In a first for an Australian MBA program, Griffith University’s MBA has offset the effect of its greenhouse gas emissions following a comprehensive and complex assessment of its emissions from July 2012 to June 2013.
A total of 433 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2-e) was attributed to the operations of the MBA program at the end of the 12-month assessment. This total was offset through the purchase of certified carbon credits from three Asian-based projects supporting renewable energy and waste gas recovery.
The carbon credits cover a bundled wind power project in India (194 credits), a small scale hydropower project in China (152) and a gas recovery project in Indonesia (87).
“This is an important move for the Griffith MBA as it is a move consistent with the core values of our MBA program,” MBA Director, Associate Professor Nick Barter, said.
“In selecting projects in India, China and Indonesia we engaged with three major Asian economies as is congruent with the program’s Asia-Pacific focus.”
The Griffith MBA has set itself apart through its three core values – responsible leadership, sustainable business practice and global orientation.
“Climate change is happening and it is crucial that we all face up to its reality,” Associate Professor Barter said.
“By offsetting the impact of our carbon emissions, we are showing the type of leadership we want to imbue in our students. It is also a tangible, meaningful move to mark the build-up to the climate change conference in Paris at the end of the year.”
Global leaders will attempt to hammer out an agreement on climate change at a major summit in December.
The assessment of Griffith MBA’s greenhouse gas emissions was carried out by Pangolin Associates, an Australian-owned energy and carbon management consultancy, and examined six activity sectors of the MBA’s operations.
The largest contributing sector was Utilities which accounted for 361.1 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents. Electricity consumption made up 83.4% of this sector’s total, with internet and telecommunication also contributing.
The other activity sectors assessed were waste (16.2 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents), transport fuels (7.7) equipment (2.2), third party services (39.4) and business flights (6.4) which totalled 26,136 passenger kilometres.
The equipment sector included paper, recycled paper and stationery, while third party services included marketing (incorporating digital and print media), advertising, outsourced printing and cleaning services.
Using equivalent measurement units, the report revealed that electricity used in MBA operations was the equivalent of 127 tonnes of coal combusted in the same year. Energy consumed through transport and stationary sources was the equivalent of 18 barrels of oil combusted in that year.
The greenhouse gas emissions generated by MBA operations was the equivalent of 114 cars travelling the national average distance in a year. The estimated resultant global temperature rise from the program’s greenhouse gas emissions was equivalent to 6.5E-10 degrees centigrade.
The assessment identified the key areas of the MBA’s operations that were responsible for significant contributions to its emissions total, and proposed the development of an Emissions Management Plan.
“It’s our plan to audit the operations of the MBA going forward and to continue to offset appropriately while also finding ways and implementing strategies to reduce our carbon footprint,” Associate Professor Barter said.
“We have embraced the idea of an Emissions Management Plan and our next steps will be to set up a carbon reduction target, and embed carbon and energy management systems in the workplace and through the operations of the program.”
The report suggested a range of suggestions for improved management of energy usage. These included sourcing electricity from renewable resources; using video-conferencing to cut air travel; ensuring newly-procured equipment carries the energy star rating; using online methods only for payment and communication around bills and invoices; referencing government and industry toolkits; and replacing standard T8 fluorescent lighting with lighting that does not involve as much heat loss.
“Stakeholders of organisations, governments and the general public are increasingly calling for corporate disclosure of greenhouse gas information,” Associate Professor Barter said.
“The best way to influence the behaviour of others is to set an example. A good policy is to encourage all staff members to think green by applying greener and more energy efficient methods in the workplace.”