On 22 January 2015, the ‘Transforming energy: Bringing electricity procurement into corporate carbon footprints’ workshop was held in Brussels, organised by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) partners for the deployment of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol).
UIC attended the event to present the findings of the recently concluded Zero Carbon Project – designed to ensure that the rail sector remains at the cutting edge of the complex and evolving debate on carbon reporting. The Zero Carbon Project was cited by the WRI as an example of best practice in their reporting on the new carbon reporting protocol. With a worldwide legally binding agreement on climate change expected to be agreed in December 2015 at the UN COP21 negotiations in Paris, the need to maintain clarity and credibility when reporting the rail sector’s advantage as a climate-friendly transport mode is crucially important.
Organised by WRI and WBCSD, the workshop presents Scope 2 of the Guidance of the GHG Protocol. The Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol) is the most widely used international accounting tool for government and business leaders to understand, quantify, and manage greenhouse gas emissions. GHG Protocol is working with businesses, governments, and environmental groups around the world to build a new generation of credible and effective programmes for tackling climate change.
The launch event of Scope 2, attended by 60 people, benefited from the participation of Mary Sotos from WRI who presented Scope 2 of the Guidance of the GHG Protocol. The following speech by Dirk Van Evercooren from the Association of Issuing Bodies (AIB) and Director of the Flemish Regulator of the Electricity and Gas Market (VREG) provided the main guidelines as to how this new GHG Protocol Socope enhances corporate CO2 management and electricity procurement strategies.
The first panel, moderated by Edgar Galrao from WBCSD, included the participation of Pedro Faria from CDP, Jan Cupal from Verbund, Gabriel Castañares, Senior Advisor of Energy and Environment at UIC and Daniele Arena from the Sustainable Development Foundation and UIC Partner at the Zero Carbon Railways Project.
During this panel, Gabriel Castañares and Daniele Arena introduced the main gaps and inconsistencies detected for renewable energies accountability in rail and how UIC has developed the Zero Carbon Project in order to deliver commonly accepted rules to provide UIC members with secure and publicly accepted ways of sourcing zero carbon products, allowing them to increase the use of renewable electricity and communicate it to customers.
The second panel, moderated by Jared Baraslawsky from RECS International, benefited from the participation of Preben Munch from Ecohz, Anette Gussias from Bergen Energi, and Hanne Raadal from Ostfold Research Institute.
The Zero Carbon Project implements the newly revised GHG Protocol guidelines into the UIC Environmental Strategy Reporting system. Renewable Energy is an important part of the strategy, and many railways already obtain a proportion of their energy from renewable sources. The Zero Carbon Project is designed to alleviate concerns and criticism from external stakeholders with respect to accounting of the use of renewable energy. Whist the technical complexity of this topic has increased over recent years, it remains politically and strategically important for UIC and its members.