Press Release: Report Describes Companies' Efforts To "Inventory" Greenhouse Gas Emissions

For Immediate Release :
August 1, 2000

Contact:  Katie Mandes, 703-516-0606
              Dale Curtis, 202-777-3530

Report Describes Companies' Efforts To "Inventory" Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Voluntary Initiatives Mark First Step Toward Emissions Reductions

Washington, DC - A growing number of companies are launching voluntary efforts to measure and track their greenhouse gas emissions, raising a host of practical questions and presenting opportunities for others to learn from their experiences.

A new report released by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change describes the pioneering work being done by some of the world's leading companies to inventory and report their greenhouse gas emissions. The report, authored by a team from Arthur D. Little, Inc., presents a set of principles for such efforts; describes credible approaches being tried by more than a dozen major companies; identifies key decision points in the process; and lists information resources that are available to companies contemplating such projects.

"In the absence of a comprehensive policy regime, we must encourage voluntary efforts to identify and reduce greenhouse gases," said Eileen Claussen, President of the Pew Center. "Ensuring that such efforts are recognized in the future requires that they be well thought out and documented today. This report is a thorough guide to the choices involved in inventorying greenhouse gas emissions."

Benefits of Emissions Inventories

The trend toward increased corporate reporting of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is driven in part by the companies' recognition that enough is known about climate change to warrant emissions reductions in the near term. An emissions inventory is the first step in that process.

Beyond considerations of environmental concern and good corporate citizenship, companies conducting inventories can also identify ways to enhance their productivity and energy efficiency; improve relationships with key stakeholders; and support the development of flexible, market-oriented policies such as emissions trading. An accurate inventory will also put companies in a better position to count voluntary, near-term emissions reductions toward any future regulatory requirements.

Among the practical issues addressed by the report are:

  • How national-level emissions inventories influence corporate- and facility-level inventories;
  • The specifics of a dozen companies' inventory programs;
  • How companies decide which emissions to count, given complex questions of ownership, direct versus indirect emissions, and more;
  • Questions of accuracy and estimates;
  • Baselines and metrics;
  • The challenges of conducting inventories across international boundaries; and
  • Lessons learned from emissions inventories conducted under the acid rain title of the U.S. Clean Air Act and the U.S. EPA's Toxics Release Inventory program.

The report also describes the efforts of many specific companies, including American Electric Power of Columbus, OH; Air Products of Allentown, PA; Baxter International Inc. of Deerfield, IL; BP of London, England and New York, NY; DuPont of Wilmington, DE; Entergy of New Orleans, LA; ICI of London, England and Bridgewater, NJ; Niagara Mohawk of Syracuse, NY; Shell International of the London, England and Houston, TX; Suncor of Calgary, Canada; Sunoco of Philadelphia, PA; United Technologies Corp. of Hartford, CT; and Whirlpool Corp. of Benton Harbor, MI.

The report also lists 14 respected sources of information that companies may use to get started, including official government guidance, software programs, and guidebooks produced by environmental groups and business associations.

The report was authored by Christopher Loreti, William Wescott and Michael Isenberg of Arthur D. Little, Inc.

First in "Solutions" Series

The inventory report is the first in a new series aimed at identifying practical solutions to the challenges presented by climate change. Other Pew Center series focus on domestic and international policy issues, environmental impacts, and the economics of climate change.

A complete copy of this report - and information on previous reports -- is available on the Pew Center's web site,

The Pew Center was established in May 1998 by the Pew Charitable Trusts, one of the United States' largest philanthropies and an influential voice in efforts to improve the quality of the environment. The Pew Center is conducting studies, launching public education efforts and working with businesses to develop market-oriented solutions to reduce greenhouse gases. The Pew Center is led by Eileen Claussen, the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. The Pew Center includes the Business Environmental Leadership Council, which is composed of 21 major, largely Fortune 500 corporations all working with the Pew Center to address issues related to climate change. The companies do not contribute financially to the Pew Center - it is solely supported by contributions from charitable foundations.