To the extent that the INDCs presented to COP 21 gain strength, the environmental issue becomes increasingly visible and palpable at the organizational and communicational level. Surely in your company there is an energy saving plan, either due to regulatory compliance or managerial disposition, and they even have implemented an Environmental Management System , which places your institution within the “green path”. Even so, have you ever thought that such actions can bring you “economic benefits”, or do you simply see it as an operational cost of being responsible? Well, in this article we remove the chimerical approach of being friendly to the environment and translate it into money can be generated through the inventory of GHG (Greenhouse Gases).
While it is true that many companies have a well-defined environmental commitment, few organizations can accurately estimate the impact of their operations on the planet, which is called the Carbon Footprint, and in other cases, those that know their footprint They do not manage locally how they can reduce it without affecting their cash flow, or what they must do to reverse the balance and generate profit on this issue.
The carbon footprint is the colloquial way of defining the impact, in terms of emissions of carbon dioxide (CO 2), as a consequence of carrying out an activity, a product, an industrial process, or simply of our daily life. From a corporate point of view, the need to show the world the sustainability of operations led to the development of a unified methodology that would guarantee the validity of the reported values and, with it, the precise quantification of the mitigation measures undertaken. From here arise, among others, the Corporate GHG Protocol (Greenhouse Gases) and the ISO 14064 standard, this being the one applied when quantifying GHG emissions at the organizational level by drawing up an inventory of such emissions.
The GHG Inventory in Central America and the Caribbean
Carrying out an organization’s GHG inventory, as its name indicates, consists of identifying and accounting for all activities that imply the emission of any of the compounds considered in the Kyoto Protocol, in terms of tons of carbon dioxide. . Among the most common activities that emit GHG we can mention: combustion in fixed equipment (boilers, furnaces, turbines), and mobile (private vehicles, cargo), purchase of electricity, steam or heat, business trips, product shipments, etc
In the Central American and Caribbean region, despite generating electricity mainly from fossil sources, signs of an awakening in this area are beginning to show, from the development of GHG inventories in public institutions, unions, corporations of various kinds, among other. Part of our experience as environmental consultants resides in the latter, taking inventories, developing energy saving and energy efficiency plans, and advising companies on the matter since 2013, which has made us pioneers in the industrial sector of Venezuela.
In the case of large transnational companies, many times the carbon footprint is raised at the level of the parent companies, and little attention is paid in the country to the potential that leads to an increase in the operational efficiency of the organization, as well as some of the tangible economic benefits that they enable. Some of these are listed below:
- Improvement of the public image of the company or institution in the collective, since with these tools it begins its path towards sustainability.
- By expressing all the activities (consumption) of the company in a single unit (tons of CO 2 ), organizations can globally appreciate their performance and find significant savings potential, previously invisible, that allow them to reduce their costs and, at the same time, their impact on environment. Otherwise, how could you compare the consumption of electricity (expressed in kWh), with that of water (expressed in m 3 ) , or with the transport of the finished product (expressed in tons)?
- The ISO 14064 standard is compatible with all the Management Systems that are managed in the organizations (quality: 9001, environment: 14001, energy: 50001, etc.), and also serves as an internal auditor of all the processes of generation of company value.
- Emission mitigation projects (replacement of technology, energy efficiency, renewable energy, etc.) can be marketed as Carbon Credits, but also in the voluntary emissions market, being able to reduce the initial investment amount of the project to $0 , implying a Pay-Back Time of a few months.
- In the case of certain legislations, the States grant incentives and tax exemptions to all initiatives focused on the reduction of emissions or effluents, especially when this leads to reducing GHG emissions, as well as carrying out Life Cycle Analysis of products. , or materials that are produced, among other activities.
In conclusion, the tools and experiences that the region has in terms of industrial sustainability are valuable and give rise to the reduction of our impact on the planet, the benefits being more than simple abstractions or futuristic chimeras that have always been attributed to it. criticized environmentalists. It is possible to be environmentally responsible and reduce production, marketing, or operating costs, by developing an inventory of the emissions of entire organizations and their subsequent control and reduction.