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  • Kasturi Goswami

Greenhouse Gas Emissions And CIO Sustainability

January 2022 saw the total score of companies joining UNFCC's Race to Zero campaign grow to more than 3000. These companies pledged policies toward their green initiatives. In retrospect, the following month of February, The New Climate Institute conducted a research study in collaboration with Carbon Market Watch on a few of these top 25 global entrees.

The report, Corporate Climate Responsibility Monitor 2022, accesses the companies' policies by critically analyzing their transparency and integrity in reporting four primary areas of concern:

  • Tracking and disclosure of emissions

  • Setting emission reduction targets

  • Reducing own emissions

  • Climate contributions and offsetting claims

The 2022 report exhibited a stark contrast in truth and promises. It found that most companies defied complete transparency by not disclosing the entirety of the log of emissions nor their plans to curb or reduce their eco-unfriendly operations. A casual glance at the report indicates the evil to be the Scope 3 GHG emissions, more so for they are hard to trace and keep track of.

Green House Gas (GHG) Protocol - What are Scope 3 emissions?

The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) is an organization that aids companies, cities, and investors in building up sustainable economies by measuring their environmental impact. When the CDP became a generator of holding companies accountable for their decisions that affect the environment, the GHG Protocol proved immensely useful.

The GHG Protocol is a source, a set of standards that provides companies with the final accounting tally of their greenhouse gas impact on the environment - direct or indirect.

The World Resource Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), in need of a standardized framework for corporate accounting of greenhouse gases, gave rise to the GHG Protocol. Working to measure and manage eco-impact due to private and public sector operations, value chains, and mitigation actions, the GHG Protocol has been raised as the child of a 20-year mutual alliance between the WRI and WBCSD.

The GHG Protocol recognizes three scopes or sources of greenhouse gas emissions accountable to a company's running: Scope 1, 2, and 3. Out of these, Scope 3 emissions account for 87% of the total emissions of the recorded data. These are the indirect emissions that occur within a company's supply chain. Hence, the reason why they are hard to track.

Why Circular Plans Made Aren't Fail Safe?

Whenever it comes to providing a product or service to customers, company policies depend on the three main factors of sustainable accounting: environmental, social, and governance. A finished product placed into the hands of a circular design consultant fails to give back results, primarily because people need to incorporate sustainable measures from early on in their planning process.

While leading a Cosmetics Design webinar, Chris Erwin, sustainability and circular design expert of PA Consulting, has admitted to failing in numerous projects in his 20 years in the business. One of the main reasons is that his clients demand 'providing the same experience in a sustainable version.' But he reiterates the thought process that it should start at the very base, i.e., during its primary developmental stage.

Hence, the question, How Do We Structure Plans If We Want To Succeed In Our Mission?

According to most circular design experts, people's view of circularity is narrow and non-directional. Sustainability should incorporate all-around circularity from sourcing to disposal. Thus, starting early is beneficial because the thorough implementation of green strategies is possible. An in-depth analysis of the loopholes and unsustainable ends is a better approach to implementing sustainable changes in the chain. Thus, a startup in its initial stage has far better and faster results than an age-old established company. Changing sources and procurement chains overnight is a highly risky and expensive task. Needless to say, so is changing management and delivery tactics without proper planning.

Moreover, the mainstream market fixated on the four pillars of price, performance, functionality, and convenience for finished products has to evolve its thinking process toward sustainable products. Thus, the only way to approach it is through a benefits-led campaign, which will ensure a change in consumer outlook and consumption behavior. This will, in turn, engage customers to buy slightly high-priced yet eco-friendly products.

The CIO - Watching Over The Fail Safety Of Green-Circular Economy Plans?

The pandemic had overhauled the process of switching from conventional to digital at an alarming pace. The virtual shift comes with an increasing carbon footprint and has ensued a battle to adopt net-zero commitments and strategies. EY (Ernst and Young), a consultation pioneer in its field, has invested time in blockchain technologies to incorporate sounder climate accounting. And despite debating on whether blockchain is the answer, EY believes in the need to tokenize data, i.e., carbon credits in exchange for simple data, and the person responsible for handling data is the CIO.

The CIO (chief information officer) is responsible at multiple levels in the ESG game. The CIOs are responsible for climate accounting. To survive the growing demand amongst investors and regulators for an accountable company strategy, public companies have upped their game with the help of their CIOs. They are involved in tracking all scopes of third-party emissions and creating metrics, partnerships, and mechanisms needed to bring all to a net-zero base. Hence, EY specifically advocates the need for companies' CIOs and their value in drafting and implementing green strategies. People aiming for careers in ESG initiatives should consider working towards making a change as a CIO.

The CIO, who dwells on the link between data assimilation and deliverance, plays a vital role as an ESG champion.

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