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Analysis of ABNT Sustainability Programs - GHG Inventory Verification, Carbon Footprint or Ecolabel – Which Tool Choose?

Publicado em 15/07/2016

GHG Inventory Verification, Carbon Footprint or Ecolabel –Which Tool Choose?

It is know that sustainability is a very important theme nowadays. far beyond being a differential, the thematic is already incorporated within business strategy  and survival for  the companies of the most different sectors, locals, sizes and activities. But how an organization can act in managing the reduction of their environmental and social impacts, acting in a transparent way, increasing the reliability to the consumer and improving the company image? How to work in a way to influence yours providers to follow the same pathin the different point enclosed?

ABNT sustainable programs are different tools that a company can use to get  your business, activity and/or product be more sustainable. All programs have the credibility of having the action of an independent third part entity.  All programs aims communicate the stakeholders the actions toward sustainability that are being made within organization

On different programs an seals available, what is the most appropriate for your company? 

GHG inventory verification

The greenhouse gas inventory is a tool for quantifying greenhouse gas emissionsof an organization. With the information obtained in this report, is possible to accomplish actions to improve the management. The differentiation in the market is obtained through the verification of this inventory, which provides the reliability in the provided information.  

This tool is recommended to companies that are in an initial level of Sustainability Policy, and for large organizations that have incorporated in their  businesses goals the reduction of GHG emissions, in an organizational level.

It is important to know and management the supplier chain, seeking smaller emissions in the entire chain. The GHG inventory verification allows as well the opening of news business through the insertion of the organization in the carbon market.

Carbon Footprint of a Product

The product carbon footprint refers to emissions directly associated to a product or service. For finals products, ready to exercise its final function , that includes all the life cycle, from  the extraction of raw materials, and fabrication,  to distribution, use and final reuse, recycling or decomposition (an approach known as ‘from cradle to grave’). For the intermediate products, which are used to create final products, the evaluation also initiated with the raw materials extractions, but  goes up  to the point at which the product ceases to be part of the organizational control in question (an approach known as ‘from cradle to gate’).

This program will help the companies to gain knowledge about the impacts of its products, identify areas to implement efficiencies that reduce their production cost and to reduce the risks assigned to input availability. At the same time, the companies gain a way to communicate the environmental advantages of their products with international credibility through our new carbon footprint ecolabel, highlighting the competitive advantages of their products inside and outside  Brazil. It is a highlight to the companies, mainly, focused on exporting their products.

ABNT Ecolabel

The ABNT Ecolabel program was developed to support a continuous effort to improve and/or maintain the environmental quality through the reduction of the energy and materials consumption, as well as the minimization of pollutions impacts generated by production, use and disposal of products and services.

This is a voluntary third part program, based on multiples criteria, that’s indicate the environmental preference of a product in relation to its competitors based on life cycle considerations, since de raw materials extraction until the production, use and final dispose. The general categories of the environmental impacts to consider in this program are more general and include the resource depletion, the human health and the ecological consequences, among others.  

Similarities and differences

- Carbon footprint vs ABNT Ecolabel

The Carbon footprint and the ABNT Ecolabel generate both an Ecolabel. However, the first program is geared for quantification of only one aspect, which are GHG emission throughout the product life cycle (that can be from cradle to gate or from cradle to grave In the case of the eco-label are taken into account more general criteria like effluent emissions, generation of waste, natural resources consumption, socials aspects, therefore limits are established to the negative impacts of different substances, process and activities.

- GHG Inventories Verification vs Carbon Footprint

The main difference between the GHG Inventory Verification and Product Carbon Footprint is that the first one is focused on the organization, while the second program is focused on the product. A GHG inventory reports all the emission sources of an organization, both the administrative part as the productive part; however the carbon footprint includes all the emission inside the product life cycle. Besides, the Inventory Verification generates a Declaration of Verification, while the Carbon Footprint generates a Ecolabel.

Recommendations

For organizations that do not know what is the best way to begin the process of communication process of its sustainable actions, we give the following path:

  1. It is interesting for  organizations that are in  early stages of Sustainable Policy that the first step be the organizational GHG quantification, i.e., perform and verify the GHG inventory
    1. Initially, this quantification shall take into account the obligatory scopes determined by the Brazilian GHG Protocol Program, that is, the Scopes 1 and 2.
    2. In a second moment, it is recommended that, the quantification also covers the Scope 3, that is not obligatory, but it provides important information to improve de supplier chain management.
  2. For more advanced organizations in Sustainable Policy, besides the realization and the verification of the GHG Inventory, it becomes interesting the realization of the Product Carbon Footprint. This is because the quantification and verification of the Scope 3 of the GHG inventory complements the realization of the Carbon Footprint of a product.

What is the Market requiring?

As the Brazil assumed, internationally, to reduce its GHG emissions, some states already possess a Policy and targets for reduction of emissions. What have been observed is that the laws are starting to incorporate the GHG inventory as a necessary document for  renovate the Environmental License. For now, this obligation is restrict to some economic sector, and  already happens in some states such as, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Pernambuco, Mato Grosso and Paraná. However the expected is that this will be obligatory in all Brazil and will be enlarged to others economic sectors.

The Carbon Footprint measurement, initially, is being an important differential for products, mainly in the international market. This is because the Brazilian energetic matrix possess advantages when compared to others countries (smaller emissions of GHG, because of the hydroelectric energy has great importance in the energetic matrix of the country).

The Ecolabel, for being a labeling that takes into account multiples criteria, is now required in different process of sustainable public procurements. How it is determined by Brazilian Law nº 8.666, the public procurements shall take into account not only the best price, but also the most advantageous propose, which comprises social and environmental aspects. The Ecolabel enters as a tool to assist the public sector in the choices of the most sustainable proposals.

Conclusion

Perform sustainable actions are fundamental to the survivor of the business nowadays. So important than accomplish these actions, is spread these actions in a correct form, with transparence and with credibility of this information.  The acting of a third part entity, such as ABNT, guarantee to the interested parts that the information is reliable. For this reason, the ABNT is working to help organizations with different size, kind and sectors to communicate its sustainable actions. 

Please contact us; we can indicate the most appropriate program to your purpose and current status.

 

 

Sources:

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http://blog.enciclo.com.br/contabilizar-emissoes-de-gases-de-efeito-estufa-da-organizacao-ou-dos-produtos-entenda-diferencas/ 

  1. EMPRESAS BRASILEIRAS AGORA CONTAM COM UMA PEGADA DE PESO. Exame. De 06 de abril de 2016. Disponível em:

http://exame.abril.com.br/negocios/noticias/empresas-brasileiras-agora-contam-com-uma-pegada-de-peso

  1. LCA, ECOLABELLING AND CARBON FOOTPRINT AS PRODUCT ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT TOOL (P.E.A.T) IN MALAYSIAN PERSPECTIVE. Chai Tew Ang and Norhashimah Morad. World Applied Sciences Journal 24 (9): 1261-1270, 2013.
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http://www.abntonline.com.br/sustentabilidade/(S(lb0ptopzgsga5mdpgvlheglj))//Noticia?id=59