U-Haul Customers Give $1 Million to Charity Donations to The Conservation Fund

Address Climate Change and Restore North America’s Forests

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

PHOENIX, AZ, USA – June 2009 – U-Haul and The Conservation Fund on June 22, 2009 announced a major milestone in the effort to fight climate change and restore America’s forests with the donation of more than $1 million from U-Haul customers to The Conservation Fund’s Go Zero® program which plants trees to trap carbon dioxide emissions.

In April of 2007, U-Haul began partnering with The Conservation Fund to facilitate customers’ donations at checkout in order to offset carbon emissions generated from in-town and out-of-town moves. In just two years, more than 287,000 U-Haul customers have elected to offset their emissions. The Conservation Fund has used those donations to plant 133,000 trees that are expected to trap 156,000 tons of carbon dioxide as they mature.

“By leveraging our human, technical, financial and business resources, U-Haul and our customers have made a real difference in protecting the environment and mitigating our greenhouse gas emissions,” stated John “J.T.” Taylor, president of U-Haul International, Inc. “U-Haul customers should be applauded for their support of The Conservation Fund, and for benefiting the communities where we live and serve.”

Thus far, the oak, hickory and pecan seedlings are improving habitat, air and water quality at two national wildlife refuges, Marais des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge in Kansas and Red River National Wildlife Refuge in Louisiana. The Fund’s carbon-sequestration project at Red River National Wildlife Refuge recently received Gold Level Validation; the highest level granted under the standards of the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance.

“The support and generosity from U-Haul and its customers for this program is unprecedented,” said Jena Meredith, director of The Conservation Fund’s Go Zero program. “Based on the extraordinary success and high participation rates, climate change and habitat loss are obviously two issues that resonate strongly with U-Haul and its customers. Their donations to The Conservation Fund result in real, measurable results for our nation’s air quality, forests and wildlife.”

“These donations helped us reforest more acres than we could ever have done on our own over the course of a single year, or even over a five-year period,” noted U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Tim Menard. “Even now, there are birds using the restored lands at Marais des Cygnes NWR. Soon, you’ll see yellow breasted chat and indigo bunting. White-tailed deer, turkey and even fresh water mussels will also benefit from these restored forests.”

U-Haul continuously looks for ways to reduce, reuse and recycle; and to implement effective programs and policies to conserve energy and resources and to protect the environment. For those who are not renting U-Haul equipment, donations can be made to The Conservation Fund online at http://store.uhaul.com/planttree.

U-Haul Corporate Sustainability Initiative
U-Haul was founded by a Navy veteran who grew up in the Great Depression. Tires and gas were still rationed or in short supply during the late 1940s when U-Haul began serving U.S. customers. Today, that background is central to the U-Haul Sustainability Program: “Serving the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Such cooperation and services are greatly needed and we need more trees in order to regulate the CO2 that is swirling around the globe and this regardless as to whether it is the culprit to the Climate Change that is making the rounds or not.

We have lost so many forests and trees over the years – and we are still doping so – including old growth forests in Canada which are being hacked down by the likes of Kimberly Clark and also the huge forests that were sacrificed for the tar sands project in Alberta.

Therefore, actions such as these by companies like U-Haul are good to see and it should encourage others to do likewise.

The company's commitment to reduce, reuse and recycle includes fuel efficient moving vans, neighborhood proximity, moving box reuse, moving pads made from discarded material and packing peanuts that are 100 percent biodegradable. To learn more about these facts and others go to www.uhaul.com/sustainability.

The Conservation Fund is dedicated to advancing America’s land and water legacy. With our partners, we conserve land, train leaders and invest in conservation at home. Since 1985, we have helped protect more than 6 million acres, sustaining wild havens, working lands and vibrant communities. The Conservation Fund is a top-ranked conservation organization, effective and efficient. www.conservationfund.org

© 2009