As hotel companies seek in good faith to determine and report their carbon footprints, often in response to stakeholder requests, the issue of materiality arises, in which the hotel firm must determine what factors are important to greenhouse emissions and which are negligible in terms of emissions. The guidance from existing sources on this question is complex and can be contradictory. In addition to examining the boundaries of materiality, this report presents a materiality analysis of two sources of hotel greenhouse gases, fugitive coolant emissions and mobile fuels. Based on data from 154 hotels in 25 countries, neither source appears to be material for most hotels, since neither exceeds the commonly used cut-off point of 5 percent of total emissions. While the circumstances of a particular hotel might render one of these sources material, they do not seem to merit the industry’s attention for constant measurement.
Category Archives: Measurement
Using the scoring methodology of the 2013 City Energy Efficiency Scorecard, the downloadable Self-Scoring Tool gives you the ability to score the energy efficiency efforts of your community and compare it against its peers. By answering a series of questions, you’ll obtain a numerical score indicative of your community’s progress toward enacting and implementing sound energy programs and policies. In addition to the score, the tool also allows for analysis of the score through:
- A comparison to other communities’ scores to put numerical scores in perspective and introduce your community to innovative energy practices that have been implemented and successful in other communities
- A customized assessment indicating where your community is doing well when it comes to energy efficiency, where your community can improve, and specific metrics for your community to target for improvement
- Aggregation of scores by policy type to provide a flexible framework through which communities in different stages of energy policy implementation can view their progress
And who can use this tool, you might wonder? Anyone interested in knowing how energy efficient their community is—from the local policymaker to the informed citizen.
The Building Technologies Office (BTO) has issued a request for information (RFI) seeking feedback from industry, academia, research laboratories, government agencies, and other interested stakeholders for the Prioritization Tool. BTO seeks comments and information related to the Prioritization Tool that improves the tool’s accuracy and applicability for technology planning within BTO. Specifically, this notice solicits comments and information on data, assumptions and outputs of various energy efficiency technologies and activities analyzed by the Prioritization Tool. Currently, the tool contains data on over 500 energy efficiency measures along with their markets. It has the capability to perform extensive analyses using established methodology for calculating energy savings potential and the costs of conserved energy associated with each measure.
BTO developed the Prioritization Tool to improve its programmatic decision-making. The tool provides an objective framework for most energy-saving measures and scenarios, as well as methodology, comparing long-term benefits and end-user costs applied to various markets, end-uses, and lifetimes.
For details, see the RFI announcement DE-FOA-0001024 or e-mail questions about the RFI to BTO_P_Tool_RFI@go.doe.gov. Responses must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. EDT on December 24, 2013.
The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.
With the launch of STARS 2.0, AASHE is excited to announce different levels of access that will dramatically improve the ease of campus sustainability reporting worldwide. These levels of access are based on participant feedback, and will allow institutions to report and share their campus sustainability data.
Read the full story in GreenBiz.
Today, a company called Climate Earth is unveiling software that lets companies assess their natural capital impacts at a pretty granular level. It represents a major step forward in enabling companies to measure and manage the impacts of their operations and supply chains.
The Natural Capital Management System is a cloud-based software system that allows a company to map its organizational structure and accounting systems to a database of natural capital costs — that is, the financial value of a company’s depletion of nonrenewable resources, and its emissions into the air, water and soil.
Thu, Nov 7, 2013 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM CST
Register at https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/456505874
After convening for the first time during a May conference in Boston, a smaller group of colleagues who run Green Business Engagement Programs across the Country has formed a national network to work jointly on issues of shared interest. A Better City, a Boston-based non-profit membership business association, and ICLEI, a non-profit membership municipality organization, are co-facilitating this group of National Green Business Engagement programs and are holding the first in a series of National Green Business “How-to” Webinars. The first one hosted by WSPPN is ‘Green Business Data Tracking Systems: the End to the Excel Nightmare’.
Donna Walden will introduce WSPPN and the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange (P2Rx).
David Straus and Mihir Parikh (A Better City, Boston) will introduce the National Green Business Task Force and ABC/ICLEI, and give a summary of known programs and survey results.
- System 1: Energy Stewards® web platform is an efficient tool that successfully supports a range of project portfolios, engaging businesses, medical facilities, religious congregations, schools and units of government to take action to reduce financial and environmental costs. Warren Gaskill will review its development, in what circumstances it can be used successfully, and its key features.
- System 2: Jo Fleming will present on a web-based tool funded and created by the State of California and several local jurisdictions within to track and measure Green Business Program efforts. It includes decades of checklist and metric development by several state and local environmental professionals.
- System 3: Caroline Teng will present an overview of available ICLEI web-based tools that allow communities to easily administer their green business engagement programs, track data, and launch a friendly competition to encourage resource efficiency. Included will be case studies illustrating best practices from local governments.
Read the full story from Environmental Leader.
A group of farmers, food companies and others — members include Walmart, Del Monte Foods, Campbell Soup, United Fresh Produce Association and Western Growers — today launched measurement tools to support sustainable agriculture efforts across the specialty crops supply chain.
The Stewardship Index for Specialty Crop’s (SISC) five working metrics, developed through collaboration among growers, buyers and public interest groups, are intended to provide a science-based yardstick for assessing on-farm performance across key areas impacted by the production of fruits, vegetables and nuts, SISC says.
The initial suite of metrics (designated “working” because SISC says they will be continually refined) are: applied water use efficiency, energy use, nitrogen use, phosphorus use and soil organic matter. Metric overviews are available at SISC’s website. A demonstration metric calculator will go live in mid October.
STARS 2.0 is the result of feedback from STARS Participants and the larger AASHE community about how the process can be most valuable to participating institutions. The summary of changes is available here.
STARS is a sustainability framework that allows higher education institutions to:
- measure an institution’s sustainability performance
- learn from other institutions of similar types and demographics
- create a baseline for continuous improvement
- foster cross-campus collaboration and buy-in for sustainability efforts
- celebrate and gain recognition for sustainability wins and innovations
Read the full story at Environmental Leader.
The Carbon Trust and the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) have launched a spreadsheet tool to help UK companies estimate the carbon footprint of tablet medicines in blister packs.
The tool, which the organizations say is a first of its kind for the pharmaceutical sector, was funded by the ABPI, AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Janssen (J&J), Eli Lilly and Pfizer.
Read the full post at GreenBiz.
Editor’s note: This is the sixth in a multi-part series that examines the pitfalls of sustainability measurements while drawing on lessons learned from outside the business world. For additional context, see Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV and Part V.
In Part V of this series, we talked about paradigm shifts as the most powerful way to change a system. This came to mind when something extraordinary happened in early August to the American economy. Overnight, it grew by more than half a trillion dollars. The actual news here is that the Bureau of Economic Analysis added new categories to the definition of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). But the bigger story, as this New York Times op-ed points out, is that this change “raises important questions about what we consider economic value and costs, and what we leave out. [Emphasis added]“
The editors called out the GDP’s lack of natural accounting: “The failure to account for environmental degradation is a serious shortcoming of our measurement system.” They also touch on the GDP’s silence regarding human capital, which Robert F. Kennedy described as “that which makes life worthwhile” in this stirring 1968 speech.
So why do we bring this up? We raise it not for the news story itself, but as a model for a potential paradigm shift for metrics in the sustainable business world. The U.S. government now thinks of intellectual property — clearly a non-tangible asset — as an investment for future earnings. That shows a rare leap in thinking, beyond a traditional mindset. Which raises the question: What else now becomes more feasible? Could we next see national accounting deducting for similarly intangible ecosystem services — such as a clear-cut forest’s lost ability to sequester carbon?