Carbon Footprint possible savings
Increasing savings are possible from the new environmental awareness. This according to IlSole24Ore today news.
The analysis led by the Italian main finance press indicates how substantial investment occurred in Italy not only in the photovoltaic sector, under indictment for the aggregate weight of the strong incentives, but also in energy rationalization measures on buildings, driven by enlightened tax deductions flow rates from 55% to 65%, and in the fight against waste, favored by the economic crisis.
According to Mathis Wackernagel, author of the method of calculation of the ecological footprint of human activities and president of the Global Footprint Network ( GFN ),
The investments to optimize the use of natural resources are important to evaluate the efficiency of a company and, at the same time, they can avoid the risk of future losses.
One of the main risks for a company is to base its entire production on assets and production lines obsolete , inadequate to produce added value in a world that moves towards increasingly restrictive environmental regulations .
and he added:
Industries , should therefore invest green adaptation in small steps , focusing on innovation not only incremental processes but also incorporated into final products .
Better a gradation on a voluntary basis than having to cope with a sudden new legislation that will impose, sooner or later , to shut down plants not yet written , perhaps in a moment of weak market .
In this framework is it possible to engage the calculation of the ecological footprint introduced by Wackernagel and William Rees in 1996 ( which indicates how everyday activities contribute to emissions of carbon dioxide in a year , promoting climate change). An indicator that can help public or private economic systems to monitor the consumption of natural resources compared to their availability.
Italy is consuming four times more natural resources at its disposal.
this according to the Footprint Network, and this puts the Country’s economic system at risk, in an international economy increasingly efficient use of resources and restrictive on their abuse.
In Europe, only the United Kingdom seems to present a similar critical index, with a consumption of resource close to five time the available ones; we report here the relative diagram:
Also due to geographical reasons, and to the particular morphology of these two Nations, Germany presents a consumption/availability ratio close to 2 while USA shows a c/a ratio close to 1.4.
In a near future, the Carbon Footprint could be considered a representative risk index for investors and evaluators. As a matter of fact, the Countries with a high consumption/availability index (i.e. the Carbon Footprint) are those more likely to be subject to change in law due their not sustainable politics.
It is possible to have a look at the Countries Carbon Footprint trend here.
The greatest benefits of green investments are, then, not so high in the short-term savings on the cost of raw materials and energy bills, as they are when protecting from the risk of future losses. Still, the savings achievable with a short-term ecological change are far from negligible.
It is possible to distinguish between three dimensions of waste : solid waste , energy and water . On the first , there are several multinational companies that are successfully pursuing the strategy of “zero landfill waste ” , for example Unilever has already achieved this goal in 130 plants (252 in 2015) and P&G in 45 industrial sites , recovering more than a billion euro .
This result was obtained by combining a more efficient use of resources with targeted initiatives (such as the anaerobic digestion of waste lattero dairy , in the case of Unilever).
In reference to the industrial consumption of energy (electricity and heat), many operators in the energy-intensive sectors (such as steel , chemicals, petroleum refining ) have launched several successful initiatives to achieve greater efficiency.
However, this process still leave wide open spaces for further actions and there is is a significant potential for further savings achievable.
The key concepts for the companies interested in improving their index and to achieve better performance can then be summarized as follows:
- Measure your consumptions, especially energy, to gain awareness about waste and identify improvement initiatives to compete with the best international practices.
- Prepare a structured plan: do not just take advantage of the incentives tactically while analyze in detail all the opportunities, developing a comprehensive plan of what can be done. You need to put together hundreds of small initiatives that significantly impact overall.
- it is strongly advisable to create an organizational unit specifically for the monitoring of energy efficiency. Addressing these issues requires new skills that combine technical knowledge, regulatory and energy markets. It is therefore necessary to develop specific skills.