Garden of Life’s Journey to Carbon Neutrality
by Graham Popadic
Sustainability Project Coordinator, Garden of Life
Garden of Life has been leading the way for sustainability over the past 20 years and we are excited to announce that we’ve done it again. Earlier this year we set out to achieve carbon neutrality by 2022. What we didn’t anticipate, is that because of our spending 20 years developing one of the world’s most sustainable supply chains, we were able to achieve certification 6 months ahead of schedule. As of June 2021, Garden of Life is officially Carbonfree® on both a brand and product level through a third-party certifier called Carbonfund.org. But what does this mean? Carbon neutrality can be a difficult concept to grasp, so, let’s see if we can put this into layman’s terms.
To be carbon neutral means having a balance between emitting carbon and absorbing carbon from the atmosphere. There are many ways to achieve this status, but the end result must always be that you have released zero carbon emissions. It is almost impossible for a company to eliminate their carbon footprint completely, so, companies instead can purchase what we call “carbon credits” to offset the amount of carbon emissions that their company has remaining after reducing their emissions with other factors first.
The journey to carbon neutrality can be summed up in a three-step process.
- Step 1: Determine the carbon footprint. This is the most tedious of all the steps. It includes reaching out to every farm, manufacturer, and distribution center to calculate their carbon footprint. Then, we dissect the transportation, corporate offices, and even corporate travel to determine the carbon footprint of the company. In due course, all the carbon emissions are added up to form Garden of Life’s carbon footprint.
- Step 2: Once we know where we stand regarding our carbon footprint, we then identify opportunities to reduce carbon emissions. This step can range from switching the kind of light bulbs we use, to completely changing the way we ship our products.
- Step 3: Here is where we get to purchasing the carbon credits to offset or “cancel out” any carbon emissions that cannot otherwise be fully neutralized by our improvements. Finally, a third-party certifier comes in and certifies your company as being carbon neutral. For Garden of Life, that company was Carbonfund.org.
In partnership with Carbonfund.org, we offset our remaining emissions by purchasing carbon credits sourced from a renewable energy project in India supporting hydroelectric operations. We chose to support this project because of our existing collaboration with India in the form of sourcing our botanicals from the country. Purchasing these credits not only reduces greenhouse gas emissions, but also provides local employment, technology transfer, and reduces local air pollution all throughout India.
Committing to carbon neutrality was a natural extension of everything we do at Garden of Life and have been doing for years. At Garden of Life, we chose to be the first Vitamin and Supplement company to be certified Carbonfree so that we could blaze the trail towards sustainability and make it easier for others to follow suit. We set out to achieve this certification in hopes that we could equip, challenge, and hold other companies accountable to do their part in the fight against climate change. Our achieving carbon neutrality is a great step in saving the planet; however, it’s only a drop in the ocean. It’s only once we all get behind the same vision for stewarding this planet that we all call home, that real change will take place. So, join us. Join the fight to end climate change and shift the environmental tide back towards healthy living. It’s actually pretty easy to join the fight.
Here are five easy tricks and tips towards carbon friendly living:
- Choose local and organic foods while also purchasing products that are carbon neutral certified.
- Shop with reusable bags (12 million barrels of oil are used to manufacture the plastic bags consumed in the United States each year.)
- Skip the sink when washing dishes (not prewashing your dishes reduces water use by 80%).
- Turn your water heater down to 120˚F (saves about 550 pounds of CO2 a year).
- Switch to LED lightbulbs (last up to 25 times longer).
Thanks to our partnership with SustainaBase, and their innovative approach to tracking carbon emissions, we’re able to continually monitor hotspots and opportunities in our supply chain and operations so we know where to focus our carbon reduction efforts. We are committed to continually reducing our carbon footprint even more by choosing carbon neutral shipping methods, eliminating plastics from our packaging, and releasing sustainable products like our new Dr. Formulated MD Protein line. This new Mediterranean diet line is sourced from some of the most sustainable proteins on earth. They are sourced, packaged, and produced with global impact in mind.
On top of our new Carbonfree® certification, Garden of Life is now also 100% Amazon Climate Pledge Friendly Certified. As of 2021, Amazon is now placing a special stamp on certain products that are good for the environment and are certified by a third party. Due to our partnership with Carbonfund.org, all Garden of Life products on Amazon are now Climate Pledge Friendly. Which makes us the only major company in our industry to accomplish this feat.
Garden of Life has always been the first to say yes to sustainability, organic living, and to empowering extraordinary health. We believe that to empower extraordinary health in our communities it starts with us as individuals making small changes like choosing sustainable options when available. So, don’t just sit around watching all these companies take on amazing sustainability initiatives. Get involved and challenge yourself to be the change. Your difference and impact does matter. We’re in this together.