By Patricia Martinez, Expedition PR
Next week is ClimateWeek NYC, a week packed with discussions around how to shape a sustainable future worldwide. We will blog about climate change and the role technology plays. Next up: carbon disclosure in Latin America.
With its large natural resources and a low record of carbon emissions, Latin America has the potential to lead initiatives aiming to reduce climate change and create better conditions for its resources, and ultimately, its population. However, the region has been slow to adopt carbon emissions control initiatives. According to the Latin American edition of the Carbon Disclosure Project report of 2012, the region’s participation percentage is of 64%, lower than the participation rate in the global edition, which reached 81%.
For over 12 years, the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) has been committed to promote the reduction of carbon emissions globally. One of its strategies is to collect stories of businesses that have decided to do what’s possible to avoid environmental damage by innovating their production processes, or setting up carbon reduction goals.
Juliana Lopes, Director of CDP Latin America, in a recent interview states that Brazil, Mexico and Chile are the countries with the best response rates in CDP. Out of 73 participating companies in the region, 68 are Brazilian, mostly banks, insurance companies, and pension funds. Lopes referenced the following case studies:
Vale Mine Company (Brazil), and its “Carbon Program”: This company emphasizes the importance of carbon emissions reduction, setting up a goal of 5%.
CEMEX (Mexico): On 2011 this company achieved a net carbon emission reduction of 22.7% per ton of concrete, in relation to 1990. On 2011, their use of alternative fuels increased to 24.7% of the total fuel mixture, and by 2015 their goal is 35%.
Galicia Bank (Argentina): They have become a good example of ways to introduce the environmental concern in their corporate structure. The bank has a Risk Management Corp, which reports directly to the bank’s Administrative Council. They go beyond the financial field and consider environmental and social aspects in the clients’ risk evaluation, to contribute to a culture of data transparency.
Certainly the challenges to promote an “environmentally friendly” culture among small, medium and big companies remain, but initiatives such as CDP itself, plus the GHG Protocol and the Carbon Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB) have contributed to put on the map the need of carbon emissions regulations. Regulations have driven adoption. Some global companies require from their local partners to follow environmental regulations in order to do business with them. However, sustainability engagement goes beyond basic compliance. Like in other regions, companies in Latin America, started to see the care for the environment as an opportunity for innovation and to enter new markets.
Juliana Lopes prefers to think “that the cup is half full”. We can expect a higher CDP adoption in the coming years.