BUS 510 – Assignment 2
Like the first exercise, write this in MS Word. #5 is mandatory, and choose 2 more from the remainder (#1,2, 3,4), for a total of 3 questions answered.
1. An important component of implementing a sustainability "plan" includes benchmarking an organization for its current environmental performance status. We applied this to our own lives in class through the online footprint exercises. What did you learn from this exercise? Did anything surprise you? Where did you shine, or not? Be as concrete as possible by including your footprints, the average for U.S. and the world when applicable, and where we need to get to in the long run. Which areas stood out as the most "actionable" in your own case? (and are you going to do it?)
Are there any parallels to organizational level benchmarking? What are some common high impact "problem areas" in organizations when life cycle analysis and environmental and carbon foot-printing is performed? What stands out to you as a typical high impact but doable (and sellable) initial action area across many organizations? Feel free to draw on our numerous readings and from external sources and research.
After completing the two carbon footprint tests, I was surprised to find I am below the US national standard. Under the carbon footprint test through nature.org, I personally expel 19 tons of CO2 per year. At the “Behind the numbers” section of the site, the world pumps 3.2 billion tons of CO2. This amount averages to 5.5 tons of CO2 per person globally. It stated that the average US person expels 27 tons of CO2 per year. As a household, both the nature.org and the UC Berkley CO2 calculator gave the same result. My household, which is my wife and myself, expel 32 tons of CO2 per year. This CO2 amount is also lower than both sites’ stated amounts of CO2 discharge per US household. Nature.org states that the average US household releases 53 tons of CO2. It also states that the average global household releases 11 tons of CO2. The UC Berkley site states that the average US household releases 42 tons of CO2 per year. I also noted that the nature.org site had an option to offset my carbon footprint by paying $20 per ton of CO2. If I paid $380 per year, this organization would plant trees or develop alternative energy programs. It would take 70 years of tree sequestration to realize my offset for each year paid for. I was surprised to see how long this offset would take to be fully realized. I feel like this program showed the gap in “offsetting carbon.” If the timeline for my current year’s released carbon will not end until 70 years from now, I need to start finding ways to reduce my carbon footprint. To reduce my carbon footprint, the nature.org calculator suggested changes I could make to my home, such as better insulation, dedicated energy-saving appliance purchases, and better management of my hot water heater. I can make changes to the way my household travels. My wife and I only take plane trips once a year. These trips are usually short distances. So, I am not able to reduce my carbon footprint by very much in this category. But, I can trim carbon output in my other form of travel: by car. Currently, I drive a 1994 Chevy Blazer that gets roughly 16 mpg. My wife drives a 1995 Subaru Outback that gets roughly 23 mpg. At this time, neither of us does monthly maintenance to the air filter, tires, or any other part of our cars. If we made a dedicated effort, perhaps started a monthly vehicle maintenance journal, to track and maintain just the air filter and tire pressure, nature.org would give me a lower carbon score. Also, when my Blazer reaches the end of its lifecycle, which I think will be soon, and I make a choice to purchase a hybrid vehicle or a vehicle with a mpg of 40 or higher, then I could reduce my carbon score. I also noted that if I can find a way to drive less than 100 miles per year, and I drove a high-mpg car, I would have no