After my dog Kashi entered my life and inspired me to see our natural world thrive, I founded my company Timberdog® to help people continue to enjoy outdoor spaces with their families and pets. As an avid hiker and camper, I feel heartbroken when I drive by entire forests reduced to stumps from logging or burned down by massive fires.
I didn't grow up with these constant ecological missteps and disasters; to see all of this destruction in real time is truly alarming.
In that vein, I believe that carbon neutrality, a defensive position, isn't an aggressive-enough goal. Practicing carbon neutrality means calculating our carbon emissions and offsetting these emissions through projects such as forest conservation or renewable energy expansion.
Carbon neutrality is complementary to carbon avoidance and reduction strategies that minimize the generation of carbon emissions to begin with. Instead, I strongly believe that businesses need to adopt an offensive strategy; that is, attain carbon neutrality as a baseline mode of operation, and from there, work to become carbon negative as fast as possible.
As explained by Terrapass, “to be carbon negative means to offset more carbon, through carbon capture, sequestration, or avoidance, than you contribute to the environment.” In other words, my desire for Timberdog® is to be like a tree—to put out more oxygen than carbon and be a benefit to the world.
I asked Aniket Bansal, Timberdog’s® Carbon Sequestration Scientist, to conduct a study on how many trees we would have to plant per RuffRest® pet bed sold in order to achieve a carbon negative state. We calculated the carbon footprint of manufacturing the medium sized RuffRest® , taking into account the base materials used (e.g. nylon, polyester, zippers) and aggregated data on garment manufacturing and shipping contributions by cargo weight and mode of transport (e.g. vehicle, aircraft).
Our chosen method of carbon sequestration is tree-planting, and our calculations are based on the White Pine Tree (native to Eastern North America and a tree species commonly studied in research literature). Once we figured out our carbon-neutral baseline (one tree planted per pet bed to sequester carbon for 30 years), we added a tree on top of that to be "net oxygen positive."
When starting a plantation for carbon sequestration, we need to consider the water demand of the tree and the availability of water in the region and whether these two variables balance out. Next, we need to keep in mind that most of the carbon sequestered by a tree is incorporated into tree leaves that fall off during the year.
Therefore, we must have a process that does not allow the carbon trapped in these leaves to be recycled back into the atmosphere. Trees also fix a sizable amount of carbon in their various organs like roots, trunks, branches. However, once the tree has grown fully, its carbon sequestration potential declines rapidly. It is thus imperative to have a good tree rotation and timber management policies in place.
This study is our closest existing approximation of carbon emissions and sequestration, in light of variables difficult to account for such as limited data on the best species of tree to plant and the fact that trees give off CO2 at night (thus compounding the difficulty of assessing their overall sequestration values).
The quantity of carbon dioxide sequestered can vary from season to season, year to year, as well. We will keep our study up-to-date as scientific literature continues to be published.
Since Timberdog® is based in California, we won't be planting the Eastern White Pine, but I hope Timberdog® can achieve similar effects with coniferous trees native to the west coast.
Timberdog® will commit a portion of our proceeds to plant two trees for every RuffRest® sold.