Thursday, 21 March 2013


DG Environment has worked together with the European Commission's Joint Research Centre and other European Commission services towards the development of a harmonised methodology for the calculation of the environmental footprint of products (including carbon).

This methodology has been developed building on the International Reference Life Cycle Data System Handbookas well as other existing methodological standards and guidance documents (ISO 14040-44, PAS 2050, BP X30,WRI/WBCSD GHG protocol, Sustainability Consortium, ISO 14025, Ecological Footprint, etc).

To accurately measure a company’s environmental footprint, it’s important to look at the impact that company’s products have on the planet. Other companies continue to report only the carbon footprint of their facilities. But huge technology companies like Apple, Samsung, or Sony use a comprehensive life cycle analysis approach to determine where their greenhouse gas emissions come from. That means adding up the emissions generated from the manufacturing, transportation, use, and recycling of their products, as well as the emissions generated by their facilities.

We know that about 98 percent of Apple’s carbon footprint is directly related to their products. The remaining 2 percent is related to their facilities, including their data centres.

Given this fact, we know that the most important thing they can do to reduce our impact on the environment is to improve their products’ environmental performance.

Day by day they design them to use less material, ship with smaller packaging, be free of many toxic substances, and be as energy efficient and recyclable as possible.

So as big companies continue to grow faster than the rest of the industry, they are doing it with products that are friendlier to the environment than ever, remaining committed to creating products that have the least amount of impact on the environment.

For the particular case of Apple, its revenue has grown, their greenhouse gas emissions per dollar of revenue have decreased by 21.5 percent since 2008. And they are still the only company in tech industry whose entire product line not only meets but exceeds the strict energy guidelines of the ENERGY STAR specification.

On the other hand, Samsung has reduced greenhouse gas emissions at manufacturing facilities by 31% since 2008, and aim to cut them by another 4.37 million tons by 2013, the equivalent of taking 794,500 cars off the road. As a member in the EPA's Green Power Partnership, they employ renewable energy in places like their wind-powered semiconductor facility in Austin, Texas or our solar-powered lab in Los Angeles, which is also equipped with electric-vehicle charging ports. They encourage partners and suppliers to reduce their environmental impact too, through their Eco-Partner Certification Program.

Based on careful consideration of the life cycles of the Sony Group's business activities, Sony has established its own unique set of environmental indicators. These indicators-greenhouse gas emissions and resource use-are used to determine the environmental impact of the total life cycles of the Sony Group's business activities, products and services, to the maximum possible extent. The indicators are also used to monitor Sony's performance in relation to individual targets set for the reduction of environmental impact throughout life cycles. To determine whether the values of these two indicators are effective against the Sony Group's business size, the Group uses the eco-efficiency equation below. In Green Management 2015, which lays down environmental targets through fiscal year 2015, Sony has set targets for these indicators.

The international debt crisis that has roiled world markets in recent years has challenged long-held assumptions of how to best measure a country’s wealth and gage its economic stability.

Monitoring social and economic variables alone, a growing number of investors now understand, is no longer enough to understand nations’ competitiveness. In a resource-constrained world, a critical component of economic success will be through careful biocapacitymanagement. But until now there has been no methodology that enables credit rating agencies, investors and financial information providers to integrate such ecological data in their respective risk models.

In October 2011, Global Footprint Network launched a two-year project with the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative and leading financial institutions to investigate the links between ecological and financial risks at the country level, and introduce more ecologically informed risk analysis into the market.

On November 19, 2012, the key findings of the E-RISC: A New Angle on Sovereign Credit Risk report were unveiled at an interactive event hosted byBloomberg in London. The report found that a ten percent variation in commodity prices can lead to changes in a country’s trade balance equivalent to 0.5 percent of GDP. Further, a ten per cent reduction in the productive capacity of soils and freshwater areas alone could lead to a reduction in trade balance equivalent to over 4 per cent of GDP.

Bloomberg will also now be offering Global Footprint Network’s country-level natural resource risk data (National Footprint Accounts) on all its terminals. The data will help users integrate natural resource risk into sovereign debt, economic growth and company valuation models.

Through Ecological Footprint resource accounting and other analyses, Global Footprint Network and its partners can measure a nation’s true assets and deficits—the wealth and vulnerabilities that are not currently included in credit risk models and government bond ratings. This is data that’s critically important to the finance industry.

This ground-breaking project substantiates the business case for financial institutions and ratings agencies to include ecological criteria as a key component of country risk analysis. The E-RISC report fills a methodology gap by exploring to what extent resource and ecological risks can impact a nation’s economy and how these factors affect a nation’s ability to pay its debts.

— Source: Apple UK, Samsung UK, Sony Global, Footprint Network, European Commission.


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