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Home > By DEPARTMENTS > Leadership and Governance for Sustainability > Change Management at Governance Level

Getting Started with Carbon Management Strategy

Five steps to corporate carbon management for compliance, market penetration and business efficiency.

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Simply speaking, a carbon footprint is the calculation of an individual’s or organization’s unique environmental impact through their carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions. Measuring and then minimizing our carbon footprint is becoming a necessary objective rather than an idealistic goal.

Why Corporate Directors and Managers Act on Carbon Management Straegy

Evidence suggests that adopting climate change practices makes excellent commercial sense for any industry. As well as complying with legislation, a reduced carbon footprint can be beneficial in the following ways:

  • Eliminate unnecessary costs
  • Streamline operations
  • Improve asset utilization
  • Support great marketing collateral
  • Make a less negative impact on the globe
  • stabalize industry conditions for raw materials, transportation, etc.
Over the long term, three main drivers can be identified – regulatory compliance, consumer demand and business benefits.

How to Manage Your Carbon Strategy

EMISSIONS: Carbon management is about understanding how and where an organization’s activities generate greenhouse gas emissions, in order to then minimize these emissions in an ongoing and financially sustainable way. It extends from both internal activities to the consumption of an organization’s products, and ultimately is about incorporating an understanding of carbon data into strategic corporate decision making.

RAW MATERIALS: Raw carbon materials include petroleum and coal from ancient animal and plant materials; and today's supply of plant life, animals, insects and biospheres that support life.

For almost all companies, the idea of carbon management and the need to deal with their organization's carbon footprint is fairly new and directors, leaders and line managers are not sure where to begin managing their carbon infrastructure.

Step by Step Approach to Carbon Management

The Carbon Management Maturity Model provides a set of guidelines for organizations to determine where they are positioned in terms of their environmental strategy – and the longterm path that optimizes financially sustainable carbon management practices.

Step One – The Basics

Internal focus on basic operations to reduce energy consumption and waste, starts with the basics of re-educating employees about the importance of carbon management strategies and how their choices and behaviors impact the system upon which the organization is built.

Step Two – Company Level

Corporate level carbon footprint measurement is based on international standards (i.e., ISO, AGO workbook, GHG protocol, DEFRA). It involves measuring the carbon footprint of business operations and implementing a reduction strategy around internal manufacturing, transportation and product development improvements.

Step Three – Process Level

The extension and automation of an organization’s carbon management so it can monitor live carbon footprint measurements through both internal and external processes across the supply chain, for example the transportation of goods.

Step Four – Product Level

This step looks at carbon emissions across the supply chain from raw material origin to consumption and end of life disposal or reclamation. This enables end users/consumers to be informed of the carbon footprint products they purchase.

Step Five – Optimized Level

The last stage follows gathering the information and solutions required to optimize trade-offs between cost, time and carbon. Optimization integrates carbon and financial data in corporate decision making in order to drive financially and environmentally sustainable business value improvements.

Understanding and identifying the various elements of an organization’s carbon footprint enables the redesign of supply chains and the development of eco-friendly market niches.

Through a systematic and staged approach, organizations can develop long-term strategies for financially sustainable carbon management that replaces waste- and pollutant-riddled systems in organizations to re-engineer their operating systems to minimize their complete, lifespan carbon footprint.

It is often difficult to prioritize systems and processes that do not affect the bottom line, but compliance, marketplace demand and business savings help prioritize this critical cost of doing business and sustaining the goose that lays the golden egg!


Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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