I’ve never been to Portland, Oregon, but I’ve heard that it’s like Williamsburg, Brooklyn with some Berkley thrown in. So it should be no surprise to those familiar with the city that Portland State University plans to raise funds for campus sustainability projects by selling 1,500 tons of carbon credits to Chevrolet.
But lest you think Chevrolet will use up all those credits to pollute, think again − this deal is part of a community-based initiative by Chevrolet to keep up to 8 million metric tons of carbon emissions from being released into the atmosphere. Chevrolet has been buying and retiring carbon credits since 2010.
“Our Climate Action Plan has us making strides toward achieving net-zero emissions from campus operations by 2040, so naturally improving the energy efficiency of our buildings is high on our to-do list,” says PSU’s utility manager Noel Mingo. “When Chevy approached us about purchasing the credits associated with the work we were doing, the timing was perfect.”
Through the Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF), Chevrolet has identified and acquired carbon reductions from wind energy, forestry conservation, and energy efficiency projects at universities across the country.
“Having Chevy step in to carry those front-end costs is going to make the pathway for the next campus project smoother, less steep, and more likely. Chevy is opening the door to a new category of market-based incentives by relying on the leadership shown by Portland State and the other schools involved,” added president of the BEF, Angus Duncan.
Of course, Chevrolet can’t resist tooting its own horn: “Chevrolet supports the cause for cleaner air,” says General Motors director of sustainability, David Tulauskas. “There are other ways to fuel the clean-energy movement beyond reducing the environmental impact of our own vehicles and facilities. To us, it’s also about finding the innovators who are doing big things to leave a smaller footprint. Portland State is aggressively reducing their impact on climate change and engaging the next generation along the way. This program enables them to reinvest even more in clean energy technologies and spread the benefits further.”