The chemical industry’s efforts to become environmentally responsible has taken a bold step forward with the launch of a guideline document on how companies in this sector can calculate and measure their respective carbon footprints. The guide, with the title the ‘˜Responsible Care Guidance Document for the Development of Carbon Footprinting for the South African Chemical Industry’, was launched by the Chemical and Allied Industries’ Association (CAIA) in Johannesburg.
Dr Laurraine Lotter, executive director of CAIA, says with South Africa currently positioned as one of the 20th highest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitters in the world, and the chemical industry accounting for 4.3% of the country’s national Greenhouse Gas Inventory, this guideline is set to bring about positive change for a lowcarbon economy.
“This groundbreaking guideline will help companies that are about to embark on a carbon management strategy as well as those that are looking to improve on their existing measures,’ she explains. To assist first-time companies, the document contains a ‘˜Starting Out’ section for a comprehensive guide on all the factors that need to be considered. “For companies that already have a strategy, we’ve devised a ‘˜Moving Forward’ section that will give additional guidance on how to improve its effectiveness,’ says Lotter.
The Guidance Document is designed to support companies in their move beyond the measurement of direct emissions from their operations – or Scope 1 – to a carbon footprint which includes both direct and indirect emissions (Scope 2 and 3). The Carbon Footprint Guideline contains information on the development of a GHG inventory to facilitate the reporting of greenhouse gas emissions; developing and implementing an effective carbon management strategy and defining, calculating and reporting a ‘˜carbon footprint’.
Through these, companies are able to develop and implement an effective carbon management strategy. The document is based on the methodology adopted by the GHG Protocol’s Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standards for measuring carbon footprints. This was developed by the World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the
2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories. “We are able to offer our members a credible guideline that is based on global best practice standards and information that has been tried and tested by experts,’ says Lotter.
“Companies can adapt this resource to their own circumstances and expect to produce positive results in the long-term and when trading with international companies in countries where it has become necessary for their partners to have implemented such an approach.’ The undertaking made in the Copenhagen Accord by South Africa that a deviation of 34% and 42% from a
business as usual trajectory by 2020 and 2025 respectively, is an ambitious target and one in which the chemical industry will have to play its part. “The national commitment to greenhouse gas reductions made by South Africa makes it imperative for affected sectors like the chemical industry to address its carbon footprint,’ states Lotter. “We will hopefully see more decisive action from the industry to address and alleviate this.’
CAIA is the custodian of the Responsible Care initiative, the global chemical industry’s initiative to continuously improve health, safety and environmental performance in the industry. This carbon footprint document forms part of the Responsible Care Management Practice Standard series for Pollution Prevention and Resource Efficiency. Since 2003, GHG emission data have been collected from Responsible Care signatories for its annual Quantitative Indicators of Performance submissions. However, with the availability of the carbon footprint guideline, CAIA would now like to encourage the industry to take greater responsibility for their actions.
“We look forward to working with the South African chemical industry towards a common goal of a cleaner environment,’ exclaims Lotter. “We hope that South Africa’s industries will follow our lead for a sustainable future.’ The guide also provides calculations allowing transport operators to accurately measure just how much GHGs are generated in the distribution cycle of dangerous goods and chemicals.