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Recognising efforts to tackle climate change
Carbon emissions contribute to climate change, which in turn leads to hotter weather and rising sea levels, threatening low-lying countries like Singapore.
Corporations are often the biggest culprits of carbon emissions. Industries that produce the highest carbon footprint include petrochemicals, construction (cement and steel), shipping, aviation and agriculture, said John Sayer, director of Hong Kong-headquartered sustainability consultancy Carbon Care Asia.
Other industries that contribute indirectly to carbon emissions include many industries such as purchased electricity, business travel and purchased materials and equipment.
He said: "For example, many of the emissions in the fashion and garment sector come from the manufacturing and transport stage, but the final retailers and brands must share responsibility for this. Most companies are also not aware of the carbon emissions from business flights."
To offset their carbon emissions from activities like business travel and corporate events, some companies buy carbon credits. But although companies are adopting such measures to reduce their overall carbon footprint, gaps still exist and more can be done to achieve a meaningful reduction in carbon emissions.
"Setting a science-based target aligns a company's emissions reduction plans with the Paris Climate Agreement targets of keeping temperatures 'well below 2 degrees Celsius and closer to 1.5 degrees Celsius' and the latest science on the global carbon budget," said Mr Sayer.
"More and more companies are also introducing internal carbon accounting, to understand the source and extent of their emissions better and prepare for emissions trading schemes, carbon levies and higher reporting standards that may be on the horizon."
To encourage more businesses to reduce their carbon emissions, Carbon Care Asia is collaborating with the Brands For Good programme in a first-of-its-kind initiative. Called the Brands For Good CarbonCare Label in Singapore, it is part of a series of awards that recognises the efforts of businesses and organisations to account for their carbon footprint.
Since its launch in Hong Kong in 2011, the CarbonCare Label has been awarded to more than 300 listed and private companies, government departments, public bodies, social enterprises and non-profit organisations for their sustainability efforts.
The new Brands For Good CarbonCare Label is the Singapore edition of this recognition and will be awarded annually in conjunction with all future Brands For Good awards events.
"The scheme aims to raise ambition levels on carbon reduction by companies through good carbon measurement, setting and achieving carbon reduction targets, and taking up innovative actions to reduce carbon emissions. The credibility of the label is based on the fact that an objective third party makes the assessment, using international measures and reporting standards," said Mr Sayer.
The label has three types of certification, each signalling a different level of comprehensiveness in carbon footprint reduction activities: CarbonCare Brands For Good Label, CarbonCare Brands For Good Action Label and CarbonCare Brands For Good Champion Label.
Companies that are keen on adopting the CarbonCare Brands For Good Label stand to benefit from preparedness, exposure and credibility, said Mr Sayer.
"They can be well prepared and reduce risks, save costs and increase revenue through carbon management, and be ready for rising standards of sustainability reporting. They can enhance their brand value by showcasing carbon management actions, as well as attract and retain staff and clients as an environmentally aware and far-sighted company."
He added that companies could also receive recognition for accurate carbon management that is aligned with international best practice, and the credibility of a rigorous protocol overseen by experts.