The Active Living Group—a family of publications recently acquired by Pocket Outdoor Media in Boulder, Colorado—has gone green. The group announced last week that it has partnered with Cooler, a technology company that enables businesses to calculate and neutralize the climate change impact of their products.
The Active Living Group includes outdoor and fitness titles like BACKPACKER, Climbing, The Voice, Yoga Journal, and SNEWS. Together, the group is the first major media organization in North America to make every subscription carbon-neutral.
"We originally started with the focus of eliminating plastics in our supply chain, like polybags on our magazines. This is an important component of the changes we’re making but we wanted to take our climate action a step further. Making these shifts can feel incredibly cumbersome which often paralyzes any movement. So it was important that we found a solution that would have immediate impact and partnering with Cooler delivered that for us," said Sharon Houghton, the group's vice president.
Cooler's model is simple but effective. It doesn't require any lobbying or governmental maneuvering; instead, Cooler uses software to calculate the climate impact of, say, printing and shipping a run of 10,000 magazines. It then purchases emissions permits equivalent to that impact, effectively removing them from the reach of polluters. Each permit the company purchases "prevents industrial polluters from emitting one ton of carbon and is certified by RGGI, a regulatory consortium representing 14 Northeastern states," according to a release announcing the news.
"People in the U.S. change in two ways," said Cooler CEO Michel Gelobter. "They vote and they shop. I wanted to figure out how we could get consumers to put pressure on polluters by buying permits away from them. And by the way, once we purchase those permits, the state collects the money and it’s invested in green power. It becomes a virtuous cycle."
While the move will have meaningful effects on the environment, it won't significantly impact Pocket Outdoor Media's bottom line, according to Houghton.
"Neutralizing carbon is not as cost prohibitive as most people think, so it was a no-brainer for us in terms of impact over costs," Houghton said. "While there is an upfront investment, long-term we’re focused on the health of the planet in order to allow people to continue to travel and play in the outdoors. Without these protections, these things will no longer be available in the future, which puts our entire industry at risk. That has a greater impact to the health of our business than not acting. Stay tuned because next we’re looking to neutralize the carbon from products sold through our sites, which is a win for consumers and brands alike."
The carbon-neutrality announcement was made last week to coincide with the launch of Outdoor Retailer Online, at which Cooler promoted its service via a campaign called Enough Already. Find more info about the company and its work here.