The environmental legacy of the Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games has been strengthened thanks to a new report prepared by the Carbon Trust, looking at the international carbon flows of embodied greenhouse gas emissions in Russia’s products and services.
The report was commissioned under the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Global Environment Facility (GEF) project Greening 2014 Sochi Olympics: A Strategy and Action Plan for the Greening Legacy, and co-sponsored by the British Embassy Prosperity Fund through the project Russian export carbon intensity and risks associated with lack of reporting capacity.
The report details the impact of the carbon flows associated with the Russian Federation’s international trade, as well as demonstrating the importance of quantifying embodied carbon flows for the Russian economy.
Following in the footsteps of previous Olympic Games, most recently London 2012, there is a drive from the organisers to ensure not only that the direct operations of the games are sustainable, but that there are also positive long-term environmental impacts across wider society.
The issue of embodied emissions is growing in importance as businesses and governments around the world take greater care to reduce their own environmental impact. This increases expectations for international suppliers to provide information on the environmental performance, and can influence purchasing decisions.
Russia is the world’s fourth largest emitter of greenhouse gases, with exported carbon accounting for around a quarter of Russia’s total emissions. A particular focus of the report’s analysis was on commodities, as these make up over three-quarters of Russia’s embodied emissions, with detailed discussion on the aluminium and steel sectors.
Excessive embodied emissions can have negative trading impacts. For example European Union steel is estimated at 1.3 tonnes of CO2 per tonne, whereas Russian steel is estimated at 1.7 tonnes CO2 per tonne. This significant difference in embodied emissions is likely to be a consequence of the technology used in production. Purchasing companies looking to source lower-carbon steel will therefore tend to prefer European steel.
The report was presented recently in advance of the Sochi games at a roundtable event in Moscow to a large group of senior stakeholders from Russian business, government and NGOs. The Carbon Trust recommended that Russia:
- Improve data quality and collection on greenhouse gas emissions across key sectors.
- Design simple and internationally credible new policies or schemes to deliver economic advantages for Russian companies in domestic and export markets.
- Give specific attention to the subject of measuring, reducing and reporting emissions associated with embodied carbon.
- Work with key Russian companies and sectors to pilot methods to measure the embodied greenhouse gas emissions within their products, conducted following established and internationally recognised standards.
- Introduce a full scheme for the measurement of embodied emissions following the pilot studies.
- Develop a methodology and calculation tools to support the companies to measure and report in an accurate and consistent manner.
The Sochi games are a time when the eyes of the world will be on Russia. This is a fantastic opportunity for Russia to show the rest of the world how it is addressing the challenge of climate change by undertaking ambitious action that is backed up with credible data. Companies across Russia can take part in this challenge by providing high-quality reporting data, which is part of a global trend we are seeing where businesses are being far more open and transparent with environmental information. This trend, which is transforming supply chains, has the potential to boost Russia’s export markets and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
- Dr Paul Taylor, Consultant at the Carbon Trust
Notes to Editors
About the Carbon Trust:
The Carbon Trust is an independent company with a mission to accelerate the move to a sustainable, low carbon economy. The Carbon Trust:
- advises businesses, governments and the public sector on opportunities in a sustainable, low carbon world
- measures and certifies the environmental footprint of organisations, products and services
- helps develop and deploy low carbon technologies and solutions, from energy efficiency to renewable power