Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Disclose your greenhouse-gas emissions? Sounds crazy. Why Wal-Mart and P&G are doing it--and you should too.

All right, you can stop giving Al Gore awards now. We get it: We need to reduce pollution. It's often said that what gets measured gets managed, so if we're going to cut emissions of carbon dioxide and other climate-warming gases, we need to know exactly who's emitting what. A serious effort to address climate change will require most businesses to track and publicly disclose carbon emissions.

That sound you just heard was 1,000 accountants moaning in unison. In a post-Sarbanes-Oxley world, another complex reporting requirement sounds like a royal pain in the financials.

Yet some businesses--hundreds, actually--are already tracking and reporting their emissions, voluntarily. Are they hippie do-gooders? Or have they figured something out?

Efforts are afoot to put the power of law behind disclosure. In September, a group of shareholder activists filed a formal petition with the SEC asking that carbon disclosure be required by securities law. (The EPA is for sissies; real greens go SEC.) And at least one bill floating around Congress, the National Greenhouse Gas Registry Act, would require all businesses (save small ones) to report emissions.

Read more at FAST COMPANY: http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/121/carbon-copy.html

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