While reducing our direct energy footprint is our first priority, we have purchased offsets since 2007 for greenhouse gas emissions we have not yet been able to eliminate. These include emissions from our U.S facilities and employee commuting, as well as for the business travel for all North American associates. In addition, in 2010, we began offseting the emissions associated with shipping products that are purchased at thenorthface.com through a partnership with GreenShipping and we now work with the non-profit Bonneville Environmental Foundation for our offsets. To offset the emissions from our owned and operated facilities, we also invest in Green-E Climate Certified carbon offsets and Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) through the non-profit Bonneville Environmental Foundation.
Since 2007, we have offset 100 percent of the emissions from our business travel and employee commuting through The Conservation Fund. The Fund leverages the carbon absorbing abilities of trees by planting them and protecting national wildlife refuges to offset carbon emissions. Go Zero offsets emissions by leveraging the carbon absorbing abilities of trees by planting and protecting forests in national wildlife refuges in the United States. From 2008 to 2013, our offsets removed almost 18,000 metric tonnes of CO2 through the planting of approximately 20,000 trees in the Lower Mississippi region. In our own backyard, we preserved 10 acres of California’s redwoods that will continue to trap carbon instead of being cut down.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) honored our consistent offset of 100% of our U.S. energy use with Green Power Leadership Awards in 2012 and 2013. Noting that green power purchasing is an integral and important feature of the company’s sustainability strategy, the EPA also commended our climate education efforts through the Hot Planet/Cool Athlete program. The EPA also highlighted our promotion of green power usage to customers via signage at cash registers and in-store dressing rooms.