Combatting climate change will be an all-hands-on-deck effort, and at least one private company in Fairfax County has promised to do its part to help.
HITT Contracting, a construction contractor headquartered in Falls Church, announced a commitment on Feb. 11 to become carbon-neutral by 2023. The company pledged to reduce its reliance on carbon after starting to track its emissions in 2018 and learning that its operations generated 19,173 carbon-equivalent metric tons of greenhouse gases.
“Environmental stewardship is at the core of all we do. After tracking and understanding our greenhouse gas emissions, we could not ignore the effect our operations have on the environment,” HITT Director of Sustainability Isaiah Walston said. “By reducing our carbon footprint and moving toward carbon neutrality, we can positively impact our workforce, clients, and society as a whole.”
Walston acknowledged that carbon neutrality is not the same as eliminating all carbon emissions, but says the company sees this as a starting point and is “committed to taking further steps to reduce our emissions in the future.”
HITT’s emissions reduction strategy will involve purchasing primarily U.S.-based carbon offsets in locales where it operates. It has also pledged to focus on making its office and on-site operations efficient and sustainable even as it plans to expand.
The company also says in its press release that it will continue tracking its corporate emissions and present annual feasibility studies on its reduction practices.
“The commitment to becoming carbon neutral is our next major investment in fighting climate change,” HITT CEO Kim Roy said. “Making the world a better place through our work is a core value that aligns with our clients and partners. It’s simply the right thing to do as a good corporate citizen.”
Fairfax County commended HITT’s effort to reduce its carbon footprint, as the county pursues similar green aspirations.
“The Fairfax County Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination is pleased to see local business leaders, like HITT, taking steps to address climate change,” OEEC Deputy Director Susan Hafeli said. “The business community has a large role to play in addressing greenhouse gas emissions, and Fairfax County is fortunate to have numerous examples of companies making strides in sustainability planning and action.”
Reducing emissions is especially critical for building operations and construction, which collectively account for 38% of all carbon dioxide emissions globally, according to a United Nations report published in December.
Hafeli says Fairfax County will look to businesses, as well as community organizations and individuals, to help drive emissions down as it develops its first-ever Community-wide Energy and Climate Action Plan (CECAP), which will set goals and strategies for reducing its greenhouse gas emissions and addressing the impacts of climate change.
The county is also developing a Climate Adaptation and Resilience Plan to address and identify risks and areas of concern in the county that could eventually be impacted by climate change.
Fairfax County will hold two community meetings next week to discuss the CECAP. The first meeting on Feb. 23 will focus on energy issues, while the second on Feb. 25 will center on transportation, waste, and development.