Furthermore, with the ongoing production of responsibly harvested timber, the land will continue to support more than 20 local and regional jobs for loggers, truckers, foresters and road contractors, while providing timber to mills in New Hampshire, Maine and Canada.

Success-Pond.jpg
C&S Wholesale Grocers’ commits to a more sustainable forest-supply chain with the ongoing conservation of Success Pond Forest. Located within the Mahoosuc Gateway Initiative, Success Pond is part of a broader conservation effort of 30,000 acres that includes protection of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail in New Hampshire’s North Country region, which is considered a scenic gateway between Maine and New Hampshire. Photo by John Van Hoesen.

 


Looking Forward


At C&S Wholesale Grocers, we make it a priority to give back in ways that make our employees proud and our communities stronger. We recognize that protecting the environment is a key area where we can make a meaningful difference. Our team is honored by the results we have achieved with The Conservation Fund over the past decade. Together with the Fund, our employees and business partners, we look forward to developing new ways to make lasting, positive impacts for conservation and communities across the U.S.”

—Gina Goff, Senior Director of Community Involvement at C&S Wholesale Grocers

 



Would you like to help your company offset its carbon footprint? 

Contact Jena Thompson Meredith, Vice President of Business Partnerships, to find out how you can become a Go Zero partner.

Learn More