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RFID and Global Warming

The same technology used to increase operational efficiencies can also save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
By Leslie Downey
New Standards Facilitate Quantification of RFID's Climate Benefits
Despite the lack of U.S. legislation assigning the true costs of fossil fuels to producers rather than to society at large, a growing number of U.S. companies are joining businesses in other countries in reporting greenhouse gas emissions. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued the Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gases Rule, requiring the reporting of GHG data from large sources and suppliers. In 2011, EPA launched a new reporting tool enabling some 7,000 companies within 28 sectors, including power plants, petroleum refineries, and landfills, to submit 2010 GHG pollution data electronically.

For several years, many companies have been voluntarily reporting GHG levels to not-for-profit organizations like the Carbon Disclosure Project, the Global Reporting Initiative and the Climate Registry.

For nearly a decade, the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Initiative, a nonprofit formed jointly by the World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, has been developing standards for the accounting and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions. In October 2011, the organization launched the Product Life Cycle and Scope 3 (Corporate Value Chain) Accounting and Reporting standards. In January 2012, more than 60 corporations throughout 17 nations began road-testing these standards in measuring emissions from products and supply chains. Progress in standards like these will make it easier to show how RFID can make a positive contribution.

Leslie Downey is the principal and founder of RFID Revolution, which provides RFID Essentials, an interactive e-learning program designed to help end-user organizations think more creatively about how they can take advantage of radio frequency identification, and plan successful deployments. The program enables professionals in IT, finance, operations, engineering and other disciplines to quickly learn the basics of RFID, how to use the technology to improve operations and how to find the return on investment.

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