EPA Delves Deeper into Corporate Sustainability Data

Read the full post on the ACS Nexus Blog.

For more than two decades, EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Program has required industrial facilities to disclose both their environmental releases and the measures they’ve taken to keep toxic chemicals out of our air, water, and land.  It was only recently, however, that the TRI Program began promoting this treasure trove of pollution prevention (P2) data as a resource for identifying demonstrably-effective green practices.

More than 10,000 source reduction activities are reported to TRI each year, but can we tell which ones actually reduce releases? A rigorous statistical analysis of all TRI data shows that the average effect is highest for the reporting categories that include raw material (e.g., feedstock chemical) substitution and switches to aqueous cleaners from solvents. And a separate analysis of the pharmaceutical sector indicates that green chemistry practices contributed to dramatic reductions in the early-to-mid 2000s.

But more meaningful insights lie ahead. Beginning with reports due July 1 of this year, facilities will have the opportunity to report the estimated annual reduction associated with each newly implemented P2 activity. This information will shed new light on which types of practices (including six new green chemistry categories added in 2012) are having the biggest impact on companies’ environmental footprints. As always, facilities that implemented green chemistry will also be encouraged to highlight their successes by submitting a more detailed narrative in the optional P2 section of the form (see video).

Scope 2: Changing the Way Companies Think About Electricity Emissions

Read the full story from the World Resources Institute.

Approximately 40 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions come from energy generation, and about half of that energy is consumed by industrial or commercial users. If a fifth of the world’s emissions come from the energy that keeps the world’s businesses running, how does business report those emissions?

ACEEE – SEE Action Webinar: Long-Run Savings and Cost-Effectiveness of Home Energy Reports Programs

Wed, Dec 3, 2014 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM CST
Register at

Home energy report programs have become a cornerstone of many utilities’ energy efficiency portfolios. Millions of utility customers receive these reports, and HER programs typically result in electricity savings of between 1.5 percent and 2.5 percent. Now that utility home energy report programs have begun to mature, we can begin to assess savings over the longer term. Cadmus will report on long-run savings from home energy report programs, examines the persistence of savings after utilities stop sending reports, and determines how persistence of savings affects HER measure-life and cost-effectiveness calculations.

Measuring Up: How to Track and Evaluate Local Sustainability Projects

Tue, Nov 18, 2014 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM CST
Register at

Join this EPA Local Climate and Energy webinar to learn how to measure and evaluate the results of local climate, energy, and sustainability projects.

Measuring, evaluating, and reporting on progress is an important part of local sustainability projects and programs. Tracking and analyzing results can help local entities assess program performance and success, identify specific areas for improvement or expansion, and make informed decisions about future actions. Public reporting can help generate interest in a project, promote accountability, demonstrate success, and attract political and financial support.

You’ll learn about two new federal resources to help you measure, track, and report progress, based directly on the experiences of local governments across the country, and hear from one case study taking place in northwest Washington working to evaluate economic impacts of the program:

• Emma Zinsmeister, EPA Local Climate and Energy Program: Learn about a new methodology outlining the key steps for developing, tracking, analyzing, and reporting on performance indicators for climate and clean energy programs.

• Ted Cochin, EPA Office of Sustainable Communities: This presentation will focus on the Sustainable Community Indicator Catalog, providing information on specific indicators that local entities can use to measure progress toward their sustainability objectives.

• Alex Ramel, Energy and Policy Director, Sustainable Connections: Learn about an on-the-ground effort to measure and evaluate the economic impacts of a community energy efficiency program implemented in Bellingham and other areas of northwest Washington.

Accounting for the Expanding Carbon Shadow From Coal-Burning Plants

Read the full post at Dot Earth.

Steven Davis of the University of California, Irvine, and Robert Socolow of Princeton (best known for his work dividing the climate challenge into carbon “wedges”) have written “Commitment accounting of CO2 emissions,” a valuable new paper in Environmental Research Letters showing the value of shifting from tracking annual emissions of carbon dioxide from power plants to weighing the full amount of carbon dioxide that such plants, burning coal or gas, could emit during their time in service.

Upcoming report tracks P2 results at U.S. public agencies

In this article for GreenBiz, Jeffrey Burke from National Pollution Prevention Roundtable (NPPR) announces the upcoming P2 results report for 2010-2012 findings.

The archives for the P2 Impact column are at

GHG Emissions Changes: Redrawing baselines

Read the full post at Environmental Leader.

Greenhouse gases (GHG) can be measured by recording emissions at source by estimating the amount emitted using active data and applying relevant conversion factors. These conversion factors allow organizations to calculate GHG emissions from a range of activities. Accurate greenhouse gas reporting is a key deliverable of any sustainability software. A significant part of this challenge is to ensure that the appropriate conversion factors are in place and being applied to energy expenditures correctly. With recent changes to how the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) calculate CO2 emissions, the potential exists for companies in the UK to experience significant shifts in both individual emission factors and overall Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions. These changes have been published as part of DEFRA’s greenhouse gas conversion factors for company reporting: methodology paper for emission factors which reviewed the format and content of GHG conversion factors.