On second thought . . .

Having dismissed the Carbonfund.org notion of the "carbon footprint" (a measurable impact on the environment which an individual or company can offset with a donation to an environmental charity like, oh, I don’t know, maybe Carbonfund.org), I’m obliged to note that carbon offsetting is one of those ideas that actually change the world while the Nonprofiteer sits at her computer and types. 

Hewlett-Packard’s November announcement that it will apply a set of carbon-offset standards to the management of its business (and donate funds to the World Wildlife Fund while it’s at it) is just the most recent big example of how public-welfare concerns can be adapted to and adopted by the corporate world.  No traditional charitable approach–that is, no system of providing services to the needy or downtrodden–could do as much good as the work of the people who persuaded McDonald’s to use cardboard instead of styrofoam to package its hamburgers and Yum Brands to purchase tomatoes only from growers with certified human-rights records.

A bit more evidence on the side of those who champion advocacy by nonprofits and remind us that they also serve who only stand and debate.

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