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Climate Change - What Can Businesses Do

The commercial industry can go a long way to help the United States bring down its emissions. This section of EPA's Climate Change site provides examples of the contributions businesses have made towards reducing U.S. emissions; how to educate their industry, consumers, and employees about global warming; and what further steps can be taken to further "lead by example."

Businesses can take a lead role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution by implementing actions that save money, improve productivity, protect the environment and increase the nation's energy security. Leading companies that develop a comprehensive greenhouse gas management strategy and pursue energy efficiency and pollution prevention stand to gain a competitive edge over firms that fail to make these changes.

An increasing number of private firms now see significant opportunities in addressing climate change. Thousands of companies are profiting from energy efficiency improvements in their facilities and operations. Thousands more are positioning themselves to be ready for new markets in energy-efficient products and renewable energy technologies.

Industrial and commercial energy use accounts for nearly 30% of total U.S. green house gas emissions. These emissions primarily result from electricity use, product transportation, burning fossil fuels to power boilers and produce steam, and using gasoline to power vehicle fleets. Some industrial processes also produce greenhouse gases.

Below are specific actions that businesses can take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also saving money.

Manage and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Leading businesses are taking steps to understand and manage their greenhouse gas emissions by preparing annual greenhouse gas inventories and setting long-term targets to reduce emissions. EPA's Climate Leaders program provides technical assistance and recognition to U.S. companies that have joined this program.

Educate

Business representatives can educate themselves, their customers and their suppliers on the possible effects of future climate change. Additional and active information sharing will expand the base of ideas, opportunities and solutions for everyone.

Improve Energy Efficiency

Improving energy efficiency not only reduces greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere, it is good for a corporation’s bottom line, as many U.S. businesses face rising energy costs. Developing and implementing an effective corporate energy management program allows companies to manage energy with the same expertise used to manage other aspects of their business. ENERGY STAR  offers tools and resources to help organizations improve their energy performance. ENERGY STAR's flagship tool, Portfolio Manager, helps companies establish the current energy use of their buildings, and determine reasonable energy savings goals. ENERGY STAR also has resources for small businesses.

Buy Renewable Energy

Your organization’s purchased electricity use can be a significant source of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Buying green power, a subset of renewable energy, can help reduce your organization’s environmental impact while also providing a number of other valuable benefits. EPA's Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program that supports the organizational procurement of green power by offering expert advice, technical support, tools and resources.

Lead By Example

Leading businesses and corporations are evaluated on many aspects of their performance, including product quality, ethics or standing in the community. These leaders can provide a powerful example promoting greenhouse gas reduction strategies through corporate incentives such as financial assistance for employees who use public transportation, car-pooling and even telecommuting. Other "green" practices such as recycling and purchasing recycled materials also contribute to emissions reductions. Corporate policies involving employees and day-to-day operations can have a positive impact on the climate in and outside the office.


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