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This page contains a draft of a proposed HCoop Environmental Policy. As always, add comments or proposed revisions here.

1. Background

One of the defining SevenPrinciples of cooperatives is "Concern for Community," or more succinctly, Social Responsibility. A cooperative that ignores its social responsibility has ceased to be cooperative at all and has become a mutant, renegade firm. Environmental responsibility, then, is an extension of a cooperative's greater social responsibility.

The greatest single resistance to a solid environmental policy is the attitude that it will increase costs with no tangible benefit. In fact, often environmental discipline yields a direct cost saving, and where additional costs are incurred they are usually small for this type of business. Additionally, the ability to certify our business as green and powered by renewable energy gives us bragging rights that few other services in a crowded field can offer, and can draw in more business from environmentally conscious consumers. This is the best kind of advertising money can buy.

Moreover, the sooner we adopt a comprehensive policy, the easier it will be to stick to it, rather than doing it halfway and making excuses once we are large that we've never done it in the past.

On to the substance:

2. Power

Baseline: Zero carbon emissions, ideally from clean energy offsets.

How: Purchasing renewable energy credits or carbon offsets equal to the number of KW-hours consumed by HCoop servers. NativeEnergy defines "renewable energy credits" this way:

Where: Two of the better options I have found:

Immediate cost: between $0.05 and $0.15 per member monthly. Future cost: the same or lower, as hardware utilization rates increase, and more efficient hardware is acquired.

Estimated cost as of 2013-03: According to http://www.carbonfund.org/business-calculator, Carbonfund charges about $10/tonne, or $11/ton. According to http://www.nativeenergy.com/business-carbon-calculator.html, Native Energy charges about $13.20/ton. Therefore, unless my calculations are totally wrong, it should cost less than $100/year to offset most of our CO2 emissions.

AdamChlipala says:

The EPA's Power Profiler can estimate our actual emissions per year (Peer1's zip code is 10004). Only about 60% of our electricity is generated from fossil fuels, so according to the calculator we're emitting ~7,000 lbs of CO2 per year assuming we use ~10,000 kWh per year.

3. Hardware

Baseline: Ensure that no HCoop electronics end up in landfill.

How: At a minimum, send all hardware not sold or donated to a reputable recycling facility.

Where: The EPA links to hardware recycling resources, including recycling service locators. Raleigh, NC, where several volunteers live as of 2013-01, provides free electronics recycling to residents.

Immediate cost: none

Future cost: Selling hardware could save money. Recycling could cost some money as hardware is retired. Some manufacturers will recycle their hardware for free.

Links to computer recycling programs:

4. Paper

Baseline: Minimize use of paper. Use only post-consumer recycled/tree free paper.


DavidBettis says:

Immediate cost: none, HCoop's use of paper is currently limited to occasional mailings and corporate records. Future cost: cost savings through conservation. Paper is such a tiny portion of cost that nominal premium for recycled or tree-free paper is nothing.

5. External Resources

EnvironmentalPolicy (last edited 2013-03-07 21:59:15 by RobinTempleton)