Colby College Continues it Carbon Neutrality Commitment

July 8, 2015
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The start of the 2015-16 fiscal year brought an opportunity for Colby to continue its carbon neutrality commitment with the purchase of carbon offsets. The College, with the help of partners Renewable Choice Energy and the CarbonNeutral Company, found three projects to support. In total Colby purchased 8,500 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCDE)—approximately the College’s emissions after accounting for its Scope 1, Scope 2, and a range of Scope 3 emissions.

A forest preservation project at the Farm Cove Community Forest in North Washington, Maine, protects carbon stocks through improved forest management practices that curb timber harvesting and promote higher carbon sequestration rates through more effective tree growth. Supporting local projects is one of Colby’s priorities as it identifies offset projects.

A project in Guatemala distributes water filters and stoves that enable access to clean water and improve indoor cooking conditions by improving indoor air quality and increased fuel efficiency. Among a number of benefits, two that resonated with Colby’s Environmental Advisory Group (EAG) are the creation of jobs in the region and empowerment of women. The CarbonNeutral Company estimates that 800 temporary and permanent staff are hired for manufacturing and installing the stoves and training families how to use them. The stoves burn fuel efficiently and more completely, reducing the amount of fuel required and the time needed to collect wood and cook, allowing women (typically the primary cooks in Guatemala) to reallocate time and energy to other activities. For more information see this video on the Guatemala Water Filtration and Cookstoves Project.

The third project among Colby’s offset purchases for 2015-16 is a methane recapture facility located in greater New Bedford, Mass. The landfill captures methane from decomposing refuse and burns it to create heat and electricity. When it is burned, methane’s greenhouse gas impact is less than 5 percent of its impact if released into the atmosphere. Colby selected this project because of a favorable cost per ton of this offset.

For further questions or comments regarding Colby’s carbon neutrality commitment or carbon offset policy, please contact sustainability@colby.edu.

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