Greenhouse gases an effective strategy for managing GHG emissions: follow this step-by-step guidance to fulfill the three critical elements of an effective GHG-management strategy

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Date: Aug. 2007
From: Chemical Engineering(Vol. 114, Issue 8)
Publisher: Access Intelligence, LLC
Document Type: Cover story
Length: 5,830 words
Lexile Measure: 1570L

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Climate change has become an important strategic issue for many operating companies throughout the chemical process industries (CPI). Public interest is increasing, (1) shareholder interest continues to mount, (2) and climate policy discussions are actively taking place at the state, regional, and federal levels. (3) Developing an effective corporate strategy for managing climate change, to measure, track, and reduce company-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, is an essential element for any organization to begin addressing this critical environmental issue. As the saying goes: "You cannot manage what you are not measuring."

Fortunately, thanks to comprehensive engineering and accounting efforts in this regard over recent years, the development of an effective climate-change business strategy has become a fairly straightforward process, and today there are many resources available to assist companies. More than 130 leading U.S. companies, including DuPont, General Electric, 3M, Dell, and Eastman Kodak, (4) have road-tested the process that is discussed here, working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Climate Leaders program. Through the program, EPA provides technical assistance and marketing support to these companies, helping them to develop, maintain and communicate a credible engineering, business and public policy strategy related to their voluntary efforts to reduce of carbon dioxide (C[O.sub.2]) emissions and those of the five other GHGs (these are discussed below).

There are many benefits to developing an effective corporate GHG-management strategy. For one, a well-developed strategy can help to focus corporate attention on the most cost-effective and technically feasible existing GHG-reduction opportunities. Many companies have been working on energy-efficiency and process-improvement projects for years, due to their high return on investment, and direct impact on the bottom line. Rolling these efforts into a more comprehensive GHG-reduction strategy can help garner senior-management attention and increase funding for these types of reduction projects.

Formalizing a GHG-reduction goal also helps the company to institutionalize and focus attention on tracking the progress of corporate efficiency and GHG-reduction efforts over time. Aggressive corporate targets encourage innovation and usually lead to the identification of many additional reduction opportunities.

An increasing number of companies are also publicizing these efforts to demonstrate environmental leadership among their competitors and garner public support among the community. In addition, a proactive environmental strategy can improve employee morale and can help in the recruitment and retention of qualified employees (For more, see Box 1, entitled Business goals served by GHG inventories, p. 35).

This article discusses the three critical elements of an effective GHG-management strategy, to assist companies that are committed to undertaking the process:

* Establish a comprehensive, corporate-wide GHG inventory

* Develop an Inventory Management Plan (IMP)

* Set a corporate-wide GHG reduction goal and track progress toward achieving it

STEP 1. Establish a comprehensive, corporate-wide GHG inventory

EPA's Climate Leaders program inventory protocols are based on the World Resources Institute (WRI) and World Business Council for Sustainable Development's (WBCSD) "Greenhouse Gas Protocol: A Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard," which was initially released in 2001, and revised in 2004. The WRI/WBCSD GHG Protocol is the most widely used international...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A168132097