Carpooling to a Greener Future in Colombia

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During a recent visit to IYF's headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland, 2009 YouthActionNet Fellow Alejandro Zapata Arango admitted that when he founded his companyPortafolio Verde in Medellin, Colombia, he could not even  imagine one day having a staff of 70 or managing a USD$500,000 budget. Yet, now in its 5th year, Portafolio Verde works in over 14 fields of sustainable corporate development and has transformed from a small environmental start up to a consulting powerhouse. During an informal discussion with IYF Staff, Alejandro, age 30, discussed several of his feature projects that included eco gardens, a carpool campaign and his Green Marketing Tool.

In an effort to decrease the impact of automobile pollution in Medellin during rush hour commutes, Portafolio Verde was invited to apply with 120 other firms to head up a new initiative hosted by Colombian transit authorities. Portfolio Verde was selected as the lead campaign manager for the initiative and has since been working with some of Medellin's biggest companies to decrease the city's carbon footprint. With incentives like prime parking real estate (next to the CEO's parking spot) for those who participate, it's no wonder that Portafolio Verde has mobilized nearly 16,000 people to help promote the benefits of carpooling.

A second feature project is the organization's Green Marketing Tool-a data system that collects information about a company's carbon footprint in real time. Alejandro explains:"Companies come to us because they want to be greener but, they don't know how to start." The tool analyzes a client's current environmental impact so that Portafolio Verde can solve this "how" dilemma by determining the best ways to offset the clients' wasteful activities.

With so little collective action taking place against global warming and climate change these days, the young staff at Portafolio Verde are leading the way in strategic design for national and international businesses to operate sustainably. Watch a video celebrating Portafolio Verde's anniversary year.

environmental protection climate change