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Anticipating the Release of the Product and Corporate Value Chain Accounting and Reporting Standards


By Anne Sjolander, on behalf of Second Nature team

The World Resources Institute and World Business Council for Sustainable Development have been developing Product and Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Accounting and Reporting Standards as a part of a multi-stakeholder 12-year partnership with the GHG Protocol Initiative. These comprehensive global standards will aid businesses and the government in understanding, measuring and monitoring greenhouse gas emissions.

The Product Accounting and Reporting Standard and the Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Accounting and Reporting Standard, build off of the success of the existing GHG Protocol for Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard (2004) and the GHG Protocol for Project Accounting (2005), which are used globally by companies to measure GHG emissions and reductions from mitigation projects. The two new systems will standardize the process of reporting and measuring emissions from corporate value chains and the life cycles of individual products.

The Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Accounting and Reporting Standard will be used alongside the 2005 Corporate Account and Reporting Standard to quantify Scope 3 emissions. Scope 3 activities prove the most difficult emissions to report on, as they are emissions indirectly caused by a business. The diagram below shows the indirect origin of Scope 3 emissions.

Due to the inclusion of upstream and downstream activities in its measurement, Scope 3 is often times the greatest source of emissions and is therefore one of the best areas to target in lowering GHG emissions. The Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Accounting and Reporting Standard is meant to be used by various types of companies, government sectors, NGO's and Universities.

The Product Accounting and Reporting Standard provides the methodology to inventory and report on GHG emissions associated with the life cycle of a specific product. The main purpose of this standard is to aid companies in understanding the environmental impact of their product and, therefore, empower companies to make knowledgeable choices about the product’s design, use, etc.

The Product Accounting and Reporting Standard along with the Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Accounting and Reporting Standard have been part of a three year effort. The process began in 2008 and was overseen by a 25-member Steering Committee. In 2009, Working Groups made up of more than 160 members developed the first drafts of the two GHG Protocol standards. The first drafts were then “road tested” by over 60 companies in 2010 in order to gain feedback for the second drafts. Finally, Stakeholder Advisory Groups consisting of over 1,200 members gave their feedback on the new standards.

Upon completion of this three year process we finally await the arrival of the Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Accounting and Reporting system and the Product Life Cycle Accounting and Reporting Standard this September; WRI and WBCSD will soon announce the details of the associated launch events to occur this fall.

The ACUPCC Steering Committee continues to monitor this process. Currently, it does not have plans to adjust the specified emissions sources covered by the Commitment (namely, all Scope 1 and 2 emissions, and Scope 3 emissions from air travel paid for by the institution and regular commuting to and from campus). The ACUPCC continues to encourage institutions to account for and report on additional Scope 3 emissions, however these are not part of the reporting requirements. Please share your thoughts or feedback on this matter with Second Nature by emailing and we will incorporate it in our reports to the Steering Committee on this issue as it continues to evolve.

Who is leading the Green Movement at HBCUs?


This is a re-blog of a post by Rosa González, Education Director, Green For All. See the original post here.

I can confidently say the green movement is fully underway at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)! This is a big deal because most HBCUs are located in communities disproportionately impacted by climate change and poverty. And in the past, HBCU students have been under-informed about these issues and have not been significantly engaged around developing solutions to economic and environmental crises. Today, HBCU students from all around the country are building a student-led movement to ensure their communities do not remain on the margins of the sustainability movement.

On August 19th through August 21st, Green For All brought 30 student leaders from 15 Historically Black Colleges and Universities together in Washington, D.C. for the 2nd Green For All College Ambassador training.

The program kicked off with a keynote address by award-winning journalist, social activist and political commentator, Jeff Johnson, who engaged the Ambassadors in a strategic thinking around campus organizing. The rest of the program included a dynamic combination of team building activities, environmental literacy training (using the Roots of Success curriculum), student organizing workshops, and opportunities for deep dialogue and planning. Ambassadors shared songs, poetry, and testimonies at a celebratory dinner, proving this multi-talented cohort is unstoppable!

The potential of HBCU students may be overlooked by many and understood by few in the green movement, but these students are determined to shape the local, state and national discourse on the needs and benefits of an inclusive green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty.

Green For All launched the College Ambassador program in September of 2010 to invest in student organizers to champion the green-economy within communities most impacted by climate change and poverty. The program follows the academic calendar and runs on fifteen historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The Ambassadorship consists of expert trainings, a mentorship program in partnership with Green For All Academy Fellows, student-led green education workshops, and a semester long campus sustainability initiatives created and carried out by the Ambassadors with support from students, faculty and Green For All.

Through the Green For All Ambassador program, we hope to provide the tools and support that will allow students to step up to new levels of leadership. Through their leadership we are expanding the base of students calling for sustainable economic development, and creating real change throughout the HBCU system.

The students who have successfully finished serving their Ambassadorships can be found on the College Ambassador Alumni page.

Butte College Goes Grid Positive with California Sunshine


By Anne Sjolander, on behalf of Second Nature team

The first time I heard the grid mentioned it sounded rather ominous to me. The concept reminded me of the movie The Matrix. Just as Neo takes the red pill and awakes to find that in reality he is being used as an energy source, I awoke to find that I have been dependent on the grid since birth.

The phrase "going off the grid" has recently been popping up within the field of energy conservation and sustainability. Living off the grid essentially means living in a way that does not rely on some or all public utilities, such as the municipal water supply, electricity, sewage treatment, etc.

I can easily say that I have never gone a day of my life completely "off the grid". Whether it is water from the faucet, my currently charging computer or microwaving a hot pocket, I am ALWAYS stuck to the grid.

When I heard that Butte College, an ACUPCC Signatory, in Oroville, California has not only gone "off the grid", but has become the first institution to become grid positive, I was, needless to say, very impressed.

Surrounded by a 928 acre wildlife refuge, Butte College has a long history of sustainability efforts and environmental awareness on campus. As President Diana Van Der Ploeg emphasized, going grid positive is really the culmination of years of sustainability and energy efficiency efforts.1

With the installment of 25,000 photovoltaic panels on campus, Butte College has eliminated the need for outside energy sources and is capable of sending clean energy back to the grid. The solar panels will generate “6.5-million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year.” According to Campus Technology that is enough to power more than 9,000 US homes.2

Not only does this benefit the environment, it also aids the students and the campus economy. Students will gain first hand experience with green technology, opening the doors to green jobs, while the school benefits from an estimated 50 to 75 million dollars saved in the next 15 years.3

Kudos to you Butte College for soaking up that California sunshine.





National Wildlife Federation Accepts Case Study Submissions


By Anne Sjolander, on behalf of Second Nature team

Apathy has become a common word used to characterize the generation Y, college crowd.  As the older generations question our dedication and activism in the political realm, there is one subject we can strongly say youth is leading, the green movement.  Whether it is bringing local food on campus, establishing sustainability clubs, installing wind turbines, or constructing LEED certified buildings, College students are thinking creatively to reform their institutional frameworks.   As individual schools work towards sustainability, the question becomes, how can we learn from each other’s experience and knowledge to unite College and University efforts towards sustainability?

One way Colleges and Universities can stay connected is through the National Wildlife Federation, Campus Ecology Case Study database.  The National Wildlife Federation, Campus Ecology sector has annually accepted and collected Case Studies from schools across the nation since 1997.  The Campus Ecology division of the National Wildlife Federation began in 1989 when the organization challenged Colleges and Universities to begin environmental movements on their campuses.  They began the program and the case study database in order to “reduce the need to reinvent the wheel”.1
Examples from the 2009-2010 school year include American University’s installment of LED lights in parking garages and campus pathways, the College of Menominee Nation’s establishment of a pilot wind power generator, and Duke’s promotion of carbon neutral travel for students and staff.

With the close of the 2011 school year, The National Wildlife Federation: Campus Ecology division is accepting Case Studies from the 2010 to 2011 school year. As NWF states, the Case Studies are “well-publicized as a valuable resource of sustainability practices and has been featured in the Princeton Review and other national, local, and campus newspapers.”2  By sharing with the public your College or Universities’ efforts towards sustainability, we can all celebrate each other’s accomplishments, learn and build off of each other’s examples, and motivate one another to continue to strive towards sustainability on campuses throughout the coming 2011-2012 school year.

Case Studies will be accepted until August 20,2011 and the illustrated reports will be published in the coming Fall.  To apply and submit your case studies visit the NWF Campus Ecology Case Study Database website.



Higher education leadership helps British Columbia achieve public sector carbon neutrality


By Second Nature

In March of 2008, six British Columbian University presidents created and signed the University and College Presidents’ Climate Change Statement of Action. On June 30, 2011, the Canadian Ministry of the Environment announced carbon neutrality for British Columbia’s entire public sector.

Originally inspired by the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), British Columbia’s higher education sector (made up of 11 public Universities and 4 private Universities) has given a whole new meaning to “climate action”. The first signatures of the action plan came hand in hand with an incredibly comprehensive provincial program launched by the Canadian government to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions throughout B.C’s entire public sector (which comprises of schools, post-secondary institutions, government offices, government-owned [Crown] corporations, and hospitals), a feat the United States has yet to achieve. The combination of these two initiatives has sparked action across the entire country, from urban carbon neutrality projects in Toronto, to schools signing on in Alberta, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec.

The 23 nationwide “Statement of Action” signatories, which includes 22 public Universities and one private University have been working with one another, public and private sector partners, and the Canadian government to accelerate this achievement. This has by far proven the efficiency of collaboration when presented with an issue that requires participation from all fronts. Below are a few accomplishments from the six original creators and signatories.

“If you want to go fast, walk alone, but if you want go far, walk with others.” Similar to a marathon, the road towards global carbon neutrality requires shared leadership. Although marathon runners do compete, we often forget the importance and amount of teamwork and collaboration they actually partake in during their race. Alternating and sharing leadership in long distance journeys is not a fortuitous phenomenon; it is vital for motivation, for ideas, for hope, and for success. It is exciting to see the success of the ACUPCC being modeled and expanded with similar initiatives in Peru, Scotland and Canada — and nascent efforts underway across the globe. Our common commitment is inspiring and necessary for achieving climate neutrality and sustainability as quickly as possible.


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