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ERA's Environmental Compliance Management Blog

Greenhouse Gases Reporting: 5 ways to avoid becoming a Dinosaur

Posted by Alex Chamberlain

Alex Chamberlain is a writer for ERA Environmental Management Solutions.

Greenhouse gases reporting dinoSince October 29, 2009, all companies in the United States must report their annual Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions as mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency. In many countries GHG reporting is still optional, but regardless of whether or not you are obliged to report your GHG emissions, your attitude toward reporting can have a big impact on your bottom line. Those who do not report or are satisfied to only meet the minimum reporting requirements are getting left behind in this increasingly environmentally-conscious market. Can you say that your business is doing everything it can to take advantage of GHG reporting? Or are you slowly becoming a GHG reporting dinosaur?

The way you approach Greenhouse Gases Reporting says a lot about the way you do business.

When it comes to Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reporting commitments, there are three scopes of emissions that you responsible for reporting. These "scopes" are made up of both your direct and indirect emissions.

When looked at in more detail, your direct core emissions (Scope 1) are from on-site power generation, and mobile sources like trucks and vehicles.

Indirect sources (Scope 2) are those emissions generated from off-site utilities, which generate the electricity your site consumes.

Your total GHG emissions also includes other indirect sources, like trucks shipping your product via a third party hauler, and the emissions related to company employees using different forms of transportation. These Scope 3 emissions are optional to report, but businesses with sustainability initiatives are choosing to report them anyway.

You might be asking yourself,

"Why would successful companies choose to disclose more GHG emissions than they are required to?"

This question is from an ancient realm, inhabited by dinosaurs, who choose to see GHG reporting as an burden, rather than as an opportunity.

Here are five ways that modern business leaders are taking advantage of this situation, and slowly leaving the dinosaurs to go extinct:

1) Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Reporting is a Great Public Relations Tactic

The market is changing, and people are actively seeking to do business with companies that are visibly greener. Younger consumers are more eco-minded than ever, and they are soon going to become your primary market. Not only does optional GHG reporting give your business a better image, GHG reporting translates in to higher profits and a better bottom line.

2) Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Reporting Makes You a More Efficient Business

Thorough GHG reporting encourages your business to operate as efficiently as possible and improve the areas where you aren’t. Once you become aware of how much energy you use and how you manage your resources, you’ll begin to find ways to reduce operating costs, make processes more efficient, and eliminate waste. GHG accounting allows you to manage your risks and identify opportunities. The process of taking account of all your GHG emissions – even the optional ones – gives you a complete picture of your business.

3) Investors are attracted to proficient Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Reporting

Greenhouse Gas reporting is one of many ways to make your business more sustainable, which means that it is a better long-term investment. Not only will your business be seen as a better investment, it will be perceived as a more transparent organization that encourages accountability. Both of these characteristics make your company highly attractive to investors and give you a competitive advantage over other companies that drag their heels about GHG accounting and reporting. Being perceived in this manner will also go a long way to getting you credit with the EPA, which is never a bad thing.

4) Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Reporting is a Step Toward Sustainability

Corporate sustainability emphasizes that your business is taking the necessary steps to be successful now and in the future. By measuring its environmental, social, and economic impacts, your company is ready & capable acting in a proactive manner. This is far more advantageous than reacting to unforeseen negative situations because you were not measuring and managing your triple bottom line. Tracking all of your emissions, not just the mandatory ones, is one of the best ways to see which areas you are creating a potential hidden deficit.

5) Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Reporting Doesn’t Have to Cost Much – Or Anything At All

A study by the Pew Research Center published April, 2008 found that “more than 40 Fortune 500 companies in the U.S. have set targets for greenhouse-gas reductions. Of these, 11 have already met them, and not one has lost money.”

By making your business more efficient, identifying and acting on risk areas, and monitoring every step of your operations, you will be able to take total control of your business and save money.

To learn more about greenhouse gas reporting and how your business can become more sustainable, or to get more information about how GHG emissions are calculated, download ERA Environmental's free ebook "A guide to Greenhouse Gas Accounting for Business"

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