| Many organizations are contemplating how to address the GHG challenge and more specifically how to demonstrate to their customers that they are concerned and serious about GHG reduction. Here are some different approaches that various organization have implemented to demonstrate environmental leadership:
The oldest and most established program for showing environmental stewardship. Advantages are certification recognitions. Also that it obliges the organization to develop an overall environmental plan. Disadvantages are that is a generic program. ISO14001 does not require specific reductions in any of the environmental indicators but merely an establishment of a mission statement and improvement program. Also, it is not GHG-specific and thus does not allow organizations to demonstrate leadership in this specific area. Overall, a good tool but in combination with others options and not by itself.
Carbon disclosure project
An approach focused on GHGs and developed along the lines of financial reporting. The idea is to publicly account for and disclose GHG levels generated by an organization. The calculations are standardized and audited much like financial results and are combined with an overall plan that the organization can develop at their own pace and can subsequently track to show progress. Many large organizations have joined this initiative. It must be combined with a solid communication plan to explain rational for wanting GHG transparency and subsequently to communicate reduction plans and progress against these plans. This option may be a good one for large multinational manufacturing organizations that generate significant quantities of GHGs. It is less effective for service organizations.
Chicago Carbon Exchange
There are various membership categories but the basic idea is that by joining, member organizations legally commit to certain reduction that are validated and tracked against CCX standards. A good approach but becoming a me-too option and thus if not combined with a lot of communication may not be automatically an effective as a leadership tool. Also tends to be more effective for large manufacturing and power organization that generate significant quantities of GHGs.
Establish Policy, Set Target, Track and Communicate
Probably the most effective approach. Even without specific certification, the technique has been very effectively used by several organizations. BP Petroleum is a clear leader that pioneered this approach going to the extent of publishing a separate Annual Suitability Report along with their Annual Financial Reports. Wal-Mart is another example. Must be serious about setting and meeting objectives and must leverage the program through extensive communications to show leadership.