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Hot Climate, Cool Commerce

A Service Sector Guide to Greenhouse Gas Management

A guide on managing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that details the various steps necessary to manage, track, and reduce GHG emissions.

Executive Summary

Climate change is a global challenge with serious consequences for our social and economic infrastructure as well as the natural environment. The greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that cause climate change are emitted mainly from burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas. Because heavy industry is a leading source of GHG emissions, most of the business-focused programs responding to the problem emphasize participation by "emitters", manufacturers and utilities. Action by industry alone, however, is not enough. Long-term solutions require emission reduction efforts by the entire economy, and this publication addresses service-sector companies such as banks, law firms, retailers, and real estate managers. Even though they are not considered large emitters, these companies do emit GHGs and can help mitigate climate change through changes in their energy use and the products and services they offer.

Service-sector companies contribute to climate change through their electricity use, heating, cooling and travel. They have an opportunity to influence their operations, supply chains, customers, employees and other stakeholders to help change those behaviours necessary to curb the most dangerous effects of climate change. This guide provides a brief overview of climate change science and expected impacts, the connection between climate change and the service sector and discusses the business case for action. This is followed by the core of the guide which is a practical, step-by-step manual for service-sector businesses ready to begin responding to climate change.

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