SmithGroup is now officially carbon neutral across its 18 domestic offices. It is also advancing a firmwide Climate Action Plan to further refine decarbonization of its operations, and to accelerate its meeting of major industry climate action commitments, including AIA 2030, MEP 2040, and SE2050.
“As SmithGroup continues to grow our business footprint, it was essential that we quantify and address our carbon footprint in an accurate and meaningful way,” said Greg Mella, SmithGroup’s Director of Sustainability.
SmithGroup purchased carbon sequestration and renewable energy credits to offset the firm’s 2022 business travel and office operational emissions that couldn’t be covered through other changes and improvements. Recognizing the concerns that have been raised over the quality and impact of commercial offsets, SmithGroup partnered with Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF) to vet and select programs that embrace high standards of accountability and verification – and provide the most holistic range of climate action impacts and benefits.
“The programs we selected – the Anew - Doyon Native Community Forest Project in Alaska and the Minnesota Pollinator Friendly Solar Gardens – also provide significant social and economic equity and biodiversity benefits,” said Mella. “So they’re providing additional impacts on top of carbon sequestration and reduction.”
SmithGroup’s renewable energy credits come from a solar farm in Minnesota that not only produces clean energy but also grows pollinator gardens under the solar panels, creating a thriving habitat for bees and birds. The firm’s business travel carbon emissions are being offset by a project that supports the sustainable management of precious boreal forest across Alaska’s Yukon-Koyukuk and Southeast Fairbanks boroughs. It also promotes the economic and social well-being of Alaska Natives by providing opportunities for community and regional economic growth, investment in sustainability infrastructure, and targeted forest management for cultural use and recreation, preserving its loss from expanded mining in the region.