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Reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Businesses produce a significant proportion of the GHG emissions and have a direct role to play in helping meet climate change commitments

The guidance helps businesses and organisations to measure and report their current emissions and set reduction targets.

Environmental management systems can be used by organisations in both the private and public sectors to help them reduce their environmental impacts, comply with relevant legislation, and demonstrate that they are managing their environmental risks and liabilities responsibly.

Steps

Identify which activities in your business release greenhouse gas emissions
The main activities from your business which release greenhouse gases may include
i. Electricity/gas use
ii. Waste disposal/recycling
iii. Business travel
iv. Owned or controlled vehicles
v. Employee business travel
vi. Staff commuting

Collect data
To calculate the greenhouse gas emissions for your business, you will need to collect data from each relevant emission-releasing activity.

Convert the data
To calculate the greenhouse gas emissions associated with each activity, you will need to convert the data you have collected using emission factors.
Data x Emission Factor = Greenhouse gas emissions
Online calculators will calculate your greenhouse gas emissions from the information you input into the online tool. These tools are useful when you are new to reporting and the data you wish to convert into greenhouse gas emissions is simple. The Carbon Trust has a carbon calculator tool on its website which uses the DECC/Defra conversion factors.

Identify ways to reduce your emissions
Once you have calculated your greenhouse gas emissions you can use this information to help you reduce your emissions and help you identify ways to save money.

Indipendent certification
The role of independent certification and the value of accreditation are important for business and considering future challenges for EMSs.

EMS Standards:

ISO 14001
Some organisations develop their own in-house systems which may be appropriate for their sector or size but most seek independent certification against the international standard ISO 14001 which specifies all the requirements necessary for a robust environmental management system.

BS 8555
A new British Standard, BS 8555, was launched in 2004 to help organisations put in place a full EMS by taking a phased approach which breaks the implementation process down into stages. Copies of the standard can be obtained from the British Standards Institution An independent inspection scheme has been developed by the Institution of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) which offers accredited recognition for organisations evaluating and improving their environmental performance through the phased implementation process.

EMAS (EU Eco Management and Audit Scheme)
EMAS is a voluntary EU wide scheme which gives recognition to organisations who have implemented ISO 14001and produced a public statement about their performance.

Companies that measure, manage and communicate their environmental performance are inherently well placed.
They understand how to:
- improve their processes,
- reduce their costs,
- comply with regulatory requirements and stakeholder expectations,
- take advantages of new market opportunities.

Failure to plan for a future in which environmental factors are likely to be increasingly significant may risk the long-term future of a business.

Good environmental performance makes good business sense. Environmental risks and uncertainties impact to some extent on all companies, and affect investment decisions, consumer behavior and Government policy.

by Aliona Avduhova
05 october 2009, Food & Fun > Nature

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