Targeted at reducing the environmental impact of a utility’s supply chain, the Electric Utility Industry Sustainable Supply Chain Alliance has developed a set of voluntary standards based on input from suppliers, non-Alliance electric utilities, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Edison Electric Institute, and environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The voluntary standards also include guidance from a number of environmental standards including the Global Reporting Initiative and the Carbon Disclosure Project.
The non-profit alliance says the voluntary standards define best practices to help non-fuel suppliers assess the environmental performance of their companies and utilities, and the environmental performance of their supply chain operations. Members of the alliance may incorporate the standards on a voluntary basis. The Alliance will conduct an annual survey to track performance and results against these best practices.
The alliance is using the voluntary standards as the basis for sample questions that members may include in requests for proposals to suppliers on a voluntary basis. Draft sample questions are posted at the web site.
The Alliance is also developing voluntary environmental standards for products and services purchased by electric utilities, starting with wood poles, transformers, and wire and cable.
With the need to reduce the nation’s dependence on fossil fuels and cut greenhouse gas emissions, electric utilities are also looking at carbon capture technology. In January 2009, five electric utilities in the U.S. and Canada joined the Electric Power Research Institute to host studies on the impact of retrofitting carbon capture technology to existing coal-fired power plants.
A recent study, sponsored by the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) and conducted by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), evaluates how electric utilities around the globe currently measure and manage carbon dioxide emissions, and compares the level of disclosure and quality of planning among individual utilities for reducing carbon dioxide emissions.