When the invitation to Forterra’s annual Conservation Awards Breakfast went out, it had an intriguing question attached to it: What do Forterra, Pearl Jam, the Seattle Sounders, Molly Moon’s Ice Cream, the Woodland Park Zoo and the Seattle Aquarium have in common?
At the Thursday (May 17) breakfast, attended by nearly 2,000 people at the Washington State Convention Center, the answer was they are all part of a program to mitigate carbon emissions by planting trees throughout the region. Forterra’s program, Carbon Capturing Companies, or C3, aims at recruiting businesses to commit to calculating, reducing and mitigating their carbon output.
Pearl Jam was among the leaders in this concept, working with Forterra (formerly the Cascade Land Conservancy) for several years. Forterra mitigated the tour’s carbon emissions from its 2009 world tour through an urban forest restoration. The new program expands that idea, inviting Puget Sound region businesses to follow Pearl Jam’s lead.
Stone Gossard, Pearl Jam’s rhythm guitarist and founder, speaking at the breakfast said Pearl Jam recognized that “reducing your environmental impact is an important business choice.” He said that with all “the businesses, smarts and money in the room, this program has huge potential.”
“Fifteen years ago no one did recycling and now it is a way of life, the norm,” he said. He expressed hope that the Carbon Capturing Companies concept will achieve same kind of community sense.
The founding businesses include Pearl Jam, the Seattle Sounders FC, the Seattle Seahawks, the Seattle Mariners, Outdoor Research, Molly Moon’s Ice Cream, Woodland Park Zoo, Cherry Street Coffee, Glassybaby, Stream Real Estate, GLY Construction, CleanScapes and the Seattle Aquarium.
“Collectively, they will put over 12,000 conifer trees in the ground, which will mitigate over 60,000 tons of carbon over their 100-year lifetime,” according to a Forterra statement.
Adrian Hanauer, Sounder FC owner and general manager, said in a statement: “We recognize our impact on the planet; everything from team travel, to match day transportation, to post match clean-up.”
Gene Duvernoy, Forterra president, talked about the organization’s new name, noting that the “e” in the name is expressed in its logo as a stylized ampersand. He said the “power of and” is a large part of how the organization functions, “creating great communities and conserving great landscapes.”
The organization’s premier award, the Frank Pritchard Lifetime Achievement Award, was presented to W. Ron Allen, Tribal Council Chairman of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, for his work on the Olympic Peninsula and efforts to protect Port Gamble. More information on the award winners can be found on videos posted here.
Disclosure: Stephen H. Dunphy was communications director at Cascade Land Conservancy from 2005-10.