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Reducing energy sector carbon footprint:

The answer is in home-grown technology

Reducing the carbon footprint in organisations and companies will have long-lasting environmental and economic benefits not only to organisations but also to the nation at large, an official of one of country's pioneering carbon reduction consultancy firms - Somaratna Consultants, said recently in Colombo.

"The pledge by the Ministry of Power and Energy to reduce the carbon footprint of the energy sector by five percent, is an unprecedented move by a State agency," Managing Director, Somaratna Consultants, K. Chandralal Somaratna said.

'Sri Lanka's energy sector development plan for a knowledge-based economy 2015-2025' policy made public recently, stipulates that Sri Lanka will reduce the carbon footprint of the energy sector to address global warming and climate change impact.

The policy document also said that all available opportunities in product development and service delivery will be exploited to develop home-grown technology in energy conversion, storage, delivery, metering and billing to enhance the stake of renewable energy, carbon emissions avoidance and efficiency in energy systems.

The Ministry pledge that comprehensive research would be undertaken in atmospheric carbon reduction technology to minimise the impact of increased energy consumption on the climate was a positive move.

In light of these developments the ability to conclusively report the GHG footprint is becoming increasingly important.

Recently, Somaratna Consultants marked a new chapter in the country's corporate sector by providing consultancy services for the first-ever GHG Report to be verified against ISO 14064-1 by an accredited certification body. So far they have carried out three similar assignments.

"When you reduce the carbon footprint of your product from 5.27 kgs of CO2e per kg to 3.67 kgs, you should communicate that to your clients conclusively. With the GHG targets being imposed by various countries this is going to be the new competitive advantage," he said.

The ISO 14000 family of standards provides practical tools for companies and organisations of all kinds to manage their environmental responsibilities.

Of this, ISO 14064-1:2006 specifies principles and needs at the organisation level for quantification, reporting and removal of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which includes the design, development, management, reporting and verification of an organisation's GHG inventory.

Green house gases stand out as the biggest threat to our climate, posing many challenges to the well-being of mankind. The measuring of GHG emission and controlling it remains the need of the hour especially in industries that contribute to this worldwide issue.

The process includes measurement and controlling, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, ozone-depleting substances, energy use, air quality, air pollutants, waste, water use, waste water, chemicals and through re-forestation initiatives.

"Industries are an integral part of the global effort to tackle climate change, but they have always lacked a consistent and transparent approach to measure and report emissions - until now," Somarathne said.

"The ISO-14064 implements a robust and clear framework to set up credible emission accounting and reporting practices, thereby helping organisations develop an emissions baseline, set mitigation goals, create more targeted climate action plans and track progress over time," he said.

"We believe that all corporate entities in Sri Lanka should strongly commit themselves towards creating an energy-efficient, low-carbon economy," Somaratna added.

"In an unprecedented move, United States President Barack Obama pledged to reduce the world's second largest carbon emitting economy's greenhouse gas emissions 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. Not only should Sri Lankan companies up their game but should also tap into the tremendous opportunities created by this," he said.

"Companies should seriously consider investing in innovative low-carbon technologies that will not only make an important contribution to greenhouse gas reduction but also boost bottom-lines," opined Director, Risk Management Services, Arjuna Somaratna.

 

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