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Carbon Trust launches footprint verification service

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The Carbon Trust has launched a new service to provide companies and organisations with independent verification of their corporate carbon footprints.

The Footprint Verification service is intended to help companies and organisations manage the increasing demand for carbon emissions data in CSR & annual reports and websites, as well as to support the disclosure of emissions to third party stakeholders, including shareholders and investors. 

Organisations that use the service will be able to display a Footprint Verification logo in conjunction with the carbon footprint data, showing that their emissions have been independently verified. The Trust says that the verified carbon footprint provided is compliant with both the internationally recognised GHG Protocol, as well as the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP).

The new service follows new findings from the Carbon Trust that 50% of multinationals will look set to select their suppliers based upon carbon performance in the future.

Carbon Disclosure Report says carbon reduction plans deliver better stock market performance

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A report by the Carbon Disclosure Project has suggested that companies that implement policies to reduce carbon emissions perform better on the stock market compared with those that do not.

The 2011 edition of the annual Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) Global 500 report, which examines carbon reduction activities at the world's largest public corporations, has found for the first time in the ten year history of the survey, that the majority have climate change actions embedded as part of their business strategy. The report, written by professional services firm PwC, attributes this to growing board-level awareness of the link between energy efficiency and increased profitability.

The report, entitled Accelerating low carbon growth, analysed disclosures from 396 of the world's largest companies, which revealed 68% have climate change at the heart of business strategies, compared with 48% in 2010. There was also a marked rise in the number of companies reporting reduced greenhouse gas emissions as a result of emissions reduction activities (45%, up from 19% in 2010).

A correlation was also established between higher stock market performance over time, and representation on CDP's Carbon Performance Leadership Index (CPLI) and the Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index (CDLI). Companies with a strategic focus on climate change provided investors with approximately double the average total return of the Global 500 from January 2005 to May 2011.

Paul Simpson, CEO of the Carbon Disclosure Project, said: "The improved financial performance of companies with high carbon performance is a clear indicator that it makes good business sense to manage and reduce carbon emissions. This is a win win for business - the short ROIs many emissions reducing activities have, can help increase profitability. Companies yet to take action on climate change will have to work hard to remain competitive as we head towards an increasingly resourced constrained, low carbon economy."

Alan McGill, partner, sustainability and climate change, PwC said: "Historical financial performance is being exposed by climate change as an outdated model to assess long term business profitability and growth, when you consider the much wider range of financial and non - financial risks associated with business today. Today's investors have different information needs, which are leading to tougher verification regimes, more emphasis on executive and staffing responsibilities and incentives, and much more unforgiving examinations of the contribution of business to society. We are accelerating towards newer reporting models that better balance financial and non - financial performance."

Rising oil prices, energy supply risks and growing recognition of the commercial returns on investments in emissions reduction activities contributed to the growth in importance of climate change as a boardroom issue. Over half (59%) of reported emissions reduction activities delivered payback in three years or less according to company submissions. These include energy efficiency projects (building fabric, building services and processes), low carbon energy installations and staff behavioural change. Employee incentives to reduce emissions are now offered by 65% of companies, compared with 49% in 2010.

 The top 10 best performing companies this year are:

USA: Bank of America, Cisco Systems
Japan: Honda Motor Company, Sony Corporation
Germany: Bayer, BMW, SAP
United Kingdom: Tesco
Netherlands: Philips Electronics
Australia: Westpac Banking Corporation

CDP says there are 14 new entrants to the 2011 Carbon Performance Leadership Index, which counts only 29 companies due to more demanding criteria applied by CDP. These are:

USA: Air Products & Chemicals, Lockheed Martin, Morgan Stanley
Japan: Honda Motor Company, Sony Corporation
Germany: SAP
France: AXA Group, Schneider Electric
Italy: ENEL, FIAT
United Kingdom: British American Tobacco, BG Group, Glaxo SmithKline
Switzerland: Novartis

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-14921740  

Carbon Disclosure Project report details low carbon benefits of cloud computing

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One of the most informed and engaging writers around sustainability and business is Andrew Winston, who writes a blog called Finding the Gold in Green and writes for the Harvard Business Review as well. (The Harvard Business Review blogs, by the way, are well worth a read)

 

One of Winston's recent blogs discusses a new report from the Carbon Disclosure Project about the sustainability benefits of Cloud Computing

Here's the intro to the report:

 

Across business, executives are looking for ways in which they can operate more sustainably and thereby increase their competitive edge. Information Communications Technology (ICT) is seen as a key area of focus for achieving sustainability goals. This report shows that business use of cloud computing can play an important role in an organisation's sustainability and IT strategies: improving business process efficiency and flexibility whilst decreasing the emissions of IT operations.

 

This study used detailed case study evidence from 11 global firms and assessed the financial benefits and potential carbon reductions for a firm opting for a particular cloud computing service. It also demonstrates how projected cloud computing adoption could drive economy-wide business benefits from a financial and carbon reduction perspective in the US.

 

The results show that by 2020, large U.S. companies that use cloud computing can achieve annual energy savings of $12.3 billion and annual carbon reductions equivalent to 200 million barrels of oil - enough to power 5.7 million cars for one year.

 

The report also delves into the advantages and potential barriers to cloud computing adoption and gives insights from the multi-national firms that were interviewed.

 

In addition to a predicted aggregate, annual carbon reduction of 85.7 million metric tons by large U.S. companies, cloud computing can:

  • Help users avoid costly up-front capital investments in infrastructure
  • Improve time-to-market as a new server can be created or brought online in minutes
  • Provide greater flexibility as clouds allow firms to pay for excess capacity only when they need it
  • Avoid the continual maintenance of excess capacity needed to handle spikes
  • Improve automation that helps drive process efficiencies

"The study results make a powerful case for businesses to continue to explore and adopt secure and flexible cloud computing solutions," said John Potter, Vice President, As-a-Service Solutions, AT&T.

 

Winston added: "Finding providers and partners that can take some of your energy-using operations to scale, and manage them in a shared capacity, is good for both business' carbon footprint and its bottom line."

 

I suspect the report's conclusions on cloud computing may be a case of preaching to the converted here, but the insight of some of those interviewed for the study may be useful.

 

Is mandatory reporting of greenhouse gas emissions by business getting closer?

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Interesting post on the Guardian's Sustainable Business blog yesterday which discusses the need for mandatory greenhouse gas emissions reporting.

The piece suggests that over 80% of business professionals surveyed by the Insitute of Environmental Management and Assessment believe that mandatory reporting of  emissions should be introduced for companies as it can deliver significant benefits, with those reporting emission reductions achieving an average of 9% CO2 savings over the last two years.

Business fails in role as Green change agent

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The Guardian has made a nice job of relaunching its Sustainable Business site. I liked this piece about business failing to act as a change agent for Climate Change.

It says that although the latest FTSE 350 report by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), produced ahead of a UN climate change summit in November, found that eight out of 10 FTSE 350 companies that reported to CDP identified significant opportunities from climate change, only 10% encouraged policy making in this area.

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