Offset Your FIELD 2 Carbon Footprint: Plant a Tree in the HBS Forest

by on January 7th, 2013

In an effort to minimize the environmental footprint associated with travel during the FIELD 2 Global Immersion, the MBA Program has purchased 1,667 trees in the Chilean Patagonia forest. These trees will sequester 834 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), or roughly 16% of the carbon emissions associated with travel during January.

MBA students now have the opportunity to offset the remaining 84% by purchasing trees that will be planted in the HBS Forest located in Chilean Patagonia.

HBS has chosen to partner with Patagonia Sur, a for-profit conservation venture founded by Warren Adams (MBA 1995). Patagonia Sur invests in, protects, and enhances ecologically valuable properties. The project generates carbon offsets by planting native species trees.

For those not familiar with the specifics of carbon emissions, here’s a brief overview:

We emit carbon dioxide every day when we use electricity, drive our cars, take a flight or consume goods and services. This CO2 gets trapped in the earth’s lower atmosphere and contributes to global warming. Sunshine is able to pass through, but some of the heat is radiated back and retained within the lower atmosphere, causing an increase in temperatures.

It is possible to neutralize the emissions associated with our daily lives and business activities (our “carbon footprint”) by making changes in our own energy consumption and/or by purchasing carbon offsets (the reduction of one metric ton of CO2). Carbon offsets are created via renewable energy projects, improved energy efficiency, and reforestation. The latter has proven to be particularly effective at sequestering CO2, which plants absorb during photosynthesis.

Since 2010, HBS has increased its efforts to reduce the school’s carbon footprint. The Business & Environment Initiative (BEI) offset its BEI Conference. Over 500 HBS alumni who returned for their spring reunion offset their travel. Professor Arthur I. Segel wrote a finance case on the for-profit approach to conservation and a group of HBS and HKS students traveled to Chile to consult on Patagonia Sur’s operations. The HBS Forest in Patagonia comprises 3,330 trees and 1,665 tons of CO2 sequestrated (1 tree offsets roughly 0.5 tons of CO2).

Students, now is your chance to get involved! To offset your FIELD 2 flights and help reforest Patagonia, please visit http://www.patagoniasuroffsets.com/hbsforest.

With only $6 you can purchase your own tree and offset 0.5 tons of CO2! If every student purchases 9 trees ($54), 100% of emissions from FIELD 2 travel will be offset.

The website is user-friendly and has been customized for FIELD 2. For RC students, you may select a “sub-forest” corresponding to your FIELD 2 location. If you’re an EC, you may opt to plant a tree in the HBS main forest.

If you want to find out precisely how many trees you should purchase to offset your trip, you can use a carbon footprint calculator: http://sustainabletravelinternational.org/utilities/carbon-calculator/.

So go ahead—click, plant, and offset!

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