Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business


CO2 standards focus on business case for cuts

November 2011

Two new international emissions standards have been produced that are likely to set the tone of carbon footprint management for years to come, encouraging companies to better measure and report their CO2 emissions and, ultimately, certify their products.

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Value Chain Standard and the Product Life Cycle Standard, both resulting from collaboration between the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), claim to be tools enabling companies to save money, reduce risks and gain competitive advantages.

The Value Chain Standard provides a step-by-step model approach for companies to focus efforts on the greatest emissions reduction opportunities. It lists standardised reporting requirements through which to measure the results of its management strategies.

Businesses will be required to measure individual products’ CO2 emissions under the Product Life Cycle Standard, which covers the sustainable use of materials, manufacturing and disposal. The aim is to help companies improve their products and provide valuable information for consumers.

The business case seems to be at the centre of the standards, which emphasise cost savings and competitive advantage and are expected to replace existing carbon footprint measures such as PAS 2050. “Companies that use the standards,” says the WRI, “will be able to create better products and improve efficiency throughout the value chain.”

Both standards were developed over three years in consultation with more than 2,000 parties worldwide.

WBCSD president Björn Stigson said: “The new standards provide a comprehensive view of the emissions produced when making a product. They will help companies make better business decisions and stimulate innovation.

“In today’s world, it is necessary to understand and measure the costs for production, labour and transportation of products, which become visible and actionable through emissions.”

The Carbon Trust will be one organisation offering international verification against the standard, which it said will allow businesses to “robustly communicate their product carbon footprints and reduction performance”.

Global | Climate change


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