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In 2010, Mandatory Carbon Reporting Is No Longer a Blue-Sky Issue; Businesses Need to Take Action For Their Own Operational Gains

In the wake of the Copenhagen Climate Conference, debate continues about the progress made regarding mandatory greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) targets around the world. But the real action may be closer to home.  2010 will mark the inauguration of more mandatory GHG and carbon emissions reporting for both businesses and government agencies.

First, the Obama Administration has issued an executive order to all federal agencies and their suppliers to provide emissions data and reduction plans in 2010.

The EPA also will require companies with facilities that emit 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents to measure and report their emissions. The EPA estimates that the rules will cover more than 10,000 buildings across the U.S.

The federal government is following the lead of states. More than 18 states require mandatory greenhouse gas emissions reporting.  And across the border in Canada, a number of provinces including Ontario and British Columbia enacted similar regulations there, effective Jan 1, 2010.  

All these efforts prove that carbon reporting is no longer a blue-sky issue. It is a business issue. Eligible U.S. companies that do not comply with the EPA’s new reporting requirements could face fines up to $37,000 per day per violation.

Fortunately for UPS, we have been reporting GHG emissions in our annual sustainability report since 2003.  We are in great shape to meet these new EPA regulations, and we think there are good reasons for other companies to consider collecting even broader emissions data than required.

In 2008, we extended our GHG not just to our Scope 1 & 2 but also to our indirect emissions, considered Scope 3. For us, this includes emissions generated by contract transportation providers that we use to supplement our company-owned transportation assets. We decided to collect more data because we knew that to really understand our environmental impact we had to look beyond our direct emissions like buildings and delivery vehicles. We knew that the modes of transportation that we subcontract such as rail and the electricity that we use are also relevant.

Having this data and evaluating it internally has been critical to our efforts to reduce our emissions.  We were able to look holistically at our supply chain to find ways to improve our fuel efficiency and consequently lower our emissions.

For example, we discovered that our extensive use of rail instead of trucks helped us to avoid emitting absolute emissions of 1 million metric tonnes of CO in our package operation in 2008.

We also use this data to mark the success of our fuel conservation efforts, measuring not only the amount of dollars and gallons saved but the emissions we reduced.  And we are now offering select customers our expertise in carbon calculation.

Our message to companies that are facing the challenge of carbon reporting for the first time: don’t look at it as just a compliance issue. Carbon reporting can be a valuable management tool to improve your efficiency and costs not only in your own operations but across your entire supply chain.

Category: Sustainability
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    Comments [5]

  1. It really is nice to see UPS viewing this an opportunity rather than an obstacle. Thanks
    for passing along this information.

    • They think that at some point there will be an irreversible bakderown in the reverse feedback loops that maintain the world’s temperature in a narrow band. I cannot see how they can seriously propose such a foolish theory: the laws of thermodynamics mean there will be cooling cycles as long as there is water on Earth. The Gaea effect is the term for the natural world’s tendency to return things to normal It gets hotter, more water evaporates which consumes heat, reducing the temperature. It gets colder, water falls as rain, raising the temperature. Too much CO2? Plants and plankton grow faster, as CO2 is a plant food, reducing the CO2 in the atmosphere. If it got too hot for plants to survive that would break the Gaea effect’s ability to reduce CO2, and you would then be heading for out-of-control CO2 levels, but not even the most alarmist Warmists are predicting temperatures beyond the ability of plants to survive. The most dire predictions I have seen are for a measly 2 degrees warmer for most of the world, that will be a marked improvement in the climate. Most of the inhabited parts of the planet are too cold much of the time. Global Warming? Bring it on but I bet it isn’t going to happen in my lifetime or my grandchildren’s either.

  2. Thanks Lynette-shippers often overlook the important point that there is often a
    direct correlation between the carbon footprint of a package and the cost to ship that
    package, and cost is something that nearly all shippers are interested in.
    It’s realy a win-win-win: a win for UPS, for the shipper, and for the environment.
    Thanks UPS!

  3. “Eligible U.S. companies that do not comply with the EPA’s new reporting
    requirements could face fines up to $37,000 per day per violation.”

    That is, unless Congress pushes back against this very obvious end-run around
    due process by the current administration. If Congress declares that GHG are not
    dangerous, then the EPA – as a regulatory group of NON-ELECTED officials – will
    have no legal ground to stand on to levy any such fines. With all of the recent
    revelations of intellectual dishonesty and outright deception among the clerics
    serving the religion of AGW, let’s hope that Congress puts the brakes on these
    kinds of economically-devastating, business-killing political boondoggles.

  4. Obviously UPS has gone for the Politically-Correct
    factually-challenged global-warming farce (since re-
    named “Climate-Change” when global-warming proved
    to be false) which was politically motivated to bring
    society under greater government control and
    redistribute more of the world’s production
    to “economically-challenged” nations by the UN.

    The present administration with its redistributionist
    global-agenda, facing heavy voter disapproval, has
    simply decided to allow the unelected bureaucracy of
    the EPA do its “dirty-work.”

    You people should look beyond the head-lines of the
    mainstream media and Algore-movies. Anthropogenic
    climate-change is a fallacy and it really doesn’t take a
    great deal of research to find that out. That’s
    the real “inconvenient truth.”

    Individuals and companies who just “go along” with
    science being manipulated into politically-motivated
    pseudo-science instead of taking a stand against it
    become part of the problem themselves.

    I’ll “do my part” by saving my “carbon-neutral” UPS
    surcharges to pay an illegal-immigrant $4 an hour
    to cut my lawn with a push-mower.

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