PPAI Magazine September 2023

EPA provides a GHG Emissions Calculator, updated in 2022, to help small businesses estimate their annual GHG emissions. How To Develop KPIs While the Greenhouse Gas Protocol is a useful instrument to measure carbon emissions, the Global Reporting Initiative is a widely used tool for determining key performance indicators. It outlines the process for determining which issues are material to a company, such as items the company has direct control over or things it can directly impact within the environmental, social and governance categories. The GRI lists a variety of metrics for companies to report, including the percentage of reclaimed materials a company uses in its products and the number of training sessions a company provides for its employees, among other things. One industry distributor created an employee group to periodically report internally on electricity and gas usage, as well as waste pickup and recycling rates. Other reporting concerns relate to supply chains, like the frequency of audits and the percentage of product offerings that could include any sustainability attributes. Setting Goals And Science-Based Targets In partnership with the UN Global Compact and other organizations, the Science Based Targets initiative provides companies with a defined pathway outlining how they can help meet their goals. The initiative considers companies’ size and emissions impact to determine actions tailored to their current abilities and projected growth. SBTi provides guidance on setting an appropriate target, and once the company commits, it has 24 months to set it. The company submits its target and supporting documents to SBTi, and upon receipt, the initiative reviews the materials to ensure that the target aligns with their requirements, offers feedback and asks any clarifying questions before approval. After approval, the company is obliged to report annually on its progress, as well as to revisit the target every two years with considerations for how the business has grown or changed and to ensure the goal is still valid. It is important to remember that sustainability initiatives are moving targets. Carbon Offsets And Renewable Energy Certificates Carbon-neutral claims, whether regarding a company’s processes or products, are typically supported by purchasing carbon offsets. The emissions still exist, but the offset generates a balancing project elsewhere that neutralizes the impact of the activity for which it was purchased. Carbon offsets typically cannot be used as part of a science-based targets program because offsets must support activities that are outside the normal course of business. Renewable energy certificates are tradable energy credits in the U.S. that represent 1 MWh of electricity generated from an eligible renewable energy resource and fed into the shared system of power. RECs can be used as part of a company’s science-based target commitment because they involve activities that fall within the normal course of business. Examples include installing solar panels or purchasing equivalent numbers of RECs from the utility provider to cover energy usage. One does not need to be an expert in this area to make a meaningful impact. However, it is important to record and measure any efforts that are made to learn and improve. Norris is PPAI’s public affairs manager. Voices | Responsibility 38 • SEPTEMBER 2023 • PPAI