Your Carbon Footprint: One Size Does Not Fit All

April 15, 2010
Todd D. Kantorczyk and Michael C. Nines
The Legal Intelligencer

Earlier this year, Walmart announced with much fanfare its goal to eliminate 20 million metric tons of greenhouse gas, or GHG, emissions from its global supply chain. Other companies, including some of the area's major pharmaceutical and manufacturing concerns, have chosen to join voluntary GHG emissions reporting programs that require participants to reduce their GHG emissions over time. And more and more companies are taking steps to disclose their "carbon footprint" as part of a larger green branding push.

These and other similar efforts necessarily require companies to conduct a GHG emissions inventory to measure over time the amount of GHG emissions attributable to their operations. It may be tempting for companies to view this GHG inventory as a simple process of gathering data and crunching numbers using off-the-shelf solutions. Such an approach, however, could lead to results that adversely affect the business goals that a company wished to achieve through the GHG inventory process. This article first generally describes how GHG inventories are performed, noting some important open issues, and then discusses some of the important legal and strategic considerations that should be analyzed before and throughout the GHG inventory process.

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