By Reed Shapiro
Third time’s a charm! While this may not be universally true – my third trip to the Green Festival Expo was, thus far, the best show we (CCC) have had for a few reasons.
After my deer-in-the-headlights, 1-man haul to Los Angeles, and a relatively more grounded round-two in San Fran (both last fall), I felt very much at ease heading down to Washington D.C. for the first stop on the 2017 circuit of Green Festivals. The weekend started off with an invitation to the VIP Kick-Off party, where I was pleased to see CCC’s Partner logo stamped right on the party bags that were being handed out that night and both of the next two days at the Convention Center.
Not only was CCC included in this relatively exclusive evening, but I had been asked by the lovely ladies running the Expo to be one of three judges for the Brand Awards, a publically voted-on contest that boiled down to 5 different brands which myself, Joy Nemerson (of TerraCycle), and Aaron Kahlow (of Conscious Company) would interview and determine a ranking of 1st through 5th. All five companies were fantastic in their own ways – a bamboo line of toilet paper; a permaculture, grow-your-own-veggies-at-home company with an online platform for information and best practice sharing; a completely up-cycled line of rubber dog leashes and wallets, an extremely innovative kidney health drink; and a company with a revolutionary way to make consistent weed-food. We ended up choosing Permaculture in first place for their potential to transform local, small scale food operations and deliver healthy eating options to almost anyone, Tubular Gear in second for their sheer volume of up-cycled materials and the regenerative model of taking waste and making it useable, and Bambooloo in third for their forward thinking business that, if scaled could have an incredible impact on the insane number of trees that get flushed down the toilet every day (something like the equivalent of 17,000 trees in America alone each day).
As we move forward, and as I do a few more rounds of judging, I very much look forward to working with Dr. Basler (Corinna, the President of the Green Festivals) to come up with a more universal and widely applicable set of metrics by which to make these decisions. Furthermore, I am hoping we can begin to incorporate a number of the vendors at each Festival to allow companies an opportunity to make improvements to their sustainability and corporate responsibility regimens right there at every show, and potentially take 1st place by fostering new partnerships and strategic alignments – all on site. Hopefully by the end of the 2017 year of shows we will have something to show for ourselves!
In between judging for the Brand Awards on Saturday morning, and speaking on Sunday afternoon (just before announcing the winners of the Brand Awards – video below if you’re interested), I approached the Festival with a hybrid strategy – taking the best from my time in LA (trying to get individuals to offset their attendance – dollar by dollar) and in SF (networking with businesses at their own booths to try to enroll them in CCC’s Carbon Neutral Checkout™ initiative) – spending an hour or two getting individuals to offset their attendance, and then spending an hour or two getting exhibitors to make their booths carbon neutral for the weekend.
Without a doubt, this was the most successful run CCC has had in helping the Green Festivals reduce the carbon footprint of their event. 10 exhibitors offset their booths to make them a carbon neutral exhibitor (all highlighted below), and the equivalent of over 950 attendees combined to offset 14 metric tonnes of CO2-equivalent associated with the Festival. All together, we were able to offset just over 21% of the estimated 66 metric tonnes of CO2e associated with the Festival. Our previous best was 9%. Of course, CCC is still pushing for GFE to build the cost to offset their whole show into the cost of attendance and exhibition, making each event carbon neutral simply by selling tickets and booth packages but this is good progress!
As we move quickly towards the NYC show next weekend (at Javits Center tickets here – and promo code for discounted tickets: XNY17Y377) CCC plans on having a strong showing with more than just 1 employee – my colleagues Pianpian Wang and Leo Leibovitch will be making their Green Festival debuts to help both run the booth and encourage exhibitors to make their exhibits carbon neutral through our Green Festival-specific offset packages.
In the hopes of making this move a more exciting prospect, I wanted to also take some time to highlight the companies who decided to make their booths carbon neutral a few weeks ago at the DC Festival. Some of them are from the brand awards – but all of them are showcasing how having a greener product, and operating a more sustainable business (whether through internal measures, or through efforts like offsetting) gets you more recognition, and closer attention. We have an opportunity to really walk the walk at these Festivals, and in partnership with the Festivals nationally, CCC looks to take advantage of every opportunity to bring more and more companies together in an effort to both reduce carbon emissions, and also foster meaningful, long-lasting collaborations between those in attendance and those who are exhibiting.
Some of the companies highlighted here have descriptions, pictures, or both. Some do not. I have reached out to each one asking for a bio and/or pic, or why they chose to offset, so if you don’t see any full description, its because there was no comment. Either way, check them all out, they’re doing great things in their own right, but especially check them out and support them because of the pro-active responsibility they have taken upon themselves as businesses and business owners!
While the Earth Rights Institute didn’t offset their footprint for the weekend directly as an organization, one of their colleagues, Courtney Dowe “came through in the clutch,” to come offset their booth for the weekend with less than 5 minutes left in the day on Sunday. A particularly kind and thoughtful gesture that I am more than sure her co-workers/co-volunteers appreciate. Just goes to show that playing your small part in reducing the carbon footprint of the things you do can be done in just a few minutes, for just a few dollars, and that when we take all things into consideration, all of these small individual actions add up to (eventually) outstrip the actions of even the most progressive and proactive industry leaders.
“I was more than happy to take action and make a small financial donation to offset the carbon footprint produced by our attendance at this weekend’s event! BAMBOOLOO was born with the belief and expectation that, no matter how small, thoughtful and deliberate actions contribute to large-scale changes that affect the health and sustainability of our planet.”
As mentioned above – Bambooloo was one of the top three brands at the DC Festival, and they are absolutely right in saying that small scale actions deliver large scale changes.
Trey acted on behalf of his uncle’s food court vendor station and offset their spot for the weekend with practically zero hesitation. As soon as he understood what the offer was, he considered it a no-brainer. Unfortunately we have no Logo, nor website to link to for Trey’s company, but his resolve to exhibit responsibly certainly deserves a shout out!
“I am happy to offset my carbon footprint with CCC (Carbon Credit Capital) by protecting the Amazon rainforest, an important carbon sink that reduces the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere and mitigates the rate of global warming.”
Sheida Kourangi, of Share International magazine shows the unity of current political, social and environmental changes and advocates the Principle of Sharing as the simplest way to restore balance and equilibrium to the environment and create a sustainable future for all.
Holistic Veterinary Healing is a veterinarian clinic in Germantown, MD that offers a broad range of integrative and holistic care for your pets. Dr. Pema Mallu has decades of experience helping pets heal and stay healthy. However, it was Cecelia Bonfils who stepped up and offset the Hospital’s carbon footprint for the weekend.
They promise you can rest assured that each pet receives high-quality compassionate care. Who knows – perhaps in the near future you’ll be able to have a carbon neutral Vet experience!
In a similar fashion to Trey Bent, Josh Burrows – one of the founders of the SSC – was up for offsetting his exhibit at the festival practically as the words flowed out of my mouth. I would of course be remiss to omit the practically infinite number of different spice mixes, rubs, and combinations heaped on his table. I even bought some for myself that seemed too good to pass up (dill yogurt rub, herbs de Provence, and a curry barbeque rub). I’ve had a chance to cook with these spices a few times now, and certainly give two thumbs up – keep up the good work gentlemen!
“The American Herbalists Guild Washington DC Metro Chapter formed to connect herbalists with those interested in herbalism. AHG DC provides collaborative learning opportunities, business networking and collaboration and promotes herbal knowledge in our community by organizing educational workshops, plant walks and seminars.”
I met the local chapter President, Eliza, at the VIP Launch Party on Friday night and was pleasantly surprised to have her participation in our carbon neutral exhibitor push come Sunday. The Guild stands to be a solid player in the efforts I mention to make the Green Festival live on throughout the year, beyond the 2 days and 4 walls of the actual venue. Hopefully by the time next years festival rolls around their network is able to grow and thrive both within and outside of the show.
Jess Filkins of Jahmu Chai was also one of those in attendance at the Launch Party on Friday night and was showcasing her fantastically fragrant line of tea and milk mixes. I have since had a chance to try her caffeine free chai mix, and that thing packs a punch of flavor to savor! While I have no direct quote, Jess, along with Josh and Trey was taken aback with how simple it is to offset your footprint for the weekend, and were it not for her being a solo exhibitor (like myself) she literally almost jumped at the opportunity. The mixes have been a hit at the office since I’ve been back, and I imagine we’ll end up placing an order for more once our current stash runs out!
Janine Finnell – the executive director of Leaders In Renewable Energy – a group of very talented experts and professionals (of which I am now privileged to consider myself a member) – was/is quite the hip lady! She stopped by the booth and before long was shouting us out on about every form of social media you can conjure. Janine was speaking at the conference, but did have to travel for the weekend and so she too offset her attendance as a presenter/speaker. Because she didn’t have a booth of her own, here is the picture Janine posted of the two of us on Twitter.
As the first Exhibitor of the weekend to offset their footprint from the Festival, Chesapeake is, of course as happenstance would have it, the last one to be included in this highlight. I could see the business cogs in the GM, Kevin’s head turning as we discussed what sort of recognition they could gain by doing something like earning a carbon neutral Exhibitor certification for the weekend. Seemed to make enough sense for him right away. As a company with USDA Organic and Fair Trade certifications, like the other Exhibitors who didn’t need to mull the prospect over much, Kevin saw this as a pretty simple way to get some solid recognition in addition to the great work they already do every day.
For ticket info of the New York City Session, please click here.