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Economy

ET Index blog series: Including the full Scope of a company’s carbon emissions

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Having established in previous posts what is at stake with climate change, it ought to be clear to anyone that we need to limit greenhouse gas emissions. In concrete terms emissions represent the physical source of the problem. Sam Gill, CEO of ET Index writes.

Given that today’s economy is dominated by private corporations and historically just 90 companies caused two-thirds of man-made carbon emissions, if we are to have any chance of tackling the problem we need to incentivise companies and their supply chains to cut emissions.

If we are going to ask companies to cut emissions then we need a global, standardised accounting system for measuring emissions in a way that is comparable across companies. Luckily we have such a system in the one that has been developed by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. This is the most widely accepted international accounting standard. It categorises emissions by three Scopes: Scope 1 direct emissions over which a company has control; Scope 2 indirect emissions relating to the use of purchased electricity; and Scope 3 (supply chain) emissions.

Scope 3 (supply chain) emissions are best understood as those over which a company has influence but not direct control. For example, an oil company controls the machinery that gets the stuff out of the ground but the real carbon impact occurs when the oil is burnt by the end user. This is not something over which they have direct control, but they certainly have influence. Likewise, if a company sends all its employees back and forth between London and Tokyo every week, it does not directly control the emissions relating the aircraft but they have influence by virtue of stimulating increased demand.

Failure to include such emissions when looking at a company’s carbon footprint effectively means that emissions can be ‘outsourced’ to another company with the carbon balance sheet being wiped clean. Clearly that is not very helpful the point of view of actually tackling the problem at hand, which is the emissions.

Some critics argue that this leads to double counting, since one company’s direct emissions may be another company’s indirect emissions. Surely, it is better to count them twice than not count them at all!

But in any case the reasons for inclusion by far outweigh the disadvantages of exclusion. Notably Scope 3 emissions typically account for more than three quarters of a company’s total carbon footprint, meaning they represent a significant source of ‘carbon risk’. As we know companies do not exist in isolation from their supply chains. Even if an oil company is not responsible for the end user turning its product into greenhouse gas emissions, it will still be affected by regulation limiting carbon emissions. Moreover, if we are going to incentivise companies to lower emissions, then it would be an opportunity missed if we failed to create an incentive for companies in their supply chains to lower emissions as well.

As we will explore in the last post of this series, one of the core tenets of Environmental Tracking is the inclusion of a company’s full scope of emissions. This is done so that any incentive applied to the largest companies listed on the stock market percolates down through the wider economy, transcending international borders, as it is passed onto smaller companies in their supply chain. Indeed this is where the real power of targeting the largest listed companies globally lies – by being able to reach far beyond them.

Economy

A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

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energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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Economy

IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”

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IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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