Already an industry leader in sustainable home goods, Baltimore-based Bambeco recently pledged to become the first carbon-neutral Maryland business by 2020. The initiative builds on the core principles of sustainability and environmental stewardship on which the company was founded in 2009.
"Reducing carbon in all business practices has always been a focus for us, and becoming carbon-neutral is the next step down that path," said Bambeco CEO and Co-Founder Susan Aplin. "We hope to inspire more businesses through our continued success."
Bambeco, which offers a broad array of home goods such as furniture, dinnerware, linens, and dcor, plans to achieve carbon-neutrality in both its direct operations such as its headquarters and distribution and indirect operations such as its supply chain. By taking steps to reduce and offset all of its carbon emissions, Bambeco will also be the industry's first net-neutral home-goods company.
But they won't be starting from scratch.
The company's existing efforts to reduce consumption and pollution include a partnership to plant a tree for every Bambeco purchase, and working with suppliers, such as organic cotton farmers and stoneware factories, that conserve water in production and don't introduce harmful chemicals into water streams.
More than 51 percent of the company's products are made from raw materials that are diverted from landfills, which reduces the release of methane gas. About 85 percent of unwanted clothing in the United States ends up in landfills, for example, so Bambeco now offers rugs made from recycled cotton T-shirts.
Bambeco has saved about 300 million gallons of water throughout its operations enough to provide clean water for drinking and sanitation to more than 125,000 people for one year. Switching to carbon-neutral shipping has already allowed the company to keep 246 metric tons of carbon out of the atmosphere as much would be produced by driving a car around the world 82 times.
Bambeco employs 70 people directly and supports 10,000 safe and fair wage jobs around the world.
Aplin says being located in Maryland, a state supportive of businesses and entrepreneurs, has been crucial to Bambeco's success and its ability to take on the carbon-neutrality challenge. The company looked at six cities in six states before deciding to make Baltimore its home.
"Maryland has a huge population of growing technology, biotech, cybersecurity, and consumer products companies," Aplin said. "That network of creative talent in the market is a huge asset to our brand and other brands in the region."
"Bambeco's growth was spurred by investments from the state-run Maryland Venture Fund which, along with the Port of Baltimore, was one of the resources that drew the company to the state," Aplin said.
Recently, Bambeco leased 22,000 square feet at the Pier IV building on the Baltimore waterfront for its new headquarters. The company has also opened a store-within-a-store at Total Wine & More in Laurel, selling an assortment of tabletop items, serveware, linens, and furniture including vintage tables and wine racks.