Climate Leaders is an EPA industry-government partnership, started in 2002, in which participating companies voluntarily assess their greenhouse gas emissions, set reduction goals and report their progress to the EPA every year. It has enabled companies to create a credible record of their achievements and receive EPA recognition as corporate environmental leaders.
Close to 200 companies were partners, with a not inconsiderable ICT contingent, including Alcatel-Lucent, AMD, Autodesk, CA, Cisco, Dell, EMC, IBM, Intel, LSI, NCR, Oracle, SAP, Sprint-Nextel, Sun, Symantec, Teradata and Yahoo!
The EPA is encouraging the participants to move to other state or non-governmental programs. The organisations points out that there is now a mandatory greenhouse gas reporting rule that took effect on January 1 and several states and NGOs now offer climate programs.
There has been some criticism of the move from those that see it as the EPA moving from an encouraging and supporting role to one of regulatory authority. But their are a lot of other organisations, sometimes industry-based, that bring together companies to share experiences in becoming greener. In the IT industry, for example, there is the Climate Savers Computing Initiative which looks beyond internal emissions to encourage ICT vendors to produce products that lead to reductions in emissions in the economy as a whole.
In any case, for many companies counting and reducing emissions will soon cease to be a voluntarily action but something mandated by legislation or required by customer and shareholder pressure. The world is changing.