Thursday, November 20, 2008
Hyundai Initiates CO2 Offset Program for All 2009 Genesis Sedans
Genesis Forest Project Will Offset More than 93,000 Metric Tons of CO2
LOS ANGELES, 11/19/2008 Hyundai Motor America and Carbonfund.org, the nation's leading non-profit carbon offset provider, unveiled the Genesis Forest Project today, at the 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show, to offset the entire first year of emissions for all 2009 Hyundai Genesis sedans sold in the United States. Hyundai anticipates that the Genesis Forest Project will offset 93,170 metric tons of CO2 through the permanent conservation and reforestation of 3,000 acres of tropical forest in Brazil. The offset program reduces emissions and improves efficiency across the Hyundai model line-up. Hyundai is inviting its owners and others interested in helping preserve the environment to learn more at hyundai.carbonfund.org.
The Genesis Forest Project is one of the first voluntary carbon offset projects that will meet the high standards of the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standards as well as the Social Carbon™ methodology. The Genesis Forest Project is the only program of its kind to offer seed grants for new projects and allow consumers to contribute to the expansion of the forest. Carbon offsets will be retroactively applied to all 2009 Genesis sedan sales, which began in June, and continue through the end of the year.
"We realize this is a small step toward making a positive impact on climate change," said Justin Osborne, national manager, Brand Strategy, Hyundai Motor America. "As the fifth-largest car company in the world, we are proud of our efforts to develop cars that are better for people and the planet. Hyundai is introducing new technologies and raising the bar for fuel-efficient vehicles, which will be introduced over the next several years. As we strive to improve, we are making a humble contribution to make the planet we all share a better place."
The Genesis Forest Project will serve as a model of sustainability for the surrounding region by balancing the needs of local communities while helping to fight global climate change. In addition to its environmental benefits, the Genesis Forest Project will create local economic opportunities, improve the regional environment and help preserve biodiversity.
Carbon Offsetting and Environmental Conservation
Carbon offsets can mitigate carbon dioxide emissions produced by everyday activities, including driving. Carbon offset programs support renewable energy, energy efficiency and reforestation projects where they are most cost effective.
Hyundai chose to locate the Genesis Forest Project in Tocantins, Brazil - an area known as the Cerrado region, which is classified as a Biodiversity Hotspot. It features a wide array of unique plant and animal species including the giant anteater, giant armadillo, jaguar and maned wolf. With less than two percent of the region protected in national parks and conservation areas, this area is threatened by the rapid deforestation it has experienced over the past 50 years due to unsustainable agricultural practices. Two-thirds of the project is dedicated to avoiding deforestation and conserving land. The other third of the project is dedicated to reforestation, which will introduce 30 native plant species back to the area.
In addition to partnering with Carbonfund.org, Genesis Forest Project will partner with Brazil's Ecological Institute. Hyundai and CarbonFund.org will administer the offset program using the Social Carbon™ methodology which, developed by the Institute, ensures that the long-term contribution of the project lead to the sustainable development of the local region through constant monitoring and analysis. The project's carbon offsets will be registered on the Social Carbon registry. In addition, Cantor CO2e will be involved in the project.
Environmental Research Support
The Genesis Forest Project also supports ongoing research that will benefit the Cerrado and similar regions for years to come. Hyundai's program calls for an on-site eco-tropical research center that will provide scholarships for the advanced study of the region, as well as assist with training and research needs. Hyundai also has pledged financial support for the work of the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA), the international leader in setting accepted standards of land-based carbon offset projects with multi-faceted environmental and social benefits. Finally, Hyundai will sponsor the Hyundai Climate Grants Program in conjunction with the CCBA to award three $35,000 grants to developers of similar initiatives creating new forestry projects that meet the CCBA standards.
Support for the Local Community:
"Social Carbon" programs designed to create jobs and provide income for the local community, as well as gain support in conserving the region, are important elements of the Genesis Forest Project.
Local communities are offered land preservation workshops focused on informing farmers and the community about the long-term damage caused by the common practice of burning forests to release nitrogen and other nutrients into the soil for crops.
The program also supports the local fire brigade, which is ill-equipped to counter forest fires. This project provides financial support to the brigade to put out and prevent forest fires at the project site and within the region.
The Genesis Forest Project will educate community members about utilizing the forest's natural resources responsibly, including the development of an agri-forest system which supplies fruit, soil, tree oils and more that can be sold or used by the community.
The program will institute a nursery program to produce seedlings to plant at the project during the reforestation phase. The nursery is an ongoing effort to supply plant species throughout the region.
Carbonfund.org is the country's leading non-profit carbon reduction and offset organization, making it easy and affordable for individuals, businesses and organizations to reduce their climate impact. Carbon offsets enable individuals and businesses to reduce carbon dioxide emissions they are responsible for in their everyday lives by supporting renewable energy, energy efficiency and reforestation projects where they are most cost effective. Carbonfund.org works with over 1000 corporate and non-profit partners including Discovery, Volkswagen, Amtrak, Dell, Orbitz, Staples, and JetBlue.
ABOUT HYUNDAI MOTOR AMERICA
Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif. is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Company of Korea. Hyundai cars and sport utility vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced through almost 800 Hyundai dealerships nationwide.  Carbon sequestration forecasts are based on CCB standards and validation.