Totem Ocean honored with Paw of Approval Award for its innovative work in reducing carbon emissions

April 28, 2015

Metro Parks Commission President Tim Reid presents honor to Totem Ocean Trailer Express

TACOMA, Wash. – Totem Ocean Trailer Express is the winner of the third annual Polar Bear Paw of Approval Award presented by Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, the Sustainable Tacoma Commission and the Arctic Action Teams.

The Paw of Approval recognizes outstanding achievement by a Pierce County business in reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

Park Board President Tim Reid presented the award, which was accepted by Hartleigh Caine, senior operations manager for Totem Ocean Trailer Express. She also is a Zoo Society board member. The Paw of Approval spotlights work being done to combat climate change, a key to maintaining habitat for polar bears and other Arctic animals.

“We are fortunate to have a corporate neighbor like Totem Ocean Trailer Express, with a strong commitment to environmental sustainability, operating out of Tacoma,” said John Garner, a passionate conservation specialist who instituted the award during his tenure as the zoo’s education curator. “It’s a pleasure to recognize a company that is leading the nation in addressing global climate change.”

Totem Ocean, which supplies more than one-third of all goods to the state of Alaska, installed shoreside power for its ships in 2010, according to its nomination for the Paw of Approval Award. Shoreside power allows ships to recharge through the electrical grid as they load and unload, instead of burning fuel oil while docked. The shipping company said this allowed it to reduce its greenhouse emissions by 2,600 tons per year.

The company also is working to convert its fleet to liquefied natural gas (LNG), reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 35 percent and other air emissions and particulate matter by at least 90 percent. It expects to begin conversion of one ship this year and another in 2016. “We are honored to receive this award and proud of the work that we are doing to reduce our impact on the environment,” noted John Parrott, President of Totem Ocean Trailer Express. “We care deeply about the communities we serve, and converting our ships to LNG will further reduce our carbon dioxide emissions and improve air quality.”

The Paw of Approval award signifies the power of polar bears, some of the most magnificent mammals on earth, and emphasizes the link between the animals’ health and climate change.
Polar bears rely on sea ice to launch their hunts for the seals that sustain their lives. Unchecked destruction of hunting grounds due to climate change endangers their existence.

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium long has aided polar bear research and conservation efforts. The zoo parking lots and drives are “idle free” zones, in which motorists are asked to turn their engines off while they’re waiting for someone, thus reducing tailpipe emissions.

“The race to save polar bears will not be run in the Arctic, but instead in the cities that produce emissions tied to global warming,” said Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium Education Curator Karen Povey, who made a presentation about the Paw of Approval award before parks commissioners on Monday evening. “We’re proud to acknowledge that Totem Ocean shares the values of the zoo and Metro Parks Tacoma in providing leadership in environmental stewardship within our community,” she added. The zoo is home to three polar bears, Boris, Blizzard and Glacier.
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, the Northwest’s only combined zoo and aquarium, promotes responsible stewardship of the world’s resources through education, conservation, research and recreational opportunities. The zoo, a division of Metro Parks Tacoma, is accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums (AMMPA).

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