Counting carbon to find bottom-line benefits
May 15, 2009, 12:34pm PDT | Length: 00:04:49
What could your business do better? At the Greentech Media and Groom Energy, Enterprise Carbon Accounting Summit in Burlingame, Calif., panelists explain what "The Climate Registry" is, and how business leaders can benefit from carbon accountability. Panelists include: James Sullivan, former director of the EPA Climate Leaders Program and current vice president of Clear Standards; Elise Zoli, partner and chair of energy practice at Goodwin Procter; and Tyman Lodder, western regional director of The Climate Registry.
>> Yeah. So the climate registry, and, and if you look at that map there, most of those states, if not, well, actually all of those states that are highlighted. We're a, our, our goal was to standardized the centralized high-quality greenhouse gas data into a North American registry to support both voluntary and mandatory programs, and really what the gentleman from Sun alluded to is that you've got all these people that want to put together footprints. How do they do it in a consistent fashion? So the states came together in 2007 really to create us. They recognized that there was a need for some type of consistency across all of these jurisdictions. The first part of policy is to make sure that everyone's counting things in a, in a consistent fashion. So we were created as a 501c3 to really help businesses understand and, and put together their carbon footprints in a consistent fashion. Scope one and scope two and help guidance in scope three. But the key piece is, I think, what, what, the why industry has embraced us, and we have a number of larger industries is, is that the last thing that Shell Oil, who's a, who's a big member of ours, they want to do is report 50 different ways to 50 different states. So by having all of these, these organizations, these states, these provinces come together to kind of create that, this is how you're going to count it. It helps them, at least, get some certainty. We know it's coming, and we're seeing a lot of activity on it. How do I get the systems in place? Because as, as I'm sure we'll talk about here, it's, it's not necessarily an easy process to put all of the records together, but at least doing it in a consistent fashion so that I don't have to report three, four different times or three, four different ways. And so that's how we were created.
>> I'd, I'd just like to follow up on that point because I think you made a great point, and we haven't really laid it out as clearly as we could have is that it's a regulatory panel. When you talk about regulation, you're really in, in most cases talking about scope one. You're talking about the direct emissions from the pipes. You're talking potentially depending on how some of the legislation goes, fugitive emissions from some of those things. Maybe you'll get into smaller sources, but you're, you're really talking about large direct sources. What the climate registry allows you to do and some of the other voluntary recording programs such as Climate Leaders is really gain some more business insight into those missions and how carbon flows through the value chain. So for example, when you talk about scope three emissions, what you're really talking about is what could be the potential costs of regulation on my logistics chain. What might it be on my raw materials? What might it be on my energy and electricity usage? And by taking a more holistic enterprise-wide view of that type of issue, you're really able to gain some, some good business insight into decisions that when you made two years ago without a carbon price such as I'm going to ship my goods from, you know, from this country, and I'm using these raw materials, I'm using these suppliers, it may change the balance of it depending on what the prices are for diesel fuel versus electricity use and which countries begin to regulate. So I think there's a, there's a broader business case for taking a, a broader look than just what's mandated by the government.
>> I really agree with that. I think there's a tendency to look at regulation as being wholly negative, and that the, the folks that grow up around the regulation or anticipate the regulation as the registry has have done a terrific service in saying what could your business do better, and what does better mean. And I think that we can't overestimate what that will mean in terms of how we manage ourselves and move forward, you know, consistent with Tom Friedman's assumed spelling goal of returning innovation to America.
>> The most of our members are really environmental leaders. So they, they see the value of getting their information out to their stakeholders so that they don't have to keep communicating, that they can communicate in a very transparent fashion. They go through the, the verification process to make sure it's accurate. And as we mentioned, I think a lot of companies will find when they go through the whole process, although it's not easy by any stretch of the imagination, they find a lot of really bottom-line benefits in terms of improving their efficiencies. Reducing their electricity usage. We have oftentimes, people who find facilities that they haven't owned for years that they're still paying the bills for. So these are all types of things that, that are benefits of that. You're always going to have the people that, that don't want to play in the game, but I, I think that you're seeing a lot more push from customers that they really want to understand, I'm buying the product from this company. So those companies that are going out and being proactive on that front, I think, have a really valuable tool to show and prove in a very rigorous and, and transparent fashion that we know we, we emit carbon, and we're doing this and this and this to prove we're reducing it over time.
==== Transcribed by Automatic Sync Technologies ====