Last week marked another milestone in disclosing the World Bank Group’s environmental performance and setting the standard for transparency by multilateral development organizations. World Bank president Robert Zoellick was the key commentator for the Carbon Disclosure Project’s 2010 Global 500 report. It is the world’s largest database of institutional carbon footprint. The World Bank Group (WBG) is the only Multilateral Development Bank to report to this forum.
Seven years after the Global 500 report was first launched, participation is beyond just ``looking good’’ for corporations. This annual exercise has become an accountability issue for corporations―investors are demanding these carbon footprint figures to assess their risks and opportunities. Investors are moving towards sustainability and the Climate Disclosure Project (CDP) is proving to be an effective benchmarking tool that guides investment choices and aligns incentives for low-carbon growth. It is a win-win for corporations too, because when they accurately know their greenhouse gas emissions, they can better manage them. The 2,500 organizations that participated in this exercise account for a total of 11% of global direct GHG emissions.
The WBG began to report its own emissions to the CDP in 2009, and that year became globally carbon neutral for its internal business operations. We did this to be aligned with our development message and because World Bank’s shareholders sought the same standard of behavior from us as from the world’s largest corporations. We had already been collecting and reporting data from our 200+ offices around the world on both our direct and indirect emissions since 2006. The findings showed that in 2009, the WBG’s global carbon footprint from internal business operations was about 186,776 metric tons of CO2, of which business travel was the largest contributor. Various initiatives are underway to reduce our impact and become carbon-neutral in our operations through a combined strategy of energy efficiency and reduction measures, carbon offsetting, and green power purchases.
In our operational work, we draw upon the Strategic Framework on Development and Climate Change. The International Finance Corporation (IFC) estimates GHG emissions for its projects and is in the process of developing GHG intensity metrics for all its investments and lending. At the World Bank, 10 pilots are currently underway in different countries around the world for developing project-specific methodologies for GHG analysis in sectors as diverse as energy, transport and forestry sectors.
Disclosing carbon is a powerful tool and the list of companies and institutions reporting will only grow as the world demands sustainable investment choices.