Businesses Lead Way in Climate Action

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Tompkins Weekly 12-9-20

By Sustainable Tompkins

The heat is on! Typically in our climate-change-fueled work, this would not be a great phrase to hear. However, for our 2020 Finger Lakes Enterprises for Climate Action campaign (FLECA), it’s music to our ears.

This fall, Sustainable Tompkins launched our very first local-business-focused offsetting campaign for our Finger Lakes Climate Fund. The FLECA campaign has already welcomed a host of new climate-ready local businesses. We are delighted to celebrate our top offsetters: Halco Energy, Beck Equipment, Paddle-N-More and Snug Planet.

It has been incredible to witness local business leaders step up and invest in tangible climate action that both reduces emissions and works to achieve economic equity. Each of their contributions is fueling our ambitious goal of $12,500, equivalent to six Climate Fund grants, which will offset at least 100 tons of CO2.

The Climate Fund gives us an opportunity to take responsibility for our carbon emissions locally in conjunction with our work to reduce them. These offset donations accumulate into grants, which we distribute to lower-income families in the Finger Lakes to fund energy efficiency projects like installing insulation, air sealing and clean heating and cooling with heat pumps.

Oftentimes, these projects wouldn’t be able to move forward because of the financial strain on lower-income families. However, the Climate Fund (fully funded by community-offset dollars) pairs with a variety of state incentives and grants to make these technology upgrades possible.

As a result, these families are leading the way to net-zero emissions, freeing themselves from health issues stemming from old fossil fuel systems, reducing their energy bills and making their homes more comfortable. The Climate Fund fills financing gaps to move these projects forward, ultimately assisting local green job development in the process.

The Climate Fund has been a localized boots-on-the-ground effort to battle the effects of climate change and the devastating effects of the fossil fuel industry. After identifying the need to create a transparent, accessible offsetting opportunity as an alternative to less credible carbon markets in distant locations, Gay Nicholson started the Fund in 2010. Since then, the Climate Fund has collaborated with green contractor partners to award 61 grants, assisting local families with over $100,000 for insulation, air sealing and renewable energy projects.

This is essential work in our fight for a Green New Deal and building resiliency in our community in the face of the climate crisis. These grants directly prevent outdated, harmful fossil fuel energy systems from polluting our atmosphere with harmful CO2.

Businesses have a unique role to play in these turbulent times, showing leadership and investing in the progressive, essential changes that will keep our communities alive and thriving are more important than ever. They are also enjoying the opportunity to align even more closely with the values of their clientele, as customers are increasingly demanding that businesses walk their sustainability talk.

In this campaign, we are offering Tiers of Giving to provide opportunities for several avenues of promotion. We are also happy to consult with business leaders on expanding our partnership through website landing pages and assisting their own clients in offsetting emissions from purchases.

Equipped with our nifty carbon calculator, local enterprises are invited to identify their most significant sources of carbon emissions and pollution in their operations. As close to net-zero as they try to be, there’s always something to offset!

Odyssey Bookstore and Rogues’ Harbor Inn are recent contributors to our business campaign. With $3,550 in offsets to get us started, we are already more than 28% of the way to our goal of 100 tons of CO2 kept out of our atmosphere!

We thank these businesses for their generosity and applaud their commitment to a sustainable and equitable future. We also look forward to welcoming South Hill Cidery, Marriott Ithaca, and Monks on the Commons to the FLECA in the near future.

Helping businesses review their energy bills and brainstorm ways they can additionally reduce their emissions has been a wonderfully collaborative and illuminating experience that we want to extend to everyone.

Does your organization want to help Finger Lakes families stay warm this winter? Email or visit for more information, including benefits of joining.

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