Companies Get New Tools for Calculating Emissions
LESLIE KAUFMAN, New York Times
October 3, 2011
The creators of influential measures of greenhouse gas emissions plan to announce two new tools for corporations...to calculate the amount of climate-warming gases released through a company’s supply chain, as well as in the use and disposal of its products. A standardized way of calculating such emissions had eluded energy experts and statisticians for several years. The tool is known as Scope 3.
The second tool is for calculating the emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and four other gases linked to climate change across a consumer product’s entire life cycle. With a toaster, for example, a company would seek to count greenhouse gases released in the mining of elements for its metal shell and the coal burned to make the electricity to power it — and even the fuel burned when the toaster is carted away.
In 2004 the World Resources Institute, a Washington-based environmental organization, and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development released a final standard for Scope 1 and Scope 2. Scope 1 covers emissions from direct operations like running a factory. Scope 2 covers emissions from energy-related, indirect sources of emissions like the coal or natural gas burned to make the electricity that powers the lights at headquarters.
In developing the new standards, the institute and the business council worked with more than 60 corporations to test the standards and solicit feedback. Dan Pettit, associate director of sustainability for Kraft Foods, said that his company learned while working with the new protocols that Scope 3 emissions — coming from activities like farming — accounted for 90 percent of the overall impact.
The company is now trying to work with a few high-emission areas for reductions, such as helping cocoa producers in Ghana increase crop yields while minimizing use of carbon-intensive fertilizer, he said.
Kraft has a financial incentive to make progress on that front, Mr. Pettit said. “Think of carbon as waste — somewhere there is inefficiency.”
Make sure you know how this works: Corporations are clean in the front, dirty in the back.
In order to appease stakeholders and potential customers, private industry now realizes their responsibility to the environment. However, on the back end, they continue to manipulate and exploit global government regardless of either environmental or social impact.
Our system of governance has become too complex for the intelligence of its population (but not for private industry as a collective). One can easily compare carbon ratings when buying a sofa. Comparing political candidates and their policies is another matter, and one which fails to support the far-reaching goals of such an environmental standard as mentioned above.