We’ve never had a better chance …
… to help make the world greener.
In 2018, we decided to evaluate how much our organization contributes to the climate crisis
and set specific goals on how our climate impact can be mitigated.
What are the goals of our Climate Action Plan?
Become a Carbon Neutral Study Abroad Organization
CEPA is certified by Iniciativa Verde for its CO2 footprint management and offset. In partnership with the Saimiri Foundation and the Green Initiative, CEPA is committed to planting trees and purchasing carbon credits to offset its operational CO2 emissions.
Support Rainforest and Ecosystem Conservation Projects
Support service-learning and conservation projects at the Saimiri Foundation by planting native trees and vegetation to restore the natural habitat of endangered species in the area, such as primates.
Offer Carbon-Offseting Options for our Students and Faculty
Students and faculty have the option to reduce the environmental impact of their study abroad experience by voluntarily compensating the CO2 emissions created during their program through CEPA’s Carbon Reduction Project in Costa Rica and carbon credits (CERs).
What is our strategy to reach our goals?
"CEPA CARES" is our climate action pledge to manage our CO2 footprint, which means we:
1. Measure our emissions
CO2 emissions are measured and evaluated in accordance with the global GHG Protocols
2. Reduce our emissions
Make climate-smart changes in our office activities and services
3. Compensate our emissions
Compensate emissions through off-setting, including volunteer actions for forest restoration and Certified Emission Reductions (CER's).
CEPA commissioned Iniciativa Verde (Green Initiative) to:
- Measure its carbon footprint
- Facilitate its compliance with new regulations and climate standards
- Provide recommendations to reduce its carbon footprint
- Monitor its carbon reduction project for verification
Green Initiative's Responsibilities:
- Support CEPA in the Carbon Neutral Services project design
- Make available to CEPA, the GreenInitiative Carbon Compensation Certificates plaform
- Provide technical assistance and execute the review of Fundación Saimiri Forest Restorations Reports
- Engage with CEPA and Fundación Saimiri in quarterly performance evaluations
To reduce carbon emissions resulting from its energy use, air travel, paper consumtion, and heating oil, CEPA will implement the recommondations made by Iniciativa Verde in different phases.
Strategies CEPA will consider using to reduce carbon emissions resulting from:
- Performing an energy audit to identify points of heat loss that could be addressed through better insulation, caulk, or weather-stripping
- Increasing the frequency of furnace/boiler maintenance to at least once per year
- Installing programmable thermostats that turn down the heat when no one is present
- Transitioning to a heating system that uses natural gas or other energy sources that emit less CO2e than heating oil
- Avoiding blocking the radiators with furniture or other objects that may disrupt the flow of heat.
- Increasing the use of videoconference systems or other remote-work technologies to cut down on air travel
- Maximizing the value of business trips by consolidating meetings and other activities, which may require increasing the average length of stay
- Favoring airlines with newer fleets, emissions-reduction policies, or carbon-offset programs
- Upgrading all electrical equipment to “category A” energy-efficiency standards, the upfront expense of which will be offset by reduced electricity costs over the long term
- Adopting an overall energy-efficiency plan that includes installing energy-saving lightbulbs, disconnecting electrical appliances when not in use, regulating the use of heating
and cooling, limiting the use of lighting during daylight hours, and reorganizing the layout of facilities to maximize their energy efficiency
- Increasing the use of online publications, videos, and other digital media, and using printed publications only when strictly necessary
- Using lightweight paper types, sustainably produced natural inks, or environmentally friendly paper brands
- Reducing the amount of paper used by printing on both sides of all documents
It is important to provide our stakeholders with the necessary information and options to allow them to make climate-friendly travel choices whenever possible.
Who are our carbon reduction partners?
Our partner, the Saimiri Foundation, is a non-profit organization established in 2010 and
focused on rescuing, preserving, and protecting the wildlife and natural resources of Costa Rica.
By partnering with their organization, CEPA is able to offset its own carbon-footprint
as well as offer the same option to our students and faculty to offset their study abroad programs.
Through its particitation in the United Nations Climate Neutral Now inititave,
CEPA purchases UN certified emission reductions (CERs), a type of carbon credit,
to offset the remaining emissions which cannot be currently avoided or compensated by solely planting trees.
CEPA is listed on the UN website as an official signatory of the initiative.
Green Initiative and Fundacion Samiri, started a new collaboration venture, where CEPA will have a catalytic role promoting carbon mitigation actions within its services.
This process consist in engaging CEPA customers and partners in a carbon neutral educational experience.
The carbon offset, will combine the opportunity to support reforestation efforts in the Osa Conservation Area with Carbon Credits Offets endorsed by the United Nations.
Why did we choose these solutions?
Through purchasing certified carbon offsets and at the same time, investing in a small, climate-smart forestry project,
we are directly addressing climate change in ways that make a big impact and also empower individuals in the local community.
Most of all, it was important that our efforts go far beyond carbon reduction.
They must be transparent, tangible, and provide multiple benefits, not only for the environment and wildlife,
but also for the local community and our university partners, faculty leaders, and study abroad students.
- The reforested areas the Osa Conservation Area in Costa Rica will serve as forested corridors for wandering animals seeking for new habitats.
Benefits for the wildlife
- Threatened animal species will have their habitat protected and restored like the central American squirrel monkey (Saimiri oerstedii), the Bairdii Tapis (Tapirus bairdii), as well as other important mammals.
Benefits for the community
The project will provide seasonal employment for the local inhabitants.
- A botanist who will maintain the tree nursery
- A local worker who will collect seeds of endangered trees, provide maintenance and planting support
“By planting, monitoring, and maintaining these trees, we are not only reducing our carbon footprint, but also protecting the region's biodiversity and creating new jobs which, in turn, will help discourage illegal logging.”
CEPA donated 5,000 Euro to the
Saimiri Foundation which enabled them to:
- Acquire building materials such as metal for bedding, sprinklers, roof, biodegradable bags, metal labelers, shovel, machete, rubber boots, etc. for improvement of the tree nursery (3,000 tree capacity)
- Contract a local worker for collecting the seeds of endangered trees, giving maintenance and planting (1,000 trees)
- Employ a Botanist to maintain the tree nursery (3,000 trees)
- Integrate a Geographic Information System (to locate each of the 1,000 trees)
Planning for the future...
Help us plant
five thousand trees
The Goal: To plant 5,000 trees from 13 different native species by the year 2024. The reforested areas will serve as forested corridors for wandering animals seeking for new habitats. The project will provide seasonal employment for the local inhabitants. Threatened animal species will have their habitat protected and restored like the central American squirrel monkey (Saimiri oerstedii), the Bairdii Tapis (Tapirus bairdii), as well as other important mammals.