GHG inventories, are they really worthwhile? Some may argue that it’s wiser to skip straight to energy efficiency and clean technology solutions that have already proven effective. And let’s face it, what CEOs want to spend a small fortune having some green-collar consultant tell them just how bad the situation really is. But the truth is, those inventories, and even that green-collar stock boy might just be worth the time and money. Why is that you might ask? Let’s look a little deeper at the purpose of GHG inventories and how they act as an important first step towards both environmental and economic savings for a company.
First off, an accurate GHG inventory can provide even the most well-informed managers with new ideas for emissions reduction projects. And what successful emissions reduction projects usually lead to are that coveted double dividend of economic and environmental savings. A report published by the World Resources Institute (WRI) regarding Pfizer’s “experience with global data collection” while conducting a GHG inventory states just that. As a result of their GHG inventory, Pfizer was able to determine leaks (both literally and metaphorically) in their facilities, and apply the appropriate solutions. Pfizer has now successfully invested more than $100 million in over 600 energy-savings projects, likely with much more to come in the future.
What a GHG inventory can also do for large companies is promote environmental awareness within the organization. For example, large companies that have included smaller facilities in their GHG inventory have helped foster a more positive corporate culture. By including these smaller facilities, companies like Pfizer have witnessed employees stepping up and offering useful ideas. And although these smaller facilities often only account for a small percentage of total emissions, they frequently act as testing grounds for new emissions reductions projects. What’s even more encouraging is that employees at these facilities are often excited and honoured to be a part of these projects.
Are GHG inventories proactive? I think yes. By conducting a GHG inventory and establishing a realistic baseline it’s much easier for an organization to quantify emissions reductions in the future. And with the growth of voluntary carbon markets like the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) and Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS), conducting a GHG inventory can have the added benefits of economic gains through the use of these markets. Not to mention, that with the increasing likelihood of a mandatory cap-and-trade system in the U.S., conducting a GHG inventory is a great proactive first step and way to stay ahead of the game.
But what about choosing an appropriate GHG quantification protocol? With so many choices out there, it’s often difficult to decide which one is most appropriate for the company and the markets they want to participate in. For that reason, it’s extremely important for a corporation to research the options and decide if an International Standards Organization (ISO) based protocol, WRI/World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD) protocol, or Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) methodology (to mention a few) is appropriate for the project.
So is there really a catch to GHG inventories? A case could be made if you consider the hassle of acquiring data and exposing your corporate emissions. Nonetheless, it seems the potential environmental and economic benefits far outweigh the costs.
ClimateCHECK is a greenhouse gas (GHG) management services and solutions company. The firm’s solutions support all facets of the carbon commodities market, including the verification, validation and consultation of GHG inventories and program portfolios, as well as quantification protocols for emissions reduction projects and clean technologies. ClimateCHECK is a sponsor and co-founded, with World Resources Institute and Carbon Disclosure Project, the Greenhouse Gas Management Institute (www.ghginstitute.org). Founded in March 2007, the company has locations throughout North America. For more information visit www.climate-check.com.