HBS & Patagonia Sur Partnership

HBS has partnered with Patagonia Sur to offer carbon offsets (on a voluntary basis) to faculty, staff and students that choose to offset the carbon footprint associated with travel and events.

The relationship has grown deeper than that, however, as it has fostered not only the planting of native trees to offset our footprint, but also has created student travel to Chile, case studies of Patagonia Sur's business operations, alumni involvement and on-site travel, and combined efforts in research.

The unique partnership began in 2010 when Patagonia Sur provided carbon offsets for ourBusiness and Environment Initiative conference. All attendees' footprints were neutralized through the planting of trees in Patagonia. Then, in that same year, several HBS and HKS students traveled to Patagonia Sur's properties in Chile to conduct research and consult on the business's operations.

Since then, HBS has enjoyed reduced emissions reunions sponsored by Patagonia Sur, co-hosted Governor Patrick's visit to Chile in 2011, and continues to grow the HBS Forest and further develop travel and research opportunities.

In 2013, FIELD travel was partially offset by the students, with contributions from the MBA Program. Later that year, part of the Business and Environment Initiative’s conference footprint was partially offset.

Patagonia Sur's VCS-Certified Offsets

Patagonia Sur's Reforestation & Biodiversity Project is accredited under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS). This is the first project in Chile to use native-species trees to generate certified carbon offsets.

In 2010, Patagonia Sur launched its Reforestation and Biodiversity Project on its Valle California property in the Palena province of southern Chile. Three types of native-species beech trees, Coigüe, Ñirre, and Lenga, are planted in a pattern that replicates the growth of a natural forest. Each tree is expected to sequester 0.48 tons of carbon dioxide over an 80-year period. In 2012, Patagonia Sur expects to plant more than 1,000,000 trees.

VCS is a global leader in the voluntary carbon market, ensuring that carbon credits sold to companies and consumers can be trusted to produce tangible environmental benefits. Patagonia Sur fulfilled all requirements for VCS certification: its carbon offsets are scientifically sound, measurable, permanent, and independently verified, with each offset used only once to offset emissions.

Patagonia Sur is replanting in areas that were deforested in the early 1900s by settlers who burned more than seven million acres to clear land for pasture. Deforestation is a leading contributor of carbon emissions worldwide, second only to the burning of fossil fuels. Temperate forest absorbs the most CO2 and Chile hosts one of the world’s largest areas of temperate forest.

In addition to sequestering carbon dioxide, Patagonia Sur's Valle California reforestation program benefits the area’s ecology by helping control soil erosion, strengthen native plant communities, reduce the number of invasive plant species, and improve habitat for the region’s wildlife. Therefore, when clients purchase a VCS-validated carbon credit from Patagonia Sur, they are able to achieve their own goals of carbon neutrality, while also ensuring the long-term preservation of one of the world’s most remarkable ecosystems.

“We are proud that our efforts to restore Chile’s native biodiversity in this global hot-spot have been validated by rigorous third-party standards. VCS verification confirms that our forest-based carbon offset project is of the highest scientific integrity, and will sequester the specified amount of greenhouse gases”says Javier Fuentes, general manager for Carbon Offsets at Patagonia Sur.

Individuals and families interested in offsetting their carbon footprint, or neutralizing specific activities or items such as weddings, travel, homes, or vehicles, may purchase offsets directly from Patagonia Sur’s website.

Carbon Offsets Overview

Carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) are created every time we use electricity, heat our homes, drive our cars, take a flight or consume goods and services.

While we should all reduce our greenhouse gas emissions as much as is practically possible, the reality is that our modern lifestyles generate CO2 emissions. Collectively, these CO2 emissions contribute to global warming, which is expected to cause significant detrimental ecological, social and economic risks and impacts.

Carbon offsets are a means to counterbalance CO2 emissions and help fight global warming. A carbon offset represents the reduction of one metric ton of CO2 or its equivalent in other greenhouse gases.

These offsets are created via renewable energy projects, improved energy efficiency, and forestry programs. Reforestation has proved to be particularly effective at sequestering CO2, which plants absorb during photosynthesis.

Patagonia Sur has begun to create carbon offsets through its Reforestation & Biodiversity Project in Patagonia. Following a set of internationally recognized standards (VCS and CCB), Patagonia Sur will plant approximately 500,000 native species trees on its Valle California property in the Palena Province of Chilean Patagonia. Collectively, these trees are expected to sequester, or neutralize, a total of 171,500 tons of CO2.