Green Philanthropy

3 photos of books,, handmade kitchen table and soap

By Rachel Gordon
Sustainability Analyst
Sustainable Investment Group (SIG)

It can be a challenge to determine the best place to contribute one’s time, effort, and money when it comes to philanthropy, but at Sustainable Investment Group (SIG) the focus is on contributing in ways that also result in a positive environmental impact. Due to this effort, SIG has worked with organizations such as the Global Soap Project, Books for Africa, and the Furniture Bank of Atlanta.

Have you ever thought about the waste generated from hotel rooms due to them providing new bars of soap daily – especially when the old soap is only lightly used? Derreck Kayongo has, leading to his founding of The Global Soap Project, which worked with hotels to reuse the bars of soap from hotel rooms and ship them to the people who need it. When SIG volunteered with the Global Soap Project, we helped sanitize the soap so that instead of it going to a landfill, it can be sent where it is needed. In 2015, the Global Soap Project merged with the Clean the World Foundation, whose goal is to help communities with access and education pertaining to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene. The foundation helps people around the world who do not have easy access to these utilities and are therefore prone to becoming severally ill. Overall, the Clean the World Foundation has distributed 45 million bars of soap and helped over ten million people in 127 countries.

logo for Books for AfricaBooks for Africa also sends books to children throughout the continent. Books for Africa has collected, sorted, shipped, and distributed over 41 million books to Africa, including 2.3 million in the 2018 fiscal year alone. Most all books donated to Books for Africa are used, so if they were not donated and re-used, they likely would have ended up in a landfill. With the books varying from primary school reads to college textbooks, it is hard to know exactly how many pages of paper are diverted through this program, but assuming the average book to be about 250 pages, Books for Africa resulted in the reuse of approximately 575,000,000 pages of paper this past year.

logo for Furniture Bank of Metro AtlantaThe Furniture Bank of Atlanta is donating goods closer to home. Their goal is to distribute gently-used furniture from the community to those who need it. In 2017, the Furniture Bank of Atlanta gave 4,107 pieces of used furniture to individuals and families who have greatly benefited from it. Even more impressively, they diverted 21,950 mattresses from landfills, ensuring that instead of mattresses piling up in a landfill, they are helping the community.

Clean the Word logoThe Global Soap Project/the Clean the World Foundation, Books for Africa, and the Furniture Bank of Atlanta are all making a positive environmental impact while helping those in need, which is the type of philanthropy that SIG loves to be a part of. If you are interested in increasing sustainability in more ways than just through philanthropy, SIG offers LEED training, consulting, and engineering with locations in New York, NY, Atlanta, GA, Boulder, CO, Minneapolis, MN, and San Francisco, CA.


CNN Article

Books for Africa

Furniture Bank of Metro Atlanta

Clean the Word Foundation

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