The Sustainable Corporation: The New Climate Metric – The Sustainable Corporation and Energy

The Sustainable Corporation: The New Climate Metric – The Sustainable Corporation and Energy

By Steven Ferrey

Introduction: The New Vocabulary

A. The Alphabet Starts with "C"

"C" is for "carbon," "climate," and "conundrum." The environmental vernacular at the millennium is shifted forever - "carbon footprint," "offsets," "carbon credits," "RECs," and "carbon neutral." Global warming has enveloped the corporate and collective consciousness.  It is, and will remain, a metaenvironmental metric, crowding out a host of other environmental issues and affecting how corporations will assess their business, their plans, and how they will be measured.  According to David Crane, CEO of NGR Energy Corporation, "this is the defining business issue of our generation."

How far have we come in just a few years? I can bear witness to the quantum leap of the carbon issue into corporate consciousness. In 2004, I was asked to participate in a symposium at William and Mary Law School on the similar topic of the greening of American corporate environmental responsibility. This was an excellent assembly of wonderful speakers from around the United States, yet only one speaker dealt with energy, let alone carbon.

In 2004, "global warming" was not much in the nomenclature of energy policy: the European Union Emission Trading System ("EU ETS") for carbon control - the first carbon control in the world - had not yet launched, the Kyoto Protocol had not yet been ratified by the necessary majority of countries to make it effective, and no one had won a Nobel ...

Purchase the article, The Sustainable Corporation: The New Climate Metric - The Sustainable Corporation and Energy 46 Wake Forest L. Rev. 383 (Fall, 2011).

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Steven Ferrey is Professor of Law at Suffolk University Law School and served as Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School in 2003. Since 1993, Professor Ferrey has been a primary legal consultant to the World Bank and the U.N. Development Programme on their renewable and carbon reduction policies in developing countries, where he has worked extensively in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

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