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.


  • 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.


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


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.

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

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

Transporting Nutrition to Communities in Need

CSX-logo copyThe Conservation Fund’s tailored approach to conservation gives us the flexibility to work on our partners’ priorities. Our long- standing partnership with CSX demonstrates how we develop unique strategies to help businesses achieve sustainability and corporate social responsibility goals.


  • Connect CSX with local organizations to make the greatest impact in the places that need it most.
  • Educate youth about their connection to nature and encourage them to live greener lives.
  • Help communities along the CSX network that have little access to fresh, healthy food.


A partner since 2007, CSX and The Conservation Fund created a small grants program for transporting healthy food, aimed at improving local transportation and distribution of fresh produce, perishable food to communities in need across 22 states. As CSX efficiently transports agricultural products across its network, and The Conservation Fund protects the natural resources that food and fiber depend upon, the joining of forces to fill a gap in the local freight distribution of healthy food seemed a perfect pairing. In conjunction with the grant program, CSX also created a more targeted program in West Virginia that has provided increased access and funding for healthy foods for hundreds of at-risk children and families living below the poverty line in some of the state’s lowest income counties.

“With CSX’s partnership, we’re not only helping to connect America's families to healthy, fresh fruit and produce, but we’re also supporting our local farmers and working farms. The Fund works in communities across the country with partners like CSX to fulfill their conservation priorities through creative initiatives that protect and enhance landscapes where Americans work, play and experience our natural heritage.”

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

In an effort to help reconnect children with nature, The Conservation Fund and CSX created a school curriculum unit that teaches kids about the environment, math, science and economics through real-world freight transportation scenarios. CSX has also helped restore critical wildlife habitat at two national wildlife refuges through the donation of more than 13,000 trees.

LarrysBlog 3 EzraGregg            
Over 23 million Americans have limited access to fresh food, due in part to an inability for the people growing the food to get their product to market. We're working with transportation leader CSX to bring fresh, healthy food to the places that need it most. Photo by Ezra Gregg.


More than 23 million Americans across the country have limited or no access to fresh produce, dairy, meats and seafood. One of the contributors to these so-called “food deserts” is the lack of local freight infrastructure to distribute fresh food to markets. The Grant Program for Transporting Healthy Food offers grants up to $10,000 to local government and nonprofit entities that distribute fresh, local foods in 22 states where CSX operates. These grants are used to address gaps in local food distribution by providing funds to enhance delivery capabilities with support for a range of activities related to transportation, such as:

  • acquiring refrigerated vehicles for direct delivery to markets; 
  • financing “veggie vans” to bring fresh food to isolated communities;
  • providing better access to food hubs or other sites where produce, dairy, seafood and meats can be stored safely for distribution; and
  • purchasing produce boxes and cold storage bins to keep unsold food fresh for the next day’s farmers market or wholesale purchase.

Since the program’s establishment in 2014, grant funding is projected to enable recipient organizations to collectively serve an additional 150,000 families with more than nine million pounds of food and increase the number of meals provided by 4.5 million.  

In West Virginia, CSX and The Conservation Fund worked with the West Virginia Extension and Mingo County Diabetes Coalition to provide coupons and vouchers to thousands of children and families to help make locally-grown fresh foods more convenient for purchase, and give them hands-on training on how to cook, store and prepare seasonal fruits and vegetables. The West Virginia program has also offered financial assistance for mobile and school-based farmers markets, as well as classes on vendor recruitment, customer service and basic accounting to assist with the long-term viability of the farmers markets.

“The Conservation Fund’s trusted relationships with communities and proven experience in conservation have helped our company make a positive difference in support of the communities we serve. We’re honored to work with the Fund and excited by the success we’ve seen in our programs together to bring healthy foods to local communities.”

—Tori Kaplan, Assistant Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility, CSX

Looking Forward

The health of our children is one of our nation’s most pressing issues. This partnership is evolving and continues to draws on the strengths of both CSX and The Conservation Fund to address the systematic barriers to access healthy food for families by focusing on capacity building, economic development and access to financing, community planning, preservation of natural resources important to farmers, public health and science and technology.

February 4, 2015|By Ross Feldman
Go Zero tree planting at Red River National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Sean Gardner.

Setting big goals, taking action, creating a legacy

dellAs an industry leader in environmental sustainability, Dell is committed to bringing real change that benefits people and the planet. The Conservation Fund’s unique ability to use a market-based approach to conservation made us an ideal partner when the company sought business-minded solutions for its ambitious sustainability efforts. We are working with Dell to take action that helps the environment and strengthens communities, inviting customers and employees to join us in creating a Legacy of Good.


  • Give customers a way to decrease the environmental footprint of their IT equipment purchases.
  • Plant trees and protect forests that trap carbon dioxide, clean the air we breathe, filter the water we drink, provide habitat for wildlife and deliver benefits to our communities and our economy.


In 2007, Dell and The Conservation Fund launched the Plant a Tree program to engage customers in addressing two of the greatest environmental challenges of our time: habitat loss and climate change. The Fund worked with Dell to calculate the approximate carbon emissions associated with the lifetime use of Dell products and related those emissions to the amount of air trees can clean as they grow. Dell created a convenient way for its commercial customers and individual consumers to add a small payment (just $2 for a laptop) to their order. These donations help The Conservation Fund’s Go Zero® program to protect forests in Northern California and plant trees in national wildlife refuges across the country.

Dell has also led multiple marketing initiatives to increase awareness and engage all people, not just customers, to join in. A partnership with Causes.com inspired people to make one small change to their daily routines to save energy, reduce waste and cut carbon emissions. For every person who took the pledge to reduce their own footprint, Dell planted a tree through Go Zero. Dell also launched its Plant a Tree for a Friend campaign, which allowed Facebook users to plant a virtual tree on their friend’s Facebook page. For each virtual tree planted, Dell made a donation to Go Zero to plant a real tree. Dell has also encouraged specific actions in exchange for tree planting, such as the campaign that planted trees to restore ocelot habitat in Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge in South Texas in exchange for sharing the hashtag #DellARC.

“Our partnership with Dell merges smart conservation and innovation, producing measurable results that make a lasting difference. The relationship between Dell and its customers, and their combined commitment to a long-term investment in our environment, is nothing short of inspiring.”

—Larry Selzer, President and CEO, The Conservation Fund

Outchita Floods-USFWS
Upper Ouachita National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.


All told, support from Dell and its customers has resulted in nearly 800,000 trees planted.

In Louisiana’s Upper Ouachita National Wildlife Refuge, these trees are restoring areas cleared by heavy logging and are providing habitat vital to the survival of the Louisiana black bear. The bear is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, but its population has seen a dramatic recovery due to restoration efforts across Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.. Restored forestlands can act as sponges, soaking up rising waters and protecting downstream communities from flooding.

The Plant a Tree campaign helped the Fund restore more than 775 acres of native oak and hickory trees at Marais des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge in Kansas. After decades of farming, much of the land across the Refuge was too degraded to support habitat for wildlife. Today, the restored forests are managed by US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for migratory birds including the yellow-breasted chat and indigo bunting. They are open to the public for wildlife-dependent recreational uses.

The Plant a Tree program also supports our Garcia River Forests and our Big River and Salmon Creek forests in the coastal Redwood region of Northern California. Here, we are implementing sustainable forest management practices that keep these forests financially viable and environmentally healthy. Through changes like light touch harvesting and widening impaired riverfront buffers, we have improved water quality and habitat for coho salmon, steelhead trout and the spotted owl. Dell’s support of improved forest management here will trap more than 8,000 tons of carbon dioxide – the equivalent of almost 19 million miles driven by an average passenger vehicle.

“Now more than ever, it’s not enough to just do less harm. At Dell, we’re looking for ways to use technology to build a lasting legacy – to drive more “good” through everything we do. The Plant a Tree program is an important part of that: since we began working with The Conservation Fund in 2007, Dell customers have helped us plant nearly 800,000 trees – trees that sequester carbon, restore habitat and support green entrepreneurs.”

—Bruno Sarda, Director of Social Responsibility, Dell

Looking Forward

Since the start of our partnership, Dell’s environmental initiatives have evolved tremendously. Recently, Dell announced its ambitious 2020 Legacy of Good plan, which outlines Dell’s commitment to doing 10 times as much good as the footprint that Dell is leaving behind – and there’s no doubt the Plant a Tree program will be part of that legacy. In 2015, Dell announced its goal to help plant one million trees by 2020. We hope you will join us in bettering our communities and our world.
February 4, 2015|By Ross Feldman
munchery logoMunchery – What’s for dinner? San Francisco-based Munchery delivers wholesome prepared dinners from top local chefs throughout the Seattle and Bay Area. To make sure your filet of fresh fish is not just sustainably caught, but also sustainably brought, Go Zero plant trees to offset every delivery. Yum!

“We all work and live in the same community, starting with our employees and chefs, to the network of purveyors and local farms we source our ingredients from, and of course our customers. We owe it to ourselves to build a company with a long lasting legacy we all can be proud of.”
— Tri Tran and Conrad Chu, Co-founders, Munchery

Learn More

Munchery Wants To Take a Bite Out Of The Food Delivery Business. October 19, 2013.

February 4, 2015|By Ross Feldman
U-HaulU-Haul, the largest do-it-yourself moving company in North America, wanted to give its customers renting equipment at more than 21,000 locations in the U.S. and Canada and on uhaul.com a simple way to make their move a little bit greener. Beginning in 2007, the company partnered with The Conservation Fund to offer customers a chance to donate $3, $5 or $10 at checkout to plant trees and offset their moving-related emissions.

“Since 2007, our partnership with U-Haul has served as a model for corporate social responsibility programs aimed at engaging customers and inspiring employees, and it’s rooted in a continued commitment by U-Haul and its customers to conservation and community.”

—Jena Thompson Meredith, Vice President, Business Partnerships 

Overwhelmingly, customers choose to give back: more than 1.7 million U-Haul customers have elected to offset their emissions, raising over $6 million to plant 675,000 native trees on behalf of The Conservation Fund and National Wildlife Refuges nationwide. So far, U-Haul donations have restored more than 1,800 acres of forest—that’s the size of 1,363 football fields—or two of New York’s Central Park. Over the next 100 years those trees will trap an estimated 441,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide.

Donations have also helped to protect working forests along California’s north coast, including Garcia, Big River and Salmon Creek forests in Mendocino County.
I am extremely proud of the partnership U-Haul company has shared with The Conservation Fund over the past decade. The Conservation Fund has enabled our moving customers to offset carbon emissions from their move, enhance the beauty of the landscape they see during their move and have an overall positive impact on the environment while pursuing the dreams that moving allows.”

—JT Taylor, President of U-Haul International

GoZero-58 Ivan-LaBiancaTree planting at Rouge Park in Detroit. Photo by Ivan LaBianca.In 2013, U-Haul also began supporting urban restoration, starting with Rouge Park in Detroit where 1,600 trees were planted over 2 acres. The plantings were done in partnership with Greening of Detroit as well as volunteers from Quicken Loans and CSX.  To support green job creation, we also launched the Growing Detroit’s Green Economy Fund which is making small grants to Detroit organizations that support entrepreneurs who use natural resources responsibly.

Following the success in Detroit, in 2014 U-Haul pledged $375,000 over three years to our Parks With Purpose program in Atlanta. The company’s support has helped create Lindsay Street Park, the first park in the English Avenue neighborhood of downtown Atlanta, as well as Vine City Park and Boone Park West. These parks will bring cleaner air and water, safer places to play and more job opportunities to an underserved neighborhood. And the establishment of the Growing Atlanta’s Green Economy Fund, funded by U-Haul, is building long-term sustainable solutions for at-risk populations through grants to green or entrepreneurial programs working in some of the city’s most underserved neighborhoods.

In 2017, U-Haul expanded its urban restoration efforts to a third city, Kansas City, Missouri. The city has been making significant infrastructure investments in the Marlborough community that will address major flooding and water quality issues, as well as transform the natural landscape of this once-blighted neighborhood. The Conservation Fund and U-Haul are working with local stakeholders to develop a public green space that will include a community gathering space, playground areas, an outdoor amphitheater, recreational opportunities and native gardens.

Most recently, U-Haul embarked on an initiative to protect forest-based supply chains by working with The Conservation Fund to measure its wood fiber use — from pulpwood to cardboard paper products (e.g. U-Haul’s top-selling boxes) – and create equivalencies to help offset portions of that use. Through this effort, U-Haul is helping to conserve 8,700 acres of working forestland surrounding Success Pond in Northeastern New Hampshire. 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. The Success Pond Forest is located within the Mahoosuc Gateway Initiative, 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.

Learn More

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

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.


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


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.


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.