Inside the Gigaton Awards' Methodology

Akin to an Oscar for climate performance, the first annual Gigaton Awards will recognize the top companies in six sectors for their commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Here's how the winner will be chosen.

Background

The Gigaton Awards are designed to bring prestige and recognition to companies showing leadership in emissions reductions and sustainable practices, thereby engendering more action. The Awards also seek to raise the profile of company actions that are actually making a difference.

In analogy to the Oscars, the Awards recognize best performances by business in major sectors. The launch of the Awards will occur at the World Climate Summit: The Business Conference at COP16, an event hosted by World Climate Limited in partnership with Carbon War Room, among others.

A pool of five nominees across each of six major sectors will be selected based on quantitative data indicating emissions reductions on an annual basis. The actual selection of winners will be made by an independent Academy and based on demonstrated leadership, not solely on quantitative measures.

Selection of Nominees

Eligibility. In this first year of the Gigaton Awards, the pool of competitors for all sectors was restricted to the Global 500 companies, as presented in the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) report for 2010 with the single exception of the Energy sector. Top renewable energy companies not within the Global 500 were considered for the Gigaton Award for Energy in order to more fully represent the supply side of energy-related emissions reductions.

To be eligible, a company must have reported emissions data to CDP for fiscal year 2008 and fiscal year 2009. To be eligible the company must have reported Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions or to offer a valid explanation as to why either Scope 2 or Scope 2 emissions are negligible.

To be eligible a company must have reported no significant change in emissions due to a change in reporting methodology by the company or to have provided data quantifying the emissions reductions attributable to actions by the company versus the reductions attributable to a change in reporting methodology.

To be eligible for consideration, the company must have reduced emissions intensity defined as CO2e emissions per dollar revenue. Furthermore, these emissions reductions must be attributable to actions by the company with regard to resource efficiency, changes in energy sources, or changes in practices or other operations and not to economic conditions, facility consolidation, sale of assets, or other behavior unrelated to business practices and operations.

Finally, eligibility requires available (public) revenue data for the company or appropriate division of the company for large conglomerates, on which to base the emissions intensity calculation.

Selection. Selection of nominees is based on reductions in emissions intensity between fiscal year 2008 and fiscal year 2009, with emissions intensity defined as CO2e emissions per dollar revenue. Within each of the six sectors, companies were ordered based on reductions in emissions intensity. The top five companies that have achieved the greatest reductions in their emissions intensity are the nominees.

The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) is the source of emissions data for fiscal year 2008 and fiscal year 2009. According to its website, CDP has the world's largest database of primary corporate climate change information. Carbon War Room considers CDP the gold standard of carbon disclosure. Revenue data for each year is as publicly reported by individual companies.

In categories with fewer than five companies that reported reductions in emissions intensity, the pool was limited to include only those eligible companies, e.g. in Telecommunications.

Note: as not all emissions reports to CDP are verified by independent third party sources, Carbon War Room has contacted any companies under consideration for nomination in order to provide an opportunity to update emissions data or to withdraw from consideration. Emissions reductions due to decreases in economic activity are at least partially accounted for in the carbon intensity measure used to select nominees. The eligibility criteria discussed above -- requiring that emissions reductions be attributable to resource efficiency, changes in energy sources, or changes in practices or other operations and not to economic conditions facility consolidation, sale of assets, or other behavior unrelated to business practices and operations -- helps eliminate additional companies that did not achieve performance-based emissions reductions.

Selection of Winners

As discussed above, winners are selected by an independent Academy comprised of 30 outstanding global business and civic leaders. Invited members include CEOs of Global 500 companies and prominent civic leaders in the climate change and environmental sustainability movement.

The Academy will be chaired by Jose Maria Figueres, former President of Costa Rica and CEO of the World Economic Forum.

Disclaimers. Carbon War Room fully recognizes that the data available to date regarding emissions reductions is in large part unverified. Furthermore, consistency of reporting practices may result in biases. Every attempt has been made to ensure that companies are being fairly considered in accordance with the eligibility criteria described above. In cases where the data is too close to distinguish between potential nominees, the field of contenders is to be expanded beyond five. In addition, all companies under consideration have been given an opportunity to revise estimates and/or to be removed from consideration for the Awards. Finally, Carbon War Room notes that while Nominee Selection is based on available data regarding quantitative emissions reductions, the selection of the winner will be made based on a much wider assessment and voted for by an independent Academy charged with selecting the company that has demonstrated the most leadership in a given sector. Hence, selection of winners will be ultimately based on leadership profiles and not solely on data or statistics (which are prone to error). Company profiles for each of the nominated companies, provided to the Academy prior to the voting, include information regarding emissions reductions between fiscal year 2008 and 2009, explanation for these reductions, sustainability initiatives underway at the company, and other relevant background information pertaining to environmental leadership at the company. It is also assumed that the nominated companies and their initiatives are, for the most part, known to the panel due to their prominence as Global 500 companies.