Our impact on our environment has never been clearer. As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated “Scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal.” Individuals may have a decent understanding of their role in reducing their carbon footprint. But a company’s path towards a cleaner future isn’t all that clear. Environmental compliance standards shift depending on company size and industry. Why go beyond with environmental compliance? And what can your company do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions? Let’s find out.
Environmental compliance means following certain laws, regulations or requirements to limit a company’s impact on the environment. The level of compliance required varies by country, state and industry. For example, the process of manufacturing creates a number of byproducts that impact the environment: air emissions, waste, waste water, etc. Manufacturing companies are required to monitor and report on these emissions, filling out permits for exemptions and updating processes as needed to remain compliant. On the other side, a software development company has a considerably less direct impact in terms of emissions. However, the downstream impact of their product, or the number of people leveraging fossil-fuel sourced energy to use it, may inspire them to look into environmental compliance.
Say your company is meeting the required laws and regulations for environmental compliance. Why go further? Aren’t you doing enough? Put simply, the answer is no. Many don’t believe environmental compliance is doing enough. From buyers in stores to investors to boardroom executives, sustainability has become a priority. Companies are asking about environmental compliance programs before entering partnerships or renewing current vendor agreements. There may be laws and regulations, but there are measures companies can take to side-step regulations. One example is carbon credits.
A carbon credit is a permit companies can purchase. This permit represents 1 ton of carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere. Carbon credits themselves are created through projects that reduce or capture emissions. Most often these are agricultural or forestry related. For companies contributing large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions, this is a way to offset their impact. However, it doesn’t do anything to change the emissions generated by business activities.
Look at the cap-and-trade market. Companies that come in below their environmental compliance cap can sell the difference in carbon credits. Ideally, this program means less carbon emissions. However, arguments against these programs point out it still enables companies to contribute GHG emissions above compliance standards without having to alter their process.
Companies looking to go beyond standard environmental compliance can pursue many avenues. The first step should include assessing a company’s current GHG impact and creating a plan to reduce emissions with defined, achievable goals that include both short-term and long-term action. Possible targets include the following:
Some companies will find the process easier than others. Whether meeting goals set internally by the company or by outside investors, it can be challenging to respond quickly. As previously stated, it’s often best to start with an assessment.
Going above and beyond environmental compliance is a massive undertaking made up of smaller achievable goals. Add tackling transportation and fuel efficiency to the top of your list. Gain insight into the GHG emissions of your mobile workforce with Motus emissions reports. Whether you’re looking to reduce scope 1 or scope 3 emissions, our team will help you quantify your current program’s footprint, suggest goals and steps to achieve them and, finally, track and analyze the results.
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