The company is actively engaged in targeted mitigation strategies including reducing long-haul corporate flights and air-shipping of products from factories, more efficient corporate energy use, encouraging alternative transportation, increasing recycled and renewable inputs in its products, and many other efforts. It aims to reduce its actual climate impact by 30% by 2010 off its 2008 baseline greenhouse gas emission estimates.
"The best carbon offset companies, like NativeEnergy, are investing in new renewable energy projects," said GoLite's co-founder and Chief Environmental Officer Kim Coupounas. "We're focused on doing our part to reduce our actual carbon emissions but we're also investing in changing the energy infrastructure through offsets so that we can help add more renewable energy to the grid. As we contemplate shrinking glaciers, pine beetles and other climate-related changes that are directly impacting our industry, we want to be a part of the solution, not just part of the problem."
NativeEnergy is consistently ranked at the top of third party research reports evaluating the quality and credibility of voluntary carbon offset companies. The company invests in the building of Native American, farmer-, and community based renewable energy projects that create social, economic, and environmental benefits for local communities. "Very few companies anywhere are going as far as GoLite is in seeking to mitigate their climate impacts," said Native Energy's business development manager, Anne Hambleton. "It's encouraging to see this level of commitment: we wish more companies would take their responsibilities as seriously as GoLite is."
For the past year, GoLite has worked with Five Winds International (www.fivewinds.com) to complete a comprehensive "bottom up" environmental footprint analysis in order to establish the baseline of information, including carbon impact, that are driving the company's footprint mitigation plan. This analysis included major environmental impacts of all of GoLite's operations from supply chain through distribution. "It's been an honor for us to be able to work closely with a company as nimble as GoLite in their efforts to become a more sustainable company," said Five Winds partner Dr. John Heckman. "They're a company that is really walking its talk." Five Winds International has been providing strategic environmental consulting services to corporations, governments, NGOs and associations since 1998. It has grown from a small environmental-management consultancy to a multidisciplinary firm serving clients throughout the world.
GoLite is also seeking to support renewable energy projects that more closely match their actual geographical impacts, including a wind farm project in Northern China, close to where many of GoLite's factories are based. For details on the renewable energy projects GoLite has supported, as well as further details on their efforts to be a more sustainable company, see below.
GoLite is the world's premier producer of lightweight clothing and equipment for active, outdoor sports. Environmental stewardship and social responsibility have been fundamental to GoLite's mission and core values since its founding in 1998. GoLite is committed to minimizing its environmental footprint - to GoLite on the PlanetTM - through innovation, resourcefulness and partnership. GoLite operates in 19 countries worldwide, including Hong Kong, Australia, Germany, UK, US and Canada. For more information, visit www.golite.com or call 888-5-GOLITE.
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GoLite's 2007 and 2008 Offset Projects
St. Leon Wind Project, Manitoba, Canada
- 63% of purchase
- Adding new renewable energy feeding the Midwest ISO grid in the US
- Providing much needed economic aid to the rural community, especially to 51 family farms that will benefit from land leases and shared revenue from the turbines
Salish - Boulder Hydro Project, Lake County, Northwest Montana
- 25% of purchase
- Retrofit of hydro project owned by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes
- Entire drainage is within external boundary of the Flathead Indian Reservation
- Located on Boulder Creek, which drains into Flathead Lake from the Mission Range of the Rocky Mountains
- Low-impact certified by the Low Impact Hydro Institute
Guohua Hulunbeier Xinbaerhu Youqi Wind Farm Project, China
- 12% of purchase
- Located in Hulunbeier City, North East of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China
- Feeds Northern electrical grid in People's Republic of China
- Installation and operation of 33 domestically produced wind turbines with an individual capacity of 1,500 kW
GoLite's 2006 Offset Project
Owl Feather War Bonnet Wind Farm, Rosebud Sioux Reservation, SD
- Helped finance construction of the Owl Feather War Bonnet Wind Farm on Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota completed in 2008
- Acquired the rights to 3.2383 kilowatt (kW) share of farm's generating capacity over the first 25 years - or 262.757 megawatt-hours (MWh)
- Donated our rights to this stream of RECs to Clean Air-Cool Planet
GoLite's Green Corporate Practices
GoLite has recently made measurable strides on its path toward sustainability. GoLite's headquarters utilize energy efficient lighting, "zero waste" recycling practices, and eco-friendly office products. All GoLite packaging and printing is produced according to the OIA Sustainable Packaging Guidelines. GoLite donations are targeted at getting more people outdoors and at environmental and conservation efforts, and 1% of all of GoLite's industry pro sales are donated to the Conservation Alliance. GoLite provides its staff an extra week of paid vacation for environmental volunteerism or field testing and actively encourages alternative forms of transportation. GoLite shares responsibility with its factories for the social and ethical conditions involved in sourcing the products that are manufactured in their name and works in partnership with their suppliers towards the ends of social and environmental responsibility. All of its factories are third-party audited for compliance with the Timberland fair labor Code of Conduct. GoLite products are also by nature "greener." Lighter, simpler products consume less materials and less energy and produce less waste and less carbon. GoLite products are also built to last and offer a life-time warranty. GoLite management believes so strongly in the importance of its sustainability efforts that it is spending more than 1% of annual revenues on its sustainability efforts. GoLite's first comprehensive CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) report is expected to be completed in early 2009.
The Path Ahead
Since its founding, GoLite has been dedicated to inspiring people to get outdoors by enhancing their outdoor experience through innovative, lightweight products that "go light on the planet." The company's long term objective is to eliminate its environmental footprint. GoLite is striving to be a 100% "carbon neutral," zero waste company that uses a majority of environmentally preferred materials and zero restricted substances in its products by 2010. The company is aggressively working to take full life-cycle responsibility for its products through use of sustainable inputs, ecologically intelligent design, and innovative recycling/end-of-life processes. "We believe that achieving a net zero footprint is possible," said Kim Coupounas. "And we've set that as our long-term goal. We know we're not going to get there overnight, so we've prepared ourselves for the long journey ahead. We are far from having all the answers, but we're making progress - day by day, decision by decision."