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Do the lofty goals set at international gabfests have any impact on real life? In the case of last year’s landmark COP21 agreement, there are some immediate signs of progress.
In assessing the environmental protection initiatives undertaken by companies in Asia, Asset Benchmark Research was presented with a wide range of measures that have been undertaken.
Not surprisingly, the oil and gas sector is one of the most challenging. According to the International Energy Agency, the demand for oil and gas will grow by 30% between 2012 and 2040. Yet greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions must be curbed to meet COP21 goals.
Rising to this challenge, the Thai exploration and production company, PTT Exploration and Production Public Company (PTTEP) has launched a GHG reduction initiative to achieve a 20% decrease in emissions intensity by 2020 from a 2012 baseline. In order to meet this goal, it has instituted a range of in-process reduction measures, such as diverting flare gas into productive use and retiring a large seawater pump, as well as carbon sequestration through reforestation. While much remains to be done, by the first quarter of 2016, PTTEP claimed more than a 15% reduction of greenhouse gas emission compared to 2012, equivalent to the annual emissions from over 45,000 cars.
Also in the oil and gas sector, the China-based giant, CNOOC has developed the maxim that “in-process control is better than post control, pre-control is better than in-process control, and whole-process control is better than pre-control”. In the past year, it claims it has strengthened its whole-process environmental protection management system and continued to improve its systems with the aim of reducing GHG emissions. Other initiatives included tree-planting campaigns, the release of fish fry and shrimp larvae and digging micro-ecological environment holes in Indonesia.
Although the environmental impact of companies in the services sector is less directly damaging than heavy industry, there is still considerable scope to institute responsible practices as E.SUN Bank in Taiwan is demonstrating. One of E.SUN’s first steps was to create a GHG inventory. Having a measure of its impact on the environment, it has focused on reducing GHG emissions, for example, by adhering to the Equator Principles, promoting green financial products and paperless service with a low carbon impact. Altogether in 2015, E.SUN passed six types of external environmental protection certification.
Another of E.SUN’s initiatives has been to issue a Black Bear Affinity Credit Card of which 0.2% of each transaction is directed towards an animal conservation fund for the conservation of the black bear, habitat protection, the restoration of Taiwan's native species, and an environmental education programme. In 2015, 10,000 cards had been issued and contributions from them amounted to a NT$3 million (US$947,400).
To view the awardees of The Asset Corporate Awards 2016 – Best Initiative in Environmental Responsibility, please click here.
11 Nov 2016