EPA Supports Ceres to Expand its Facility Reporting Project
The Ceres coalition announced today it has received support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to conduct additional pilot projects under its Facility Reporting Project (FRP). FRP aims to improve sustainability reporting and performance at individual facilities across the country.
Under a contract between EPA's National Center for Environmental Innovation (NCEI) and the consultancy Industrial Economics, Ceres will work with up to seven member facilities of the Agency's National Environmental Performance Track program. Volunteer facilities will have an opportunity to gain no-cost technical assistance from Ceres to create facility-level environmental reports. Through these pilots, NCEI aims to further explore the relationship between environmental data collection, reporting and performance.
Ceres launched the Facility Reporting Project as a way to create a generally-accepted, consistent and credible sustainability reporting framework that companies and other organizations can use at the facility level. Such reporting can also support performance-focused regulatory and voluntary arrangements, including participation in NCEI's Performance Track program. The EPA-supported venture focuses on the environmental reporting component of the framework.
"This new venture is a key milestone in Ceres' efforts to bring the Facility Reporting Project to as many companies and facilities as possible," said Mindy S. Lubber, president of Ceres. "We're already pilot testing this new program at a half-dozen facilities across the country. Working with the EPA opens the door to much broader participation and greater ability for reporting to help drive facilities' environmental performance."
"The Facility Reporting Project is consistent with EPA's interest in examining the benefits of improved environmental measurement and reporting. In particular, FRP is testing the premise that such improvements can enable facilities to identify a broader array of opportunities for simultaneously achieving financial and environmental benefits. Additionally, we are interested in seeing how improved environmental measurement and reporting can build trust and cooperation between the public and reporting organizations," said Jay Benforado, EPA's Director of NCEI.
Ceres and the Tellus Institute launched the FRP in 2002 as a multi-stakeholder effort to help companies improve their reporting and performance on sustainability challenges such as global climate change. The project builds on Ceres' experience in launching the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) in the late 1990s. The GRI's Sustainability Reporting Guidelines have since become the de-facto international standard for corporate reporting on economic, social and environmental performance. Today, more than 700 companies worldwide follow the GRI Guidelines in their public reporting on sustainability issues. The GRI is now an independent international institution.
EPA's five-year-old Performance Track program encourages and rewards facilities that achieve better environmental performance than is required under existing regulations. Member facilities receive recognition, streamlined administrative and regulatory requirements, and other benefits.