When Going Green Becomes Part of the Business Plan
24 August 2010
Most manufacturing companies are faced with putting green issues higher up their corporate agenda. Cutting carbon emissions, reducing waste, going green, corporate social responsibility are just some of the terms that are becoming more familiar in the vocabulary of business life.
While governments around the world have put their initial focus on the major energy intensive industries and large companies, there is little doubt that the green agenda is here to stay and manufacturing industries such as abrasives will be affected.
On the near horizon are three new global standards designed to help measure the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of their products and supply chains. Two of them are new GHG Protocol standards –the Product Lifecycle Accounting and Reporting Standard and the Scope 3 (Corporate Value Chain) Accounting and Reporting Standard – are being evaluated and are close to becoming internationally recognized standards.
These standards have been developed by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), provide methods to account for emissions associated with individual products across their life cycles and of corporations across their value chains. In addition, ISO (International Organization for Standardization), WRI and the WBCSD have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) under which they have agreed to jointly promote the ISO 14064 standards and the WRI and WBCSD GHG Protocol standards.
The move according to ISO was in response to concerns among businesses and GHG program designers that the two standards might not be consistent and mutually supportive. In fact, for corporate accounting, requirements and guidance contained in ISO and GHG Protocol standards are consistent and they are designed so that they can be used in a complementary manner.
These standards have been ‘road tested’ by 62 companies in different industries across 17 countries. “The road testing experience illustrates how developing rules around measurement, reporting, and verification involves complex technical and policy decisions that need real-world feedback to ensure the right balance is achieved between rigor and ease of use while keeping in view the capacity of both experienced and new users,” said Jennifer Morgan, director of WRI’s Climate and Energy Program. “The GHG Protocol approach to develop international standards provides us a model on how we might want to pursue the development of rules on tracking emissions at the country-level as well.”
Based on the responses from the test companies, the standard will be revised and the latest versions will be available at the end of September for public comment for a 30-day period. The text will be finalized at the end of 2010 and the final versions will be published by March 2011.
Also, the future ISO 50001 standard for energy management was recently approved as a Draft International Standard (DIS). This new standard has been developed to provide framework for industrial plants, commercial facilities or entire organizations to manage energy. Targeting broad applicability across national economic sectors, it is estimated that the standard could influence up to 60% of the world’s energy use.
According to ISO its new standards document is based on the common elements found in all of ISO’s management system standards, assuring a high level of compatibility with ISO 9001 (quality management) and ISO 14001 (environmental management). ISO says that the new standard will: –
• A framework for integrating energy efficiency into management practices
• Making better use of existing energy-consuming assets
• Benchmarking, measuring, documenting, and reporting energy intensity improvements and their projected impact on reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
• Transparency and communication on the management of energy resources
• Energy management best practices and good energy management behaviours
• Evaluating and prioritizing the implementation of new energy-efficient technologies
• A framework for promoting energy efficiency throughout the supply chain
• Energy management improvements in the context of GHG emission reduction projects.
ISO 50001 is being developed by ISO project committee ISO/PC 242, Energy management. The secretariat of ISO/PC 242 is provided by the partnership of the ISO members for the USA (ANSI) and Brazil (ABNT). Forty-two ISO member countries are participating in its development, with another 10 as observers.
Now that ISO 50001 has advanced to the DIS stage, ISO point out that national member bodies of ISO have been invited to vote and comment on the text of the standard during the five-month balloting period. Then, if all goes to plan ISO 50001, like the GHS standards, will become an Internatlonal Standard by early 2011.