Granular disclosure of GHG emissions for a company’s products & services coming soon?
So, what are the GHG emissions for a mega roll of Charmin Ultra Soft toilet paper? If you guessed 771 grams, you’d be right…or, at least, according to this article in the WSJ, you’d be consistent with the calculations of its carbon footprint made by the Natural Resources Defense Council. By comparison, a liter of Coke emits 346 grams from farm to supermarket, as calculated by the company. That’s the kind of calculation that many public companies may all need to be doing in a few years, depending on the requirements of the SEC’s expected rulemaking on climate.
Of course, many companies are already doing those calculations and including them in their sustainability reports. But they generally have discretion in deciding what to include. A mandate from the SEC could be something else entirely. The WSJ calls it “the biggest potential expansion in corporate disclosure since the creation of the Depression-era rules over financial disclosures that underpin modern corporate statements. Already it has kicked off a confusing melee as companies, regulators and environmentalists argue over the proper way to account for carbon.”
And here’s an excerpt from the body of Cydney’s blog:
And, although many companies issue sustainability reports, there is enormous variation in the quality and breadth of reporting by companies—not to mention some greenwashing and virtue-signaling. Not all companies provide climate-related quantitative data, such as GHG emissions, and even that is rarely audited. Some companies disclose emissions for one or two products, but not the whole company, or based on general data, not specific to the company.
For example, the WSJ reports, “the Natural Resources Defense Council used a calculator from a green advocacy group called the Environmental Paper Network….A spokesman for the Environmental Paper Network said its calculator, which uses industry averages, is ‘a science-based, trusted, independent tool.’” Similarly, according to the WSJ, companies vary widely in how they calculate emissions from employee business travel; some consider air travel only; some include air and rail travel; some also include car travel.