Assessment of environmental impact is an important component of an effective environmental strategy. In a marketplace increasingly focused on how to reduce or limit the generation of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), companies must heed the call from stakeholders, non-governmental organizations, policymakers and the media to assess their carbon footprint.
Pitney Bowes is taking a leadership approach in calculating its carbon emissions using the World Resources Institute (WRI) methodology. The company follows the guidance outlined in WRI's Green House Gas Protocol: Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard (the "GHG Protocol") to identify, analyze and measure the direct and indirect emissions within its operations that generate greenhouse gas emissions.
Our company aims to establish 2007 as the base year for carbon emissions reporting purposes. The company's 2007 Carbon Management Report includes emissions from two scope areas: direct emissions from the consumption of fuel and indirect emissions from the consumption of electricity. Although we have not included "other indirect emissions" as defined as optional under Scope 3 emissions in the WRI Protocol, we are currently investigating several of our products, services and employee tasks to determine how to quantify these activities for inclusion in future reporting.
The GHG Protocol includes this category in the existing GHG Protocol, but further guidance and standardization is necessary before it is an established third standard or scope area. In fact, according to the WRI Web site, Derik Broekhoff, a WRI Senior Associate said, "techniques for quantifying emissions associated with certain elements of the supply chain are still evolving. It's a question of where to set the boundaries for Scope 3 reporting as much as anything else."
We understands the importance of calculating the indirect emissions of its supply chain. The company is working toward the establishment of a new supplier code of conduct, which would offer an effective framework in identifying environmental standards and guidelines for its suppliers.
The design stage is also an important area of consideration for companies aiming to reduce environmental impact. We have established guidelines on reducing environmental impact from the start of a product's life, to the end of life. The company's product designers use a scorecard that helps identify product attributes that protect the environment. We also uses Life Cycle Analysis processes and assessments to better understand the environmental impact of its products and customer applications and needs.
In addition to designing products with the environment in mind, we take a comprehensive approach to managing its greenhouse gas emissions. For example, the company established an energy task force in 2005 to identify ways to minimize energy use and cost. With the help of this task force, we have completed several projects within the past year that resulted in substantial reductions in energy consumption. We have also participated in the US EPA's WasteWise recycling program for more than ten years and was inducted into the WasteWise Hall of Fame in 2007. These are just two examples of the company's leading environmental initiatives.
Quantifying its carbon footprint is a critical step in helping us identify, analyze and control processes within its operations that are responsible for generating GHG emissions. In addition, these actions will help direct the company's sustainability efforts and will result in the continued refinement of our environmental projects and goals.
John Thaler is Director, Environment Health & Safety Process Excellence, Pitney Bowes Inc. Pitney Bowes is a mailstream technology company that helps organizations manage the flow of information, mail, documents and packages. www.pb.com.