Green Business
of the Year in 2009

When we first conceived of Dharma Merchant Services, we knew that the company should reflect our strongest beliefs, morals, and intentions. When our co-founder Jeff came of age in the late 60’s and early 70’s, the social structure and culture was expanding at a stellar rate caused by our society’s compulsion to question everything. The resulting point of view led to a unique understanding of the interconnectedness of all things. Inspired by such books as Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring and Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac, Jeff began to develop a deep sense of stewardship, which he still takes to heart today.

Many people ask us "How can a merchant services company be green?" We're glad you asked! We know that even though we are not manufacturing a product, we can still make a huge difference in our environmental impact by operating with conscious choices. Whenever possible, we choose local, sustainable, socially-responsible, women or minority-owned vendors and suppliers. Here is what those intenions look like:

Dharma Merchant Services Average Merchant Services Company
Coffee & Tea Provides organic, fair trade coffee from artisan roasters and local suppliers including Equator Coffees; organic, fair trade tea from Numi Tea and Organic India and organic, fair trade Yerba Mate from Guayaki. These suppliers use recyclable and compostable packaging, and support programs that empower, nurture and financially support the health and well being of their farmers and local communities. Provides (if at all) non-organic, non-fair trade coffee and tea from "big box" suppliers with long histories of exploiting workers and destroying land with toxic fertilizers and environmentally hostile packaging.
Company Banking Banks with New Resource Bank, a certified green company operating out of a LEED certified building. NRB lends funds on deposit to clean tech companies, operates sustainably and supports nonprofits with donations and discounts on banking services. Banks with an institution chosen solely based on fee structure, which most likely finances the coal industry, based on market share of the country's biggest banks and their support of the coal industry as documented by Rainforest Action Network in their latest Carbon Principles report.
Company Transportation Commutes with 100% foot, bike and bus powered methods. Travel is taken with a Lexus hybrid vehicle or City Car Share vehicle, hybrid whenever possible (Dharma also pays for employees' public transit or bike parking). Commutes and travels with gasoline powered, inefficient vehicles.
Energy Use Makes our energy usage carbon neutral with PG & E's ClimateSmart program, but we always use natural light and ventilation whenever we can. Does not make this a concern of their business
Healthcare Benefits Chooses certified green, locally owned and operated Bay Point Bay Point Benefits to provide full coverage health insurance for all employees. We also fully fund Health Savings Accounts for all employees with our local credit union Patelco, and offer paid memberships to employee-chosen local gyms and yoga studios. If provided, chooses the least cost provider regardless of their business practices.
Office Supplies Buys from local supplier Give Something Back, where ALL after tax profits are donated to the local community, resulting in almost $5 million dollars donated to date. 100% recycled, refillable, reusable and environmentally safe products are chosen whenever possible. Buys least-cost options from a national "big box" supplier, ordering non-recycled, disposable, toxic products in environmentally hostile packaging.
Printing Company Works with GreenerPrinter, a locally owned and fellow family-operated business, dedicated to helping us design the most environmentally printed materials possible. Chooses the least cost provider regardless of their business practices
Recycling & Compost Policy Chooses products that can be recycled or composted, and recycles and composts everything possible. Toner cartridges are refilled by local, green certified Toner Cartridge Services. Electronics, computers light bulbs and batteries are handled responsibly with Green Zebra. We also share our bins with office neighbors and encourage them to compost and recycle. Does not recycle or compost, sending bottles, cans, paper, packaging, paper towels, toner cartridges, food waste, electronics, computers, light bulbs and batteries to the landfill
Shipping Policies Reuses all incoming packaging and purchases 100% recycled PCW boxes and compostable packaging from GlobeGuard, a certified green company that participates in 1% For the Planet and is very active in their local community. Uses virgin cardboard and non-recyclable packaging
Snacks & Beverages Provides fresh fruit, vegetables and nuts by walking to the local farmer's market with reusable shopping bags; filtered water; organic almond milk; wheatgrass shots from our favorite local restaurants and superfoods such as organic wheatgrass power, chia seeds, maca and cacao are purchased from local suppliers for use in the company smoothie maker. Provides (if at all), nutritionally worthless choices from a vending machine carrying food with toxic additives and sugar substitutes in non-compostable or non-recyclable packaging, and beverages containing caffeine and toxic sugar substitutes. The vending machine is serviced by a company that consumes fuel and packaging
Telecommunications Chooses Better World Telecom, the only triple bottom line, certified carbon neutral carrier in North America solely focused on serving organizations with social and sustainable missions, where 3% profits are donated to causes that benefit children, education, environment, and fair trade. Chooses the least cost provider regardless of their business practices
Web Hosting Chooses Canvas Dreams, a 100% locally generated wind powered certified Green company. Canvas Dreams plants trees, is an EPA Green Power Partner and was named Green Business Leader of the Year by Green America in 2010. Chooses the least cost provider regardless of their business practices.
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