Daniele Pernigotti is one of the leading Italian carbon management experts. He has been representing Italy at the ISO tables that develop environmental management regulations (ISO /TC 207) for over 15 years. In addition to being part of the Strategic Leadership Group of ISO/TC 207, he was the Coordinator of the international working group that developed ISO 14067, the international standard for the calculation of the Product Carbon Footprint (PCF). Having personally guided the development of this important standard allowed him to apply it during construction with a series of case studies, managing to complete the verification of the first 3 PCF SAs in the world, just a few weeks after the publication of the standard.
The company Aequilibria Srl, of which he is chief executive, has also developed and updated the specific sectoral standard for leather studies, called PCR or Product Category Rules, which is the sole reference for the development of PCF. The company already boasts several references in the tanning sector.
In this interview, Daniele Pernigotti explains how and why all companies must start managing CO2 emissions correctly.

Daniele Pernigotti

The European Green Deal foresees the cutting of greenhouse gas emissions, reducing them by 55% by 2030. What does this scenario mean for companies?
“The Green Deal draws a revolutionary scenario both for citizens and businesses. It is not easy to imagine Europe in detail in ten years, but it for sure will be a place where life and work will be completely different from the ones experienced to date, with an increasingly marginal role for fossil fuels. This perspective may seem excessive to some, given how much the entire economy and society is still based on oil today. The same understandable skepticism of those who, not many decades ago, were in line in front of a telephone booth holding a token and could not imagine a scenario where everyone has a wireless phone in his/her pocket capable of making video calls throughout the world. It seems impossible, but we will produce and consume energy in a completely different way and companies cannot keep waiting holding a token”.

Could you briefly explain to us what carbon management is and why it is important?
“Every company aware of the changing scenario of the Green Deal must start managing CO2 emissions as well as other important business variables, such as staff, purchases or production. Until now, for companies fossil fuels have represented a cost related to consumption, but now they have also become an increasing cost for the CO2 emissions that such consumption generates. ETS already exists in Europe, a regulated system involving over 11,000 companies, in which each ton of CO2 emitted beyond the stringent mandatory limits costs around 50 euro. For this reason, ETS has moved from the company’s technical functions to the Boards of Directors, where also “climate risk” is now discussed. An experience that is destined to spread quickly in the coming years in non-ETS companies”.

What are the times and costs to measure the Carbon Footprint of a product or organisation?
“This question is as legitimate as the answer is difficult. A bit like asking for time and costs for building a house, without defining the features of the project. For the Carbon Footprint it is necessary to understand the complexity of the production cycle of the product or the company organisation. On a general level, it can certainly be confirmed that several months of work are required, as well as a company that believes in the path to be taken. The suggestion I dare to make is to carefully choose the partner who will support you in this project. The Carbon Footprint is in a phase of great expansion and many subjects who pretend to have credit are also proposing themselves on the market. In this case the risk is that the famous house is built with straw and blown away by the first gust of wind”.

Reducing GHG emissions brings several benefits to the same companies. What are they?
“Carbon tax, emission trading, border adjustment tax. English terms that describe current and future European policies on carbon management and the expected higher costs, linked to direct and indirect GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions, for those who do not quickly embark on the path of the Green Deal. However, each reduction process must start from the knowledge of the state of affairs, which is obtained with the product or organisation Carbon Footprint. Obviously, those who first understand the need to implement these new logics in the company will also benefit from the market advantages, related to the requests of reference customers, often already very active in these areas”.

The climate transition is the variable of the new competitive scenario of the global market. Why do they talk about opportunities?
“Without doubt, the years that separate us from 2030 are seen by analysts as the decade of the beginning of the climate transition. A revolution awaits us in the production and consumption of energy, in mobility, in the management of the housing stock, in the production of food and, unfortunately, also in the adaptation to climate change that will reshape our society.
A revolution that will mark the history of man like the one made already by the industrial and digital revolutions. There are still those who think they can stop this revolution by persisting in perpetuating the logic of the status quo and without understanding that the non-management of climate risk will end up leaving them holding a token, when even the telephone booths have been dismantled and everyone around him or her moves along with a smartphone.
Acting on these issues is an opportunity today but it will be a necessity tomorrow”.

The interview with Daniele Pernigotti is the fourth service dedicated to Carbon Management published by ARS TANNERY in 2021. For further information please visit the website www.aequilibria.com or write to ernesto.pisoni@giuliana.eu.