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 company received the award Monday evening during a meeting of the Metro Parks Tacoma Board of Commissioners.

The Paw of Approval recognizes outstanding achievement by a Pierce County business in combating climate change and reducing carbon dioxide emissions, crucial 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 ships out of Port of Tacoma and 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, 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.”