|Tags:||carbon dioxide, copenhagen climate conference, Environment, epa, ghg, greenhouse gas emissions|
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.