SCS Global Services (SCS), an internationally recognised third-party certification body verifying environmental claims, greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories and carbon offset projects, celebrated World Environmental Day by launching its new Arctic Climate Neutral certification initiative.
This groundbreaking program establishes a new beachhead in the worldwide effort to confront and mitigate the causes of global climate change.
“The Arctic is in crisis, warming three times faster than the rest of the planet,” said Stanley Rhodes, SCS President. “This is one of the most important drivers of climate change worldwide, so the steps we take to mitigate this warming will not only help us protect Arctic communities and wildlife, but also slow global climate change.”
Because the Arctic seems remote and isolated, most people assume that Arctic warming is simply an artifact of global warming, he added. As a result, companies and government agencies assume that impacts to the region are already being addressed under current carbon reduction initiatives. However, recent discoveries in climate science make it clear that the Arctic climate footprints of corporations, cities and countries are largely responsible for the rapid changes occurring in the region.
Under the new program, corporations, government agencies, organisations and individuals can establish their Arctic climate footprints, set reasonable mitigation goals as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) or sustainability plans, and set strategies for becoming Arctic Climate Neutral on a cost-effective basis. This approach parallels widely-recognised carbon neutral and carbon offset programs.
Regional warming is already having effects that reach far below the Arctic Circle. It is altering jet streams, potentially affecting weather patterns. It is speeding the melting of the Greenland ice sheet, and driving the thawing of vast areas of permafrost, which could release dangerous levels of methane, significantly accelerating global warming.
The calculation of Arctic climate footprint is based on advanced life cycle assessment (LCA) metrics. It takes into account direct emissions into the Arctic region, as well as emissions of global GHGs. For instance, airline flights that cross through Arctic airspace contribute significantly to Arctic warming. Airlines have numerous options for reducing their Arctic climate footprint, such as the installation of more fuel-efficient engines, the use of cleaner burning fuels, and the rerouting of flights.
Many other types of emissions could likewise be curbed using off-the-shelf and emerging technologies or changes in operations include black carbon emissions from industrial plants and ships operating in the region, agricultural burning, and operation of trucks and heavy equipment. More difficult sources to control include boreal forest fires and methane seepage from thawing permafrost.
SCS has been providing global leadership in third-party environmental and sustainability certification, auditing, testing, and standards development for three decades. Its programs span a wide cross-section of industries with accredited services under a wide range of internationally recognised programs.