Let’s get planting! Cascades and Taking Root to help a great cause during May, the “Tree and Forest” month

May, the ''Tree and forest'' month

It’s already the month of May!  Have you noticed that trees are sporting the first green buds of spring?  Well, that might explain why the fifth month of the year is now called “Tree & Forest Month”. 

Cascades is celebrating in our own special way: We promise to plant one tree for every new person to ”Like” our Facebook page during the month of May. It’s an idea we came up with in partnership with Taking Root, to help make the world a more sustainable place!

Voluntary carbon offsetting: An idea whose time has come

Trees and their forest homes are near and dear to Cascades, not only because they are the natural resources from which we create valuable products, but also because they represent our collective future, as a species living alongside other species. The preservation and care of the world’s trees has long been our corporate priority – beginning a half-century ago when the Lemaire brothers  turned to used paper and cardboard as a secondary source, to avoid cultivating forests unnecessarily.  And knowing the role of trees and forests within the planet’s eco-system, we have always maintained a close watch on our carbon emissions and have long been committed to replanting trees as part of our global sustainability initiative.  It’s just who we are.

Cascades is, and has been for four years, working in partnership with Taking Root, a non-profit organization developing social reforestation projects in collaboration with small-scale farmers in Nicaragua.  In fact, it was in 2008 that we connected with Samuel Gervais, just one year after he and three other individuals from Montreal’s Concordia University co-founded the organization and began its mission. Their charitable activities are funded through the sale of carbon offsets all over the world; Taking Root offers both individuals and corporations the opportunity to both determine their current carbon footprint, and then calculate how many offsets are needed to compensate for the resulting carbon emissions.  For corporations, this means rethinking events that require a lot of fossil fuels to accomplish, such as annual meetings and conferences that displace a large amount of people by air travel, etc.

Awareness of our carbon footprint is now an industry standard; many small businesses have arisen to meet the need for corporations to market and improve their efforts in meeting new and greener goals, but also to ensure that they are accessible as regulation is put into place.  The web site www.carboncatalog.org lists several credit offset suppliers, offering participants choices in terms of how and where they can earn carbon credits – from planting trees here or elsewhere, to substituting one energy form for another, cleaner one.  There are a wide range of options.     

A dedicated partnership

Once Cascades decided to partner with an organization, we reviewed our options.  The work of Taking Root caught our eye, but we were hesitant at first; this is a Canadian-based company, yet its efforts target a country in which Cascades has no involvement.  This conflicted with Cascades’ commitment to the geography within which we work and live, such as the communities surrounding our facilities.  Plus, since we have already made a significant investment in reducing our emissions (millions of dollars each year towards improving our energy efficiency, as one example), we questioned whether the partnership optimized our efforts.  In the end, we were charmed by the organization and its mission, and simply wanted to be part of it. 

Once you know all the facts, it’s hard to resist.  Nicaraguais the second-poorest country in the Americasand reforestation efforts in that country are undeniably beneficial in so many ways – environmental, social, economical and more – and definitely sympatico with our way of thinking.  We recognized the advantages of working with this growing concern, too, in that we’re both headquartered in the same city with members in the field.  For these reasons and more, we chose Taking Root as our carbon offset supplier going forward.

Just “Like” us to help!

Now, those who are responsible for buying credit carbons to offset their activities understand it better than ever:  Offsetting costs very little and yet represents so much!  Which is why we’re trying to find new and better ways to help support this small organization.

The month of May, dedicated to trees and forests, is a perfect time to show our support for Taking Root.  And you can help too!  Throughout May, any time a new visitor “likes” us on our Facebook page, we will buy a tree to plant in Nicaragua.  Our goal?  Make 1,000 new people aware of this important mission, and help change the lives of hundreds of Nicaraguans in the process. To help you keep track of our success, please note that as of this posting, our Facebook page has 19,567 friends.  Let’s push it and go for 1000 more!

And since Taking Root offers a geo-localization service as well, we will let all of our online friends know exactly when and where these 1,000 trees will be planted, after our goal has been met and the reforestation work begins.

Spread the word!

Finally, to help clarify the carbon offset market, which is better recognized overseas than here in North America, and to understand its potential impact on climate change, we have invited Taking Root to write our next blog post.  Check back soon!

Click here to visit us on Facebook: http://on.fb.me/wCCpIL

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About the Author
Marie-Eve Chapdelaine

Marie-Eve Chapdelaine is a specialist in sustainable development and has worked at Cascades since 2006. She is particularly interested in building public awareness and changing attitudes regarding social and environmental issues. In her role at Cascades, Marie-Eve uses her expertise to inform, guide and support her colleagues in maintaining the company’s leadership position in sustainable development. She has earned an undergraduate degree in public communications from Université Laval and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in environment at Université de Sherbrooke. “I’ve always been interested in environmental causes, but also in social issues. Sustainable development allows me to pursue both interests at once. What better than to work at Cascades, a beacon in this area, and a company that is open to implementing all sorts of measures to improve performance and maintain its leadership position.” Because she believes every citizen needs to take responsibility for improving their living environment, Marie-Eve is also socially engaged, sitting on several community boards and committees.

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