Home Depot to Offset Carbon Emissions at Atlanta Headquarters

Home Depot to Offset Carbon Emissions at Atlanta Headquarters

The Home Depot, the world's largest home improvement retailer, has entered into an agreement with Conservation Fund to offset all carbon emissions created this year by the company's Atlanta headquarters and a portion of emissions created by associates commuting to work and traveling on business.

Home Depot will fund the planting of thousands of trees on nearly 130 acres across metro Atlanta to offset the carbon emissions as part of The Conservation Fund's Go Zero program.

The Home Depot's commitment marks the largest such carbon offset through reforestation in the United States, according to the Conservation Fund. The fund estimates that Home Depot annually creates approximately 36,500 tons of carbon dioxide at its 35-acre headquarters complex, 2,300 tons from air travel for business and 12,100 tons from automobiles used by associates commuting to work.

Through its Go Zero program, The Conservation Fund has become the nation's leader in helping companies offset their carbon footprints by using reforestation. During the past five years, the fund has planted more than 5 million trees that will offset nearly 7 million tons of carbon dioxide over the next 70 years.

Ron Jarvis, Home Depot's vice president of environmental innovation, said the decision to offset carbon emissions is part of the Company's overall philosophy of diminishing the environmental impact of its operations. "The Home Depot's commitment to offsetting carbon emissions through the Go Zero program is a milestone for the Company," Jarvis said. "By offsetting our carbon emissions through reforestation, we are doing more than sequestering carbon. We are planting trees that will help reduce the heat island effect in urban areas, reduce erosion and storm water runoff, and help clean the air."

Home Depot announced its commitment to Go Zero this week at the U.S. Conference of Mayors' 2nd National Summit on Energy and the Environment in Atlanta. The Home Depot Foundation, which promotes energy-efficient, sustainable affordable housing and healthy community design, is the title sponsor of the two-day summit.

To offset carbon emissions, Home Depot will fund the planting of trees in the nearby Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area and at Panola Mountain Park in Rockdale County and Kennesaw Mountain State Park in Cobb County. Larry Selzer, president of The Conservation Fund, said Home Depot's commitment will have a major impact on the environment in the Company's hometown.

"Climate change has emerged as the most pressing environmental issue of our time," Selzer said. "We applaud Home Depot's leadership for its commitment to offset the carbon footprint of its headquarters. In addition to making a significant contribution to the effort to address climate change, The Home Depot's actions will restore important wildlife habitat and enhance public recreation areas in the broader metropolitan Atlanta region."

The Conservation Fund will begin planting trees on behalf of The Home Depot early next year. Members of Team Depot, The Home Depot's nationally recognized volunteer program, will assist in the planting of the trees.

As part of its Climate Change Program, The Conservation Fund launched Go Zero to engage people around the world -- companies, communities and individuals -- in the effort to combat global warming. Simply put, Go Zero measures the carbon dioxide emissions of virtually any slice of life, including travel-related activities such as air and automobile transportation and hotel rooms. The Conservation Fund then offsets that impact on climate change by planting trees, which absorb tremendous amounts of carbon dioxide as they grow. These newly created forests do more than just address global warming -- they leave a lasting legacy by restoring important wildlife habitat, enhancing outdoor recreation areas and improving air and water quality. Through this program, the Fund has protected more than 25,000 acres and planted 5 million trees, which will sequester nearly 7 million tons of carbon dioxide over the next 100 years.