Managing and reducing corporate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have emerged as top priorities in moving toward a sustainable future. Industry is starting to respond as both investors and the public become more in tune with the concepts of global warming and global air pollution. The once slow trend to drive corporate GHG reporting is now picking up speed and is no longer viewed as an afterthought, but rather a driving force.
Voluntary GHG reporting programs such as the Carbon Disclosure Project and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Climate Leaders have been gaining momentum as industry participation grows. This uptake is increasing because GHG emissions reporting is now seen as a good business practice, rather than a reporting burden, as large investors are now utilizing GHG reporting information as a metric to guide key investment decisions. All of these factors, including pending regulation, are shifting the corporate mentality toward a greener future.
If corporations start to measure and manage their emissions, quite often emissions and energy costs can be reduced simultaneously. Evan Jones, energy and sustainability information manager at Brookfield LePage Johnson Controls (BLJC) says, “after BLJC completed an assessment of GHG emissions and energy consumption for two clients, we implemented simple changes such as optimization of existing equipment and controls, installation of weather-stripping, and basic employee behavioral changes that saved over $1.5 million in energy costs and upwards of 20,000 metric tons of carbon emissions annually.”
There are a number of important trends and methods for corporate GHG accounting that must be addressed in order to achieve a successful carbon management strategy. These emerging trends form the basis of any GHG reporting system. Carbon management takes planning, resources, and an understanding of the common reporting principles, as well as knowledge of some of the complex reporting issues faced by today’s leaders.