The leading global practices on environment and climate include:

  • carbon markets and carbon taxes set on the basis of carbon pricing,
  • climate finance for projects on mitigating the effects of climate change and on adaptation,
  • emission abatement and adaptation efforts.

Global efforts on environment and climate change are run under the initiative of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Adopted during the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) sets the first step in the build-up to the current efforts on climate change. Formed by the 196 countries that ratified the UNFCCC in the 1992 Rio Conference, the Conference of the Parties (COP) is the decision-making body in conferences. Therefore, the COP conferences constitute the mechanism that shapes the global policy on climate change and sets the road map for fighting climate change. Kyoto Protocol has the broadest coverage ever in the fight against climate change and global warming. It was drafted in the 1992 UNFCCC Conference. The Protocol has been in effect since 1995. Assuming that global warming exists and originates from human CO2 emissions, the Protocol urges countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Countries ratifying the protocol committed themselves to reducing their emission by 5 percent between 2008 and 2012, taking the year 1990 as the base year.

The Kyoto Protocol will remain in force until 2020, with the work on the new international protocol to replace it currently being under way. To this end, various strategies are implemented within the framework of efforts on mitigating the effects of climate change and on adaptation. Studies showed that global warming must be limited to below 2 °C by the year 2100 as compared to 1990 in order to ensure a minimal impact of climate change and the decision was approved by the COP member countries. IPCC reports demonstrate that net emissions must be offset to reach this goal by the year 2100. To this end, carbon pricing projects are essentially important.[1]

Carbon markets and carbon taxation systems plan to use trading systems as a means to limit emissions developed as an outcome of the Kyoto Protocol and price carbon to allow for a calculation of work done over this economic value. In this context, carbon credits and carbon markets become increasingly important for global strategies. At the end of COP 20 Lima Conference in 2014, it was decided that a statutory mechanism and protocol be established for all parties during the COP 21 conference in 2015 and that this platform shall cover issues such as adaptation, mitigation, finance, technology development and transfer. It was also decided that, before COP 21, each country publicly shared its own Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) for reducing GHG emissions.[2] COP 21 was held in Paris in December 2015 with the issues below standing out:

  • Keeping global temperature increase well below 2 degrees Celsius and limiting such increase to 1.5 degrees as much as possible,
  • Establishing binding commitments by all parties to make and declare their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), and to pursue domestic measures aimed at achieving them,
  • Identifying and minimizing losses and damages resulting from climate change,
  • Committing all countries to report regularly on their emissions and progress made in implementing and achieving their NDCs, and to undergo international review for monitoring progress,
  • Committing all countries to submit new NDCs every five years, with the clear expectation that they will represent a progression beyond previous ones,
  • Getting the developed countries to support the developing countries,
  • Developing a new mechanism to replace the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) under the Kyoto Protocol that will enable emission reductions in one country to be counted toward another country’s NDC,
  • Extending the current goal of mobilizing $100 billion a year in support by 2020 through 2025, with a higher goal to be set for the period after 2025,
  • Requiring parties engaging in international emissions trading to display the required efforts to avoid double counting.

Among the country action plans, the NDCs by the EU, the US and China stand out. The EU declared that the greenhouse gas emission reduction rate would be 40% in all member states. Furthermore, the US declared that it would cut down on its GHG emissions by 26-28% by 2025 against 2005. Likewise, China declared its intention to peak its CO2 emissions by 2030 and then reduce them, to decrease the share of fossil fuels simultaneously, and to lower the carbon intensity of GDP by 60% to 65%.

It is required to take serious steps on global carbon emissions to be effective immediately in order to meet the goals declared in the INDCs and fulfil the 2 degrees Celsius limit in the Paris Agreement. It is expected that the private sector will be given certain sanctions to satisfy the country goals. Such sanctions might emerge in the form of rendering carbon tax, carbon trading markets or emission reduction practices obligatory. Companies would benefit from establishing a much necessary level of readiness on the matter to ensure they are prepared on the way to 2030.

As a start, companies may first measure the carbon footprint from their operations and calculate their total carbon emission. Since using a measurement system based on international standards to do this would guarantee robust outcomes, it is important to see which standard is used in the carbon calculation system.

SıfırKarbon (Zero Carbon) methodology is composed of a series of principles developed by Escarus that allows companies to perform carbon mitigation programs within the framework of simple, scientific and internationally accepted methodologies. SıfırKarbon enables companies to manage the processes on the way to becoming carbon neutral and publicly share their mitigation commitments through SıfırKarbon certification in a transparent manner. National and international standards are taken as basis in the development of principles. In the measurement of greenhouse gas emissions, SıfırKarbon Principles comply with the national regulations on companies and plants, “ISO 14064” and the “GHG Protocol” in the light of IPCC while being in compliance with “PAS 2050” standards for products and services.

In order to cover all matters concerning the measurement of greenhouse gas emissions and the removal of carbon footprint and reflect the differences between these, SıfırKarbon Principles offer 3 different types of certification for organizations, products and services:

SıfırKarbon Kurum (Zero Carbon Organization) involves the activities of identifying the GHG emitting sources of various legal entities, calculating their GHG emissions, identifying the required mitigation strategies, taking internal (mitigation measures) and external (buying carbon credits) action under these strategies, and publicly sharing all efforts through SıfırKarbon Certification.

SıfırKarbon Ürün (Zero Carbon Product) involves the processes of measuring, reporting and mitigating carbon emissions identified in line with the life cycle assessment (LCA) for the products sold and certifying them in order to inform product customers. SıfırKarbon Ürün certification system aims to inform consumers on the negative impact of climate change during both the processes of production and transport of the products they purchased and the process of using such products.

SıfırKarbon Hizmet (Zero Carbon Service) involves the processes of measuring, reporting and mitigating carbon emissions from various operations of companies operating in the services sector or from some operations that companies perform on a micro level and certifying such emissions to inform customers. SıfırKarbon Hizmet specifically aims to calculate and remove GHG emissions from solo activities.

As a second step, companies measuring carbon footprint go for the option of neutralizing (offsetting) such footprint. A carbon offset enables an organization to “sort of” neutralize the carbon it emits by purchasing a carbon credit that is equivalent to the amount of carbon consumed by that organization, is derived from renewable energy projects and shows any carbon emission into the atmosphere is prevented. The credits purchased are provided to renewable energy projects, thus bringing along a contribution to the mitigation of long term carbon emissions.

As part of SıfırKarbon Hizmet, Escarus supports companies to buy carbon credits to offset their greenhouse gas emissions.

The third step is that companies should reduce carbon emissions through efficiency practices in addition to carbon offsets. An initial reduction of unnecessary energy consumption through energy efficiency and the simplification of production in the industry will enable the reduction of carbon emissions. However, it is highly recommended that an expert engineering team is consulted in order to identify the efforts to ensure efficiency in a company or factory in a most accurate manner.

[1] World Bank Carbon Pricing Watch 2015

[2] Turkey shared its INDC with the UNFCCC on October 1, 2015. It is stated in the INDC that Turkey will attain a reduction of up to 21% against the BAU (Business As Usual) baseline until 2030.