On a trip to Vietnam to visit a manufacturing partner two years ago, the founder of Peak Design , a San Francisco-based company that makes backpacks and other bags, stood looking at a storage facility full of the materials used to make the company’s products. He started thinking about the environment. “It was just an extraordinary amount of material,” says Peter Dering. “It was kind of a gulp moment of, ‘oh boy, we are making an impact—in a negative way.’” He realized that he had no idea what the company’s carbon footprint might be, but he wanted to find out. A consulting firm told Peak Design that it would cost tens of thousands of dollars to calculate its greenhouse gas emissions in detail. But as they went through the process, Dering realized that it would have been possible to roughly estimate emissions for next to nothing. He also realized that buying carbon offsets to make the company carbon neutral would cost comparatively little. In a year in which Peak Design did around $30 million worth of business, everything could be offset for $60,000. Dering started to wonder why more companies weren’t doing the same thing. He decided to partner […]


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