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Green Mountain Coffee Roasters

Leveraging Offsets to Help Rebuild a Small Town

Since its humble beginnings as a Vermont coffee shop, Keurig Green Mountain, now with $2.6 billion in sales, has achieved industry leadership through its “Brewing a Better World” initiative that blends corporate social responsibility with high quality coffee products.

Among its sustainable practices, Keurig Green Mountain has pledged to mitigate 100% of the measured greenhouse gas emissions that they cannot avoid through onsite reductions from energy efficiency and renewable energy use. For its CSR efforts, Keurig Green Mountain has been named one of Corporate Responsibility Magazine‘s “100 Best Corporate Citizens,” Forbes and Audit Integrity’s “100 Most Trustworthy Companies,” and CRO Magazine‘s “2010 Responsible CEO of the Year.”

Since 2003, Native has helped Keurig Green Mountain achieve its greenhouse gas reduction goals. With our Help Build™ carbon offsets, Keurig Green Mountain helped fund the Alex Little Soldier Wind Turbine, the first American Indian-owned large scale turbine in the U.S. Since then, Keurig Green Mountain has helped build more than 11 projects with Native.

“We have made a conscious decision to buy forward stream offsets because our purchase helps to build new projects that need up-front funding to be built. This ensures that our purchases make a difference by enabling new project construction. While these projects reduce emissions as they operate over time, greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are a long-term problem, and helping to build clean infrastructure is an essential part of the solution.” – Keurig Green Mountain, 2010 Corporate Social Responsibility Report

In 2003, the sustainability team at Keurig Green Mountain faced a core dilemma: their company’s growth had increased their carbon footprint. Keurig Green Mountain implemented strong efficiency and carbon management efforts, but recognized that due to current limits, part of the carbon footprint would remain. They needed to find a genuine, socially-conscious way to reduce these emissions.

To take the next step toward reduction, Keurig Green Mountain committed to a single purchase of offsets from the award-winning Greensburg Wind Farm in March 2009. As a Greensburg Charter Supporter, Keurig Green Mountain provided critical upfront funding for the 12.5 MW wind farm that helped a tornado-ravaged community rebuild as the “greenest town in America.”

Paul Comey, Vice President of Environmental Affairs at Keurig Green Mountain, expressed cautious interest:

“When Native first brought the Greensburg project to us, we were intrigued because the devastation had been pretty catastrophic. The thought of a totally renewable city really intrigued us. As I thought about what part of our offset portfolio Greensburg should be, I was thinking it probably should not be a major part.”

As a Charter Supporter, Mr. Comey was able to attend the Greensburg groundbreaking ceremony in October of 2009. While there, he signed a turbine blade, visited with the community members and Native staff, and even built a relationship with the local Green Bean Coffee Co., which now serves Green Mountain Coffee Roasters® coffee.

After attending the ceremony, Paul began to see how Greensburg could further the company’s pledge on addressing climate change.

“I have got to say, after coming to the groundbreaking and seeing what’s going on in Greensburg, I’ve rethought things. I really want to push forward and make Greensburg a major part of our carbon offset portfolio.  What the people are doing here—the motivation, the way folks are working together—is a model for how we can go forward in the country, and at Keurig Green Mountain we want to be a leader in advancing that model.”

In late 2009 and early 2010, Keurig Green Mountain decided to play a bigger role in the Greensburg Wind Farm and agreed to a multi-year contract for over 50 percent of the offsets from the project.

By choosing a three-year contract for Greensburg, Keurig Green Mountain was able to build a known price for carbon into their budgets, which has several benefits:

  • It enables Keurig Green Mountain to play a larger role in helping build the Greensburg Wind Farm.
  • It allows Keurig Green Mountain to accomplish the pledge they made to mitigate their effect on climate change.
  • It achieves a greater goal for Keurig Green Mountain by supporting local communities.

Recognized for its strong community benefits, the Greensburg Wind Farm was named 2011 “Wind Project of the Year” by Renewable Energy World. As Mike Dupee, VP of corporate social responsibility, described after attending the project dedication ceremony in the spring of 2010:

“This project had a special appeal because of the community impact as well… The Greensburg community really went through a tough time two or three years ago. They’ve transformed the community into what they call ‘the greenest town in America’ and these, I think, are the best kind of offsets where you create the environmental benefit and create some serious social and community values.”

With Native carbon offsets, Keurig Green Mountain was able to reduce its corporate greenhouse gas emissions and directly help build a community-based project that that is creating a better world.

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