Business and GHG accounting – murky still

Business faces increasing pressures and regulatory imperatives to effectively manage and reduce GHG emissions. But it’s not that easy according to an International Emissions Trading Association workshop titled, “Business Perspectives on GHG Reporting Challenges.”

A panel of global consultants (Deloitte, KPMG, Tractebel, HIS, and DNV) offered perspective about current trends on environmental and emissions reporting. Two years ago, 34% of Fortune 1000 companies produced sustainability reports. Now this number is close to 74%. And many companies are now combining their financial and sustainability reports with the GHG accounting metrics into one document. Shareholders want a full risk profile. This reality has companies in Washington lobbying for guidance as they feel pressure from shareholders and the EPA to produce reliable reporting.

The panelists agreed that it is still extremely difficult to get accurate GHG measurements (good news for consulting firms). According to one panelist, doing a GHG accounting is like building a house. It needs to be done systematically but a lack of standardization for carbon measurements makes this difficult. “We are not there yet,” said one panelist.

The presenters put up a lot complicated matrixes and flow charts about optimal ways to measure emissions. Said one panelist, “GHG accounting is all about data.” Data is important but so is verification and verification is not happening yet.

Maybe this is the next big opportunity for consulting firms. Stay tuned.

Written by CTHERIOT.

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