Group Releases Corporate Guide to Greenhouse Gas Management

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:23 PM EDT

( - Saying that "all companies contribute to climate change," an environmental think tank is urging people who work in office buildings to introduce energy-saving measures that can "significantly impact climate change," supposedly for the better.

The World Resources Institute, which lists former Vice President Al Gore on its board of directors, has released a "how-to guidebook" for companies interested in greenhouse gas management.

"If you're a building or operations manager at a bank, an insurance company or a retail chain, this guide lays out steps to measure greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and implement solutions," said Samantha Putt del Pino, who co-authored the guide entitled, "Hot Climate, Cool Commerce: A Service Sector Guide to Greenhouse Gas Management."

"Because the potential impacts of climate change are likely to escalate over time as gases continue to accumulate in the atmosphere, it is crucial that steps to reduce emissions begin immediately," Putt del Pino added.

Industrial polluters aren't the only problem, the World Resources Institute argues. The think tank says its guide includes case studies showing how companies such as Citigroup, General Electric, IKEA and Staples have implemented programs "to measure and manage their emissions and achieve energy savings."

"Climate change is becoming a mainstream issue and is increasingly important to our employees and our customers," the WRI press release quoted Mark Buckley, vice president of environmental affairs at Staples, as saying. Buckley said the WRI guidelines have helped his company "manage our GHG emissions in a cost-effective manner."

Among other things, the guide to greenhouse gas management addresses electricity usage for office lighting, cooling, computers, building equipment, and appliances, as well as fuel for heating, business travel, and the distribution (transportation) of products.

"Electricity and heat (46 percent) and transportation (31 percent) are the two largest U.S. sources of carbon dioxide, which is the most common GHG," the World Resources Institute said.

Emma Wendt, described as a "footprint officer" at the International Finance Corporation, the private-sector arm of the World Bank Group, said the WRI guidebook "will prove an invaluable resource for companies who want to take action on climate change."

The World Resources Institute says reducing energy usage and managing greenhouse gas emissions not only benefits the environment, but also helps companies financially.

Indeed, given the recent spike in energy costs, some companies see growth opportunities in cleaner and greener technologies.

In the "Ecomagination" section of its website, General Electric states its "commitment to develop products and solutions that help our customers, shareholders and the public."

GE says that as a "global leader in energy, technology, manufacturing and infrastructure," it is "uniquely suited to help solve environmental dilemmas - today and for generations to come." The website says "Ecomagination" is based on GE's belief that solving environmental problems is good business - and "constitutes a significant growth strategy for the company."

Environmental activists - Al Gore among them - have blasted President George W. Bush for refusing to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty that seeks to limit developed nations' greenhouse gas emissions.

President Bush has said that government-imposed limits on greenhouse gases would be too expensive to implement, harming the U.S. economy - and costing some American workers their jobs.

President Bush also argued against the treaty for failing to place emission-reduction demands on developing countries, even though some -- such as China and India -- are among the world's heaviest polluters.

But President Bush has encouraged individuals and corporations to voluntarily adopt conservation measures that will "save energy and boost their bottom lines."

While many environmentalist activists accept "global warming" as a lamentable fact of modern life, some scientists believe it's nothing more than an alarmist response to natural climate fluctuations.

The World Resources Institute describes itself as an independent, non-partisan organization that is dedicated to "developing and promoting policies that will help protect the Earth and improve people's lives."

See Earlier Stories:
Redford Tells Liberals to 'Forget Bush' on 'Global Warming' (13 June 2006)
Union, Environmentalists Form 'Blue-Green Alliance' (8 June 2006)
German Minister Links Katrina to Global Warming, Bush Policies (31 Aug. 2005)
Podesta, Clergy Label 'Global Warming' a 'Religious Issue'(3 May 2006)
Gore Uses Religion to Attract 'Global Warming' Converts (26 May 2006)

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