IEMA research presented at COP 25

12th December 2019

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Julian Greaves

IEMA representatives have made key contributions at the COP 25 climate summit in Madrid over the last two weeks, with policy lead Nick Blyth involved in a high-profile panel discussion on carbon-neutral transitions and standards.

Blyth presented IEMA's work around carbon neutrality at the event last Wednesday, along with the results of a survey taken in November exploring how its members are driving emission savings.

The findings showed that 18% of IEMA members' companies have declared a climate emergency, with 22% actively looking at doing so.

Purchasing green energy tariffs has increased by 10% over the last decade, but offsetting has not grown. Only 16% of members indicated that their companies purchase carbon offsets, although 25% are considering it.

“Our engagement gives a picture of change over the last decade, especially over the last two years, with an escalation of commitments to climate emergencies and use of targets,“ Blyth said.

“We know that there is a large group of professionals and businesses that are looking at offsetting and thinking about this, but haven't yet crossed over to purchasing – which is a bit of a block.“

The findings also showed that around 15% of IEMA members' companies have made emissions savings of between 10% and 19% over the last nine years, with 22% achieving reductions of 30% or larger.

At the same time, 44% said their firms have made use of a carbon neutrality target, which Blyth said reflects a “mismatch between incremental improvement and future ambition“.

“Sustainability professionals really are keen to know how they can drive that transition – this is a big area that we are focusing on at the moment with members,“ he added.

IEMA also found that the core principles of its Greenhouse Gas Management Hierarchy continue to be well followed by its members, and is now considering some refinements.

Blyth, who was last month elected chair of the ISO Climate Change Coordination Task Force, went on to explore the need for an international standard on carbon neutrality, explaining how “there remains confusion, and multiple terms in use around carbon offsetting“.

“In the summer, the British Standards Institution ran a small workshop at the ISO meeting at Berlin, looking at developing a proposal for a new international standard.

“This is progressing, the international standard is out for ballot and will close in January, and member bodies will be responding to this proposal.“

Blyth was joined on the panel by Laura Mora, who represented the government of Costa Rica, Miguel Alejandro, representing the UNFCCC, John Shideler, representing the ISO Climate Change Coordination Task Force, Tetsuya Tanaka from the International Civil Aviation Organization, and Emanuele Riva from the International Accreditation Forum.

You can catch up on the discussion here:

Image credit: ©Shutterstock


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