Sustainable Brands '12: Water Neutral Conference Through Bonneville Environmental Foundation
Sustainable Brands 12: Interview with Todd Reeve, CEO of Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF). BEF was a sponsor at Sustainable Brands 12. BEF and National Geographic were one of a handful of companies that presented at Causeway.
Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF), according to Todd “is an NGO with a different model from the majority of NGOs and foundations. We work with innovative ideas and corporate and business partnerships to catalyze change around sustainability in energy, water and carbon.” BEF is an environmental NGO that has been around for about 13 years and is “the first entity to put together the renewable energy certificate and the first online sales of that a decade ago.”
At this year’s Sustainable Brands Conference:
“BEF is a sponsor of the conference–through our Water Restoration Certificates (WRC), we balanced (or “offset”) the total water used by the conference and conference participants with an equal amount of water restored to critically dewatered ecosystems. Thus, this is one of the first conferences to balance its total water footprint by restoring back to the planet an amount of water equal to what was used by guests and conference facilities.”
Patagonia has bought WRC to decrease its water footprint. Purchasing the WRC is simple but choices for water restoration are not as simple. Water restoration is dependent on public policy and some rivers need flow while some do not. BEF is not out to create public policy but instead a connector… “we want to build a movement and get a lot of people on board.” BEF was able to connect Patagonia with an area where it could make the most difference.
Todd informs me that over 7 Billion gallons of water have been restored by corporate partners – Intel, Coca Cola, as well as smaller companies, micro brewers. The small micro brewers cannot donate as much as the Patagonias or WhiteWave Foods, but collectively they bring a lot to the table.
With a “use it or lose it philosophy on water in the West” BEF is in a position to continue connecting companies with irrigators and landowners, many who do want the changes. “We have to climb the mountain one step at a time.”
Make sure to check Bonneville Environmental Foundation’s other projects on their site. It was a pleasure to talk to Todd.