For a growing number of companies implementing compliance assistance good environmental policy and encourage legal competition. Gone are the days when the only companies concerned about the environmental laws were heavy producers. Recent developments in the U.S. government and the private sector has opened a new era of corporate sustainability, which comply with environmental regulations is to pass a recommendation for a term for a wide range of businesses. Just as organizations must develop and implement policies in areas such as governance, employment and security, many companies and government agencies now required to track and report on sustainability metrics to ensure legal compliance. In addition, several forward-thinking companies already implementing environmental policies to remain competitive, even if it is not yet a legal requirement.
In-house counsel must be aware of new requirements for corporate sustainability and recommendations to advise organizations how to develop policies to avoid liability and to succeed in the new green economy.
In 2010 began, without a general law or U.S. federal climate legally binding international agreement, regulatory measures and negotiations are ongoing. Despite the failure of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in December in Denmark to produce no emissions of greenhouse gases binding (GHG) reduction laws, nations continue to work towards a global climate treaty . United States, a bipartisan bill sponsored by Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) might be able to bring the parties together and eventually get a new climate in the past right.
Meanwhile, companies can not afford to sit back and wait for the final legislation in this area due to a decree of the federal government with new EPA regulations, the SEC guidelines and existing private sector programs applicable to a wide range of companies and government agencies. All organizations are subject to these new requirements must be integrated into planning and action to ensure compliance.
I. Executive Order 13514
On October 5, 2009, Obama signed a decree 13514, entitled Federal leadership on the environment, energy and economic performance. The act requires all federal agencies to inventory their emissions of greenhouse gases, setting targets to reduce emissions by 2020 and develop a plan to address a wide range of targets to improve sustainability, such as increasing energy efficiency and water, reducing waste, reducing oil consumption of the fleet, to support sustainable communities, developing and maintaining high performance buildings, and using purchasing power to promote Federal organic products and technologies.
Other environmental objectives in the order includes a 30% reduction in fuel consumption of the fleet and 26% increase in water efficiency in 2020, and the recycling of waste and 50% diversion rate in 2015. The requirement to build zero energy network 2030 must also be implemented under control. Each agency must designate a high level of sustainability law and order. The President shall submit a report on the environmental agency and the objective results directly to the President.
As the largest consumer of energy in the U.S. economy, the federal government should lead by example when it comes to creating innovative ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase energy efficiency, save water, reduce waste and use environmentally friendly products and technologies that President Obama said in a statement.
The notice was intended to launch a transition to a clean energy such as legislation on climate change makes its way to Congress, save taxpayers money in the process. The order will have a significant impact on the basis of size of the federal government that employs nearly 500,000 buildings and operates more than 600 000 vehicles.
Another key part of the ‘Executive Order is a green purchasing policy requiring 95% of new contracts and acquisitions at the state level to meet the needs of sustainable development that promotes environmentally friendly products and technologies. This also makes a lot of weight, because the government a huge buying power that exceeds more than $ 500 billion spent each year on goods and services. Executive Order charges the General Services Administration (GSA) examined with the possibility to monitor the supplier total emissions of greenhouse gases. The recommendations could include requiring vendors to register a voluntary register of greenhouse gas emissions and disclose their efforts to reduce emissions. Options or other incentives could be given for products used in production processes to minimize emissions of greenhouse gases.
For the purchase of electronic products and services, the decree requires the GSA to ensure that 95% of the shares of the new contract, work orders and orders to deliver products and services (excluding weapons systems) are energy efficient (ENERGY STAR ® or FEMP-designated), efficient water use biobased, environmentally preferable (electronic tool Product Environmental Assessment (EPEAT) non-certified), the ozone layer, contain recycled products or are non-toxic alternatives or less toxic when such products and services meet the performance requirements of the agencies.
GSA announced in late January 2010 he had already produced agreements with 18 energy service companies to reduce energy consumption through audits, monitoring and use of renewable energy energy.The GSA has also taken steps to make the federal fleet more efficient by purchasing thousands of new cars last year to spend $ 210 million in incentives. Approximately 6500 cars – a mixture of hybrid and flex-fuel four-cylinder – is reserved for the U.S. postal service, which operates the largest fleet of alternative fuel vehicles.In 2008, says GSA acquisition of 15,000 places of power management software would save up to $ 750,000 per year.
Finally, buy all federal incorporate measurement of greenhouse gas emissions as a requirement of the contract. The first step is part of Executive Order 13514, is the creation of a system of voluntary reporting of GHG emissions for contractors and government suppliers. Contractors (and subcontractors) the ability to measure and reduce emissions of greenhouse gas emissions and provide energy efficient products and services will be an important factor in winning government contracts.
II. SEC guidance on disclosure of climate change
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued interpretation No. 33-9106 version February 2, 2010, to advise public companies on the requirements of agency information on climate change. The guide, which took effect immediately, applies to all public companies.
The statement does not create any new disclosure or amend the disclosure requirements in force, but rather, was published for purposes of clarification. Specifically, guidance covers four areas that may trigger disclosure requirements under the current SEC
(1) whether the impact of existing laws or climate change and the proposed regulation in the United States and other countries could materially affect the company’s financial position or operations;
(2) if the international agreement on climate change contracts, or agreements affecting their business;
(3) if a company is likely to deal with indirect threats and opportunities arising from legal, technological, political and scientific climate change (such as changes in demand for its good services, increased competition or damage to reputation ), and
(4) if the company faces a possible physical effects of climate change on its business (such as the interruption caused by power outages or operating time, increased insurance, or the availability and quality) .
SEC states that this information indications of climate change may be required by the description of the company (Article 101), trial (103), the management report and analysis (303), and risk factors (503 (c )) parts of business applications under Regulation SK.
The SEC has noted with concern that some companies have already provided information on climate change voluntarily to others, and wanted to ensure that disclosures have been similar reports from the SEC that may be required by SEC rules. Independent organizations such as the Climate Registry and the Carbon Disclosure Project to keep company data on climate change, while the rules on information from the most dominant are those of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). Launched in 1997 with the aim of improving the quality, rigor and utility of sustainability reporting, GRI is developing criteria that could serve as the basis of generally accepted standards for sustainability reporting. In 2008, more than 1,000 companies in over 60 countries have registered and published in the memoirs of GRI sustainability reporting framework with the company.
The SEC explicitly comments that the management will focus on disclosure of climate change on the review of company presentations. In practice, public companies would do well to treat this guide as required when not disclose climate risks in the past, they need to begin to establish reporting procedures for all deposits with appropriate measures such as a road map.
III. Mandatory rules EPA Greenhouse Gas Reporting
Beginning January 1, 2010, a mandatory EPA standard took effect, requiring that all major emitters of greenhouse gases monitoring and reporting of data on emissions of greenhouse gases under a new system. The new rule applies to industries or facilities that emit more than 25,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year, of which there are currently about 10 000 in most U.S. issuers are required to install monitoring equipment or a new minimum to develop new protocols for measuring emissions. Recognizing that all organizations would be able to meet the January 1, 2010, the State allowed to use the best methods of control available until April 1, 2010.
The institutions also need a written plan for controlling emissions, which should address the methods used to collect gas emissions, provides the procedures for quality assurance, maintenance and repair of equipment for monitoring greenhouse gases, and the functions of the institutional staff to collect data. In addition, the mandates of the rule implementing training procedures for GHG monitoring and documentation in accordance with the maintenance of records. While the facilities are not required to submit their monitoring plans to the EPA, which are required to maintain the plan to install them and make them available if the request for review of the EPA.
The new EPA regulations is just one of many international, federal, provincial and regional pending or already adopted to address emissions of greenhouse gas emissions. While there is still much uncertainty about climate change issues and sustainability are met, it is not a question of whether most companies will eventually be legally obliged to monitor, report and reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases – it is only a matter of when and how.
IV. Private Sector Sustainability Programs
In business, despite the lack of uniform laws and regulations have lived for many years an important part of the momentum of climate change. In October 2009, left large companies, including Apple Gas & Electric Pacific Exelon and the American Chamber of Commerce in its strong position against the U.S. regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. Microsoft co-founder and Chairman Bill Gates recently needed to make climate change our first priority, and recommends a global effort to reduce carbon emissions to zero in 2050 to avoid the adverse effects of climate change.
More companies are launching new efforts voluntarily to reduce their climate impact. A steady increase in the path towards energy efficiency, investments in renewable energy, carbon neutrality, and technological innovation is the opposite of political action on climate change blocked.
Perhaps the most significant event of the capital to cope with climate change and sustainable development is the fact that Wal-Mart, the largest retailer in the world. The company has recently carried out in Wal-Mart Sustainability Index, which assesses all of its suppliers around the world are based on an analysis of the life cycle and environmental impact of their products. More than 100,000 suppliers are now much incentive to increase their sustainability efforts to maintain a successful relationship with Wal-Mart business and remain competitive in the market.
Working closely with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), Wal-Mart also agreed to reduce 20 million tons of carbon pollution of the life cycle of their products and supply chain by the end of 2015. This is equivalent to the annual GHG emissions by 3.8 million cars – a significant impact.
Because of its size, Walmart is uniquely positioned to reduce carbon pollution across the globe. New commitments are bold, because
Wal-Mart’s supply chain is enormous, so these initiatives are generally consequences. New Index of Wal-Mart will encourage suppliers to reduce their emissions – that could not otherwise do – which is a positive effort for energy efficiency, tens of thousands of companies around the world.
Wal-Mart is the priority of the products they create the majority of carbon emissions through their life cycles, and selling products, and focuses on the former.
The results are immediate and not dependent on any particular government agency to act, or special laws or rules that may be challenged or changed.
Together Sustainability Index and other measures, it clearly communicates a strong message to Wal-Mart’s international network of suppliers who need to reduce carbon pollution.
Other global companies must take bold action in the field of sustainability and climate change include Hewlett Packard, IBM, Ikea, Johnson & Johnson, Nike, Intel, Dell and Weyerhaeuser. Given the hundreds of thousands of employees, suppliers and customers around the world, these companies have the ability to be influential in the development of green business practices.
Between the federal government with more than half trillion dollar budget to purchase the many companies that climate change SEC disclosure rules Andor EPA requirements for monitoring emissions, and programs of the private sector as the index of Walmart effect Guaranteed preference to suppliers that are implementing sustainable practices, businesses and organizations of all sizes in virtually all industries, will soon face the need to increase sustainability efforts.
Moreover, these developments show that the objectives of sustainability, once an option, will soon be mandatory in public and private sectors. In addition to legal compliance requirements, from the standpoint of the business policy of sustainable development now provides a competitive advantage in the market and reduces costs.
V. Development of a sustainable compliance program
Companies should therefore consider carefully the legal threats and opportunities for growth presented by sustainable development initiatives. This requires the evaluation of qualitative and quantitative information, as well as policy issues and levels of corporate issuance guide the identification of climate change related risks and opportunities. For example, some issues of which the SEC guidance, such as legal, technical, scientific and political developments can change the competitive market by creating new areas of business or the threat of the past, which led to the need for disclosure management reporting and business analysis.
Depending on the sector of activity and the operating companies should consider some or all of the following actions, whose aim is to make sustainability a part of culture
Create a point of reference for the environmental performance of your organization. This is a key step in setting goals and developing a sustainable development program.
If your company produces or provides products, assess the impacts of the life cycle of products. This can be completed or outsourcing of a cycle assessment (LCA). The LCA is a valuable tool to help make the necessary changes in the product or service and reduce environmental impacts and overall costs.
Hire or appoint an agent of corporate sustainability. Federal agencies are required to perform this job function, and warned private firms that do the same. A warning, if you appoint an agent for sustainability, with little experience in this area that should receive the training or consulting services of an agency with experience and credibility (for example, the Institute of Professional Green).
Establish cross-functional teams to develop sustainable programs for the organization. Pulling data comparison data should be used to help teams to set realistic and achievable goals.
Insert the first goal of sustainable development that will lead to immediate success as waste reduction and recycling. This will create the momentum for the program and generate savings that can reach out to the most difficult and long term.
It offers training courses for those who need strength in your organization as it relates to their specific tasks.
Communicate information related to sustainable development program for your shareholders, employees, customers and suppliers.
There are a number of systems available to help businesses assess their climate risk and opportunities, quantitative data to calculate their emissions, to inform them about the risk of potential costs of regulation, and highlight the potential benefits such as profits from the sale of carbon credits and potential energy savings. Participation in a voluntary reporting program as the Climate Registry and the Carbon Disclosure Project is a way businesses can begin to gather information about their carbon footprint and gain a better idea of where the show takes place in their operations. Companies may also be able to use the information they collect for these programs to help generate other outcomes, including 10K applications.
The Carbon Disclosure Project questionnaire, or the GRI reporting system that can be used internally by the framework to begin to assess what elements of their business to create a climate change risks and opportunities.
Companies can expect to see carbon management increase in importance as the activities of national and international regulations continues in 2010. Along with this trend, the number of products and services designed to help organizations measure and manage their environmental impact will grow, from start-up offers more sophisticated solutions from leading companies such as SAP, IBM and Microsoft. Enterprise software carbon accounting and sustainability consulting services sales will increase as companies seek detailed and real-time information on the effects of climate.
In addition, companies can help in respect of sustainability by organizations that have formed to share environmental technology and solutions. Eco-Patent Commons, launched in 2008 by IBM, Nokia, Pitney Bowes and Sony in collaboration with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development to help the environment of patents in the public domain. Organization Mission is to protect the environment and to enable cooperation between the companies promoting new innovations. There are now 100 eco-patents pledged to the public arena through this adventure.
The GreenXchange was created to allow companies to share intellectual property for ecological product design, manufacturing, packaging and other uses. Founded by Nike and other companies, the group is a web-based marketplace where organizations can collaborate and share intellectual property with the aim of developing new business models for sustainability and innovation.
Last year, EDF has launched an Innovation Exchange to encourage companies to share strategies related to energy, water, climate and a host of other issues. As Eco-Patent Commons GreenXchange and, he hopes to publish the new technologies and best practices. EDF content included in the Innovation Exchange, it has evolved over its 20 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies, including Wal-Mart, FedEx and McDonald’s.
Business advice should be familiar with the implementation of new sustainable business initiatives undertaken by several of the world’s largest companies, as well as tools and resources available to help companies develop their own environmental policies and procedures. Soon, legal services are regularly called to board in the manner of handling current and future mandatory requirements of corporate sustainability, which will not only help avoid responsibility for their companies, but also improve their business and reduce environmental impact .Tags: corporate sustainability, global climate treaty, greenhouse gases, private sector programs, senator john kerry