Black & Veatch Carbon Footprint

Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Voluntary Reporting in the Private Sector

This article will discuss current activities in voluntary GHG reporting.  Voluntary GHG Reporting is being undertaken by organizations throughout the U.S. that are not required to monitor or report their greenhouse gas emissions.  The intent of this article is to provide an overview: who is participating in voluntary reporting, why are they doing it, what are the best practices, and what is Black & Veatch doing in this domain?

Who are the Leading Companies?

A list of 2015 US EPA Climate Leadership Award Winners can be accessed online.[1]  A short list of selected award winners is presented here: Bank of America, City of Bridgeport Connecticut, City of San Francisco, DPR Construction, SC Johnson, Sprint, UPS, Brown-Forman Corporation, California Department of Water Resources, Capital One Financial Corporation, CH2M HILL, The Clorox Company, EMC Corporation, The Hartford, Tiffany & Co., Chevrolet Clean Energy Campus Campaign, San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative.

There are many categories of awards, from excellence in setting targets, to excellence in meeting targets, to individual and organizational leadership.

Another listing of companies taking voluntary action on climate change can be found in the listing of participants in the “We Mean Business” coalition.[2] The coalition’s corporate advisory board includes representatives from Ikea, Bank of America, Nike, Unilever, Starbucks, and HP among others.

How Are the Leading Corporate GHG Reporters Identified?

There are many systems through which corporations can voluntarily report and publicly disclose their corporate greenhouse gas emissions.  Example reporting entities include the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), The Climate Registry, EPA Climate Leaders program. For public companies, CDP score can be easily accessed online.  For example, see the Google finance page for Bank of America.  In the section called “Key Stats and Ratios,” the company’s CDP score is listed alongside Net profit margin, Operating margin, EBITD margin, Return on average assets, Return on average equity, and Number of Employees. Further documentation regarding how this score is calculated can be found on CDP’s website.[3]

Drivers: Why Are Leading Organizations Participating in Voluntary Reporting?

Many organizations see greenhouse gas emissions, and potential regulatory changes addressing these emissions, as an opportunity for risk management, and an area ripe with potential business opportunities as well.

How Do These Corporations Stack Up Against Each Other?

A benhmarking exercise performed in 2011 is shown below, comparing Black & Veatch per-employee emissions to those of peer companies.  More updated versions of the chart below are currently in progress.


How Black & Veatch Is Involved

Some of the EPA Climate Leaders are Black & Veatch Clients (City of San Francisco, California Department of Water).  Some of the EPA Climate Leaders are Black & Veatch competitors (CH2MHill).

Black & Veatch work products have contributed directly to GHG reductions for many organizations. Several examples are provided below:

  • Stanford University: Renewable Energy Planning and Procurement[4]

o   Black & Veatch managed request for proposals (RFP) for 5 MW onsite solar rooftop installation and 50 MW offsite renewable energy supply contract (power Purchase Agreement – PPA).  Black & Veatch also provided review and evaluation of proposals, shortlist due diligence, and contract negotiation support for Stanford’s power procurement process.

  • City of Chula Vista, California: Smart Energy Infrastructure Initiative

o   Black & Veatch developed a report identifying the foundational elements that will enable buildings to approach fifty percent reduction in energy use and provide sustainable, financially sound Smart Community infrastructure services for a new development.  The new construction includes a hotel and convention center and 1,500 condominiums and mixed-use properties. Energy technologies include energy efficiency, demand response, solar photovoltaics, microturbines and fuel cells.

  • Confidential Company: Corporate Energy and Climate Change strategy Implementation Support

o   Black & Veatch provided consulting services, including review of the client Energy and Climate Change Plan, risk analysis, and recommendations. Black & Veatch also performed a benchmarking study identifying the client’s position in comparison to competitors and peers. Provided review of regulatory landscape—existing and upcoming regulatory requirements related to environment and energy. Identified climate change risks at local and regional levels and potential adaptation strategies. Provided materials for a 2-day workshop for the company’s regional operations team that covered the corporate carbon footprint baseline and benchmarking results, risks and opportunities, and potential technology solutions for adaptation and risk mitigation specific to their regional operations.

  • Confidential Corporate Client

o   Independent Engineering review of energy equity investment in utility-scale renewable energy plant

Black & Veatch’s Internal Corporate Carbon Footprint Practices

Black & Veatch’s corporate carbon footprint is updated annually and reported through CDP and Ecodesk. Calculations follow TCR general reporting protocol.  A reduction target has been identified on a per-employee basis so as not to disincentivize growth. Reductions measures have been identified and the list is continually updated.

Here is a list of clients who require annual updates on Black & Veatch carbon footprint goal progress:  AT&T, PG&E, Ameren, APS, Duke Energy, Entergy, SDG&E, National Grid.  Some of these clients score Black & Veatch’s performance and goal progress, and give “preferred vendor” status to vendors who score above a certain threshold (AT&T and PG&E).

Walking the Talk: How Black & Veatch Targets Compare to Those Identified by Peer Companies

The table below contains a summary of corporate carbon footprint reduction targets that have been adopted by other corporations considered to be peers to Black & Veatch.  Criteria for selection as “peer” include number of employees, revenues, and business model.

Table 4.  Benchmarking summary: GHG reduction targets adopted by other companies

Company Name Quantitative GHG Reduction Target
SAIC SAIC has announced a goal to reduce operational greenhouse gas emissions

25 percent (from 2010 levels) by 2020, reinforcing its commitment to sustainable business practices.

CH2MHill Goals for 2012: conduct and expand GHG Inventory for Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions by Feb 2014, for 2012 emissions.  Offset 35% of direct and indirect GHG emissions of North American facilities by purchase of carbon offsets and renewable energy products.  Create 5 training modules for improving collaboration tool skills and use.  Create a network of Employee Transportation Coordinators in five offices and track the impacts of their programs.
TD Goal: be carbon neutral.  Status: achieved in 2014.  Reduce GHG emissions by 1 tonne CO2e per employee by 2015, relative to our 2008 baseline.  At least 20% of emissions from electricity will be offset with renewable energy credits.
Stantec Reduce per employee energy consumption by 4 percent from 2010 baseline data.  Get 2,500 employees to pariticpate in Cool Commute Challenge (CCC)
Dell Reduce global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per dollar of revenue by

15 percent from 2007 to 2012.

MHI 6% reduction of the average CO2 emission amount for the five years

from FY2008 to 2012 (from FY1990 level): to be achieved through

reduction efforts at all production plants

More than 13% reduction of the average CO2 emission amount for the

five years from FY2008 to 2012 (from FY2005 level): to be achieved

through reduction efforts at offices and operations divisions (Head

Office, domestic offices and research & development centers)

HDR HDR’s goal is to reduce GHG emission levels 20% by 2020 from our 2011 baseline, adjusted for growth. This goal was developed based on assessing the goals and targets of other similar firms in our industry, as well as assessing national and international emissions reduction targets. We will achieve this reduction through targeted investments in our company operations, improved sustainable business practices and educational and

awareness initiatives.

UPS Increase fuel efficiency of airlines by 20% by 2020, from 2005 baseline
URS Reduce UK business travel emissions by 10% by 2020
Parsons In calculating our GHG emissions, we selected an approach that reflects our business goal: reduce carbon intensity that relates to tons of carbon per unit of income.

Black & Veatch Corporate GHG Emission Reduction Targets

The Black & Veatch corporate Drive For Value Sustainability Team has set a target to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions to 2.3 metric tons per employee by 2021.  Progress toward this goal is tracked annually.We have reduced our emissions by 7.5 percent from 2013 to 2014 reporting years. the 2015 reporting year data is still being reviewed.

[1] http://www.epa.gov/climateleadership/2015-climate-leadership-award-winners

[2] http://www.wemeanbusinesscoalition.org/about

[3] https://www.cdp.net/en-US/Pages/HomePage.aspx

[4] http://sustainability-year-in-review.com/snapshots/stanford-invests-in-78-5-mw-of-solar-power/

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