Update: The folks at REC provided me with more accurate information regarding our renewable energy credits purchases. View the new post.

Statements Tile is a green business, top to bottom. After an extensive environmental audit three years ago, we instituted a sustainability program that addresses the impacts we have on the environment beginning with the most cost effective and working down the list. Essentially, we want to get the most bang for our buck. We have written about a couple of those initiatives, including big picture stuff like product selection (What makes our tile green?) to little picture stuff like composting in our staff kitchen (It’s easy being green!).

One outcome of the audit was the recognition that we don’t have control over all the ways our business impacts the natural environment. In fact, our biggest footprint is the emissions associated with shipping material from the factory to our warehouses in Seattle. So how can we mitigate those impacts? In a partnership with Renewable Choice Energy, we are now purchasing carbon credits equal to the emissions associated with our freight, effectively canceling out the emissions from our shipping with credit from reductions from other sources. The reductions come in a variety of formats: the construction of wind turbines, the planting of trees, or the installation of solar energy facilities.

But the question we ask is why we are willing to pay more for clean energy and carbon credits, not how we do it. When my grandfather started a tile company over forty years ago, he wasn’t looking for a quick buck. He wanted to create something for his grandchildren. He succeeded. Taking the long view, thinking generations into the future, is built into the DNA of our company. It’s our definition of sustainability, and it’s why we are willing to take the extra step to make our business green.

One last note. As I wrote this story, I came across an article, just published today, about how the shipping industry can go green–without any new technology. Just by slowing down.