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Chevrolet to Buy and Retire Carbon Credits from Portland State University

Portland State University will sell Chevrolet carbon credits for two-and-a-half years' worth of energy-efficiency projects totaling 1,500 tons of avoided carbon emissions, as part of a move to raise funds for further campus sustainability projects.

The deal is the latest component of a comprehensive, voluntary carbon-reduction initiative by Chevrolet launched in 2010, with the goal of preventing up to 8 million metric tons of carbon emissions from entering the earth’s atmosphere by investing in community-based carbon reduction projects across the country. Through this initiative, Chevrolet will buy and retire carbon credits — meaning they will not be used to offset emissions related to specific Chevrolet operations or products, or those at any other site.

To achieve its goals, Chevy worked with a number of Portland-based organizations and turned to PSU for its leadership in sustainability and efficient operations.

“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,” said Noel Mingo, Portland State University’s utility manager. “When Chevy approached us about purchasing the credits associated with the work we were doing, the timing was perfect.”

Chevrolet approached PSU through Portland-area partners to achieve its greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal. Portland-based nonprofit, Bonneville Environmental Foundation, served as Chevrolet’s buyer agent and managed transactions with 12 universities.

Through BEF, Chevrolet says it has identified and acquired carbon reductions at universities across the country, from projects as diverse as wind energy, forestry conservation and energy efficiency.

To manage the program, Chevy hired Climate Neutral Business Network (CNBN), a consultancy based in the Portland suburb of Lake Oswego that specializes in helping Fortune 500 companies adopt climate-friendly practices.

The carbon performance methodology enables campuses for the first time to make money via greenhouse gas reductions that result from energy efficiency. This program enables them to reinvest even more in clean energy technologies and spread the benefits further.”

PSU joins universities across the country that are also announcing carbon deals with Chevy to mark national Campus Sustainability Day, a day that celebrates climate action and sustainable education at U.S. universities. Other campuses announcing their participation in the Chevy Clean Energy Campus Campaign today include: Spelman College; Boston University; Rochester Institute of Technology; University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point; and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Recent research by Imperial College London and the International Carbon Reduction and Offsetting Alliance (ICROA) found that offsetting one ton of carbon dioxide with carbon credits brings an additional $664 in benefits to the communities where carbon reduction projects are based. The report shows how purchasing carbon credits creates economic development opportunities, aids environmental conservation, and helps improve people’s lives by delivering household savings, health benefits and improving water resources, among other social benefits.

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