INDUSTRY REDUCING EMISSIONS
AND CUTTING COST
When consumer products manufacturer SC Johnson looked into boosting corporate environmental performance, the company considered a number of factors, including the bottom line. "Many companies do not have a lot of experience in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions so they may view going green to be a daunting, costly endeavor," said Scott Johnson, vice president of environmental and safety actions at SC Johnson. "We knew it was the right thing to do for our business and the environment."
In order to tally up its emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG), the company used the GHG Protocol - an emissions-accounting methodology developed by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. "As a result of taking inventory of our energy use in 2002, SC Johnson has identified new opportunities," said Johnson. "At our Waxdale plant in Racine, Wisconsin, for instance, we will be generating electricity and steam from landfill gas, which we expect will save the company $2.4 million in annual energy costs while cutting GHG emissions from the plant in half."
The company cut GHG emissions globally by more than 7 percent during its first year of reductions, outpacing expectations. By powering factories with wind turbines and other renewable energy sources, SC Johnson plans to reduce emissions an additional 16 percent by 2005.
SC Johnson is not alone in working to save the environment while saving money. A growing number of manufacturing companies, such as DuPont, GM, and BP, are now tracking their greenhouse-gas emissions with the goal of curbing pollution and improving efficiency. Several companies aiming to reduce their emissions have earned 40 to 50 percent returns on energy-saving investments, according to the Center for Energy and Climate Solutions.
While the GHG Protocol provides a roadmap for corporations in the industrial sector to reduce emissions, WRI has now developed a new guide for office-based operations, "Working 9 to 5 on Climate Change." The guide, based on WRI's experiences in pursuing its commitment to reduce emissions in its Washington, DC office to net zero, outlines the steps organizations can take to reduce emissions and save energy in their offices.
The industrial sector produces the largest share of greenhouse-gas emissions in many countries, including the United States. Still, the commercial sector, including office buildings, is responsible for a significant share of pollution. In the United States these buildings account for 19 percent of commercial energy use - 70 percent of that being for electricity.
A number of companies are already taking the lead toward greener buildings. The new 48-story Condé Nast building in New York's Times Square, for instance, saves $500,000 in energy costs each year thanks to energy efficient technologies like compact fluorescent lighting, clean-burning furnaces, roof-top solar cells, and super-insulated windows. The energy savings will pay off the cost of the building's efficiency measures in five years.
In 1997, Kinko's began outfitting new stores with energy-efficient lighting, and retrofitted more than 1,000 existing stores. The company, a member of WRI's Green Power Market Development Group, also buys almost 8 million kilowatt hours a year of green power generated by renewable sources of energy, like wind and solar. "As a result of our physical footprint and the nature of our business, Kinko's has the potential to leave a substantial impact on the environment," said Gary Kusin, Kinko's president and CEO, at the June, 2002 Mid-Atlantic Green Power Workshop. "That means we must do more than our share of the work to leave the world in a better place than when we found it."
In 1999, WRI committed to reducing emissions from its new Washington, DC office to "net zero." Through a series of energy conservation measures the environmental research organization was able to reduce emissions by more than 11 percent by using energy efficient lighting, heating, and air conditioning.
In addition, WRI bought emissions credits - paying for a school in Portland, Oregon to upgrade its aging heating system - to "offset" emissions in 2000. The organization's offset purchase helped the school replace its oil-fired boiler with a more efficient natural gas system.
Written by: Curtis Runyan, World Resources Institute
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