The Emission Imperative: Management under Climate Change

6 July, 2021

Climate change is one of the most complex issues of our times, it is a global problem that can be felt on local scales, one that will be around for decades and centuries to come. One of the major causes of climate change is the emission of greenhouse gases, that pose significant risks for both human and natural systems and if continue to increase, will result in greater risks. So far, anthropogenic activities have caused about 1.0 °C of global warming above the pre-industrial level

The pandemic made the accelerating impacts of global heating even worse for millions of people, and the temporary dip in carbon emissions due to lockdowns had no discernible impact on atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, a report by WMO report stated. Carbon emissions in 2020 declined by 6 to 7% globally, albeit a portion of those decreases were offset by carbon released by wildfires. Those are the biggest emissions decline since World War II and more than the 1% global emissions drops brought by the 2008 Great Recession. Emission levels rose by 2.6 parts per million from 2019 to 414 ppm in 2020. The measure of carbon in the air won't decrease until human emissions arrive at net zero. In addition, as Covid limitations were lifted during 2020, worldwide carbon contamination almost bounced back to pre-COVID levels and there is a 40 % chance of the annual average global temperature temporarily reaching1.5 degrees Celsius in at least one of the next five years, and these odds will increase with time, according to a recent World Meteorological Organization report.

The impact of climate change is already too costly for people and the planet but despite increasing awareness, emissions of greenhouse gases continue to rise. A recently published report by CDP identified that 100 energy companies have been responsible for 71% of all industrial emissions since human-driven climate change was officially recognized. However, it’s not just the energy sector, according to self-reported numbers, the top15 U.S. food and beverage companies generate nearly 630 million metric tons of greenhouse gases every year. That makes this group of only 15 companies a bigger emitter than Australia.

As people around the globe become increasingly exposed to the impacts of our climate crisis, Consumers, regulators, and investors alike are increasingly scrutinizing the climate impact of companies, pressuring businesses to respond to the threat. With their work cut out for them, corporates need to start their mitigation process by reducing the flow of heat-trapping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, either by reducing sources of these gases or enhancing the “sinks” that accumulate and store these gases. However, it’s even more important for them to drastically reduce their contributions as quickly as possible.

Reducing your carbon emissions seems to be the slogan of the year, but how do companies start with such a blurry task? Many companies have set greenhouse gas reduction targets, but most of those targets fail to include the emissions associated with the entire life cycle of a given corporation’s products. This is where committing to SBTi spurs innovation; bringing focus on where companies are and where they need to be in the future. Asking for a realistic response on how business processes and products can either be radically revamped or replaced to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, helping companies set climate goals so they can play a decisive role in the reduction of GHGs planet-wide and limit global warming to below 2°C based on science.

To help focus planning and determine a starting point for carbon mitigation efforts, it is often useful for companies to start by Measuring and reporting emissions “Reduce what you can, offset what you can’t”. Ensuring the accuracy of these measurements and transparent reporting would be a good second one. Creating value from investments in new technologies and operational practices can be achieved when strong management systems are linked to a disciplined approach to measuring, collecting, monitoring, and analyzing the right data.

It would require companies to break down their emissions into three categories, scope 1, scope 2, and scope 3, quantify the amount of energy that was used and take all the data collected and convert it into carbon emissions.

In this context, technology can be a game-changer. With cloud technology presenting companies with the ability to deliver deep insights into multiple aspects of a company’s emission activities and data, a promising route to accelerate the transformation and reducing expenses. These insights can help companies achieve their goals with respect to RE, Energy efficiency, SBTi, Carbon Neutrality and make informed decisions in terms of strategy. For example, as-is scenario of energy consumption and cost can help a company to implement mitigation measures for a specific site/location.

A system is important to ensure that the GHG inventory continues to meet internal and external expectations. Any practical measures cannot be implemented without actual data and calculations, from the point of primary data collection to the final corporate approval process. These measures are most important to implement where data are initially collected, and where calculations and data aggregations are performed. A company may wish to consider ensuring the quality of its data at various levels of disaggregation, so that they are better prepared for potential internal GHG program needs, external trading markets, or regulatory requirements in the future. Activity data obtained from multiple sources should be compared, and the activity data itself should be evaluated to see that it is appropriate for the accuracy needed for a GHG inventory. Any biases in the activity data should be identified, and recommended corrective actions be developed and implemented.

With our Platform resustainTM Companies can manage their emission data through Configured formulae that enable automatic calculation of scope emissions. They can arrange to collect data from operations, and configure custom emission factors from the pre-existing library of emission factors (IPCC, GHG protocol, etc.) and GWP. By layering intelligence onto the data, and generate and estimate a level of certainty to the results. The platform would also help in providing detailed insight with help of continuous monitoring systems, and GHG Inventorization .Future emissions can be forecasted across a company’s carbon footprint, with current reduction efforts. As a result, they can set, adjust, and achieve reduction targets more accurately as analyzing and monitoring data can be done easily and the Managers can also compare the emissions of different resources and identify what is the minimum consumption level in a given time period. Hence, the platform enables its users to localize energy waste and emissions by using advanced assessment applications for increased efficiency based on existing data records.