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Deloitte acquires two carbon consultancies

Dec 13, 2010 15:46 EST

The Cancun climate talks may have ended inconclusively and chances that the United States Congress will enact a cap on greenhouse gas emissions over the next two years are slim to none, but business still sees money to be made in the carbon market.

On Monday, for instance, Deloitte, the tax and consulting giant, said it has acquired two greenhouse gas consultancies, ClearCarbon Consulting and DOMANI. Terms of the deals were not disclosed.

ClearCarbon, based in Arlington, Va., conducts audits of corporations’ greenhouse gas emissions to calculate their carbon footprints. The firm also performs lifecycle analysis of companies’ supply chains and does due diligence on products’ environmental attributes. ClearCarbon’s clients have included Walmart, NBC Universal and International Paper

DOMANI, based in Denver, advises corporations on energy, carbon and water use.
“Deloitte has identified the sustainability services market as a key growth area,” Jessica Blume, national managing principal for research and innovation at Deloitte, said in a statement. “As an emerging offering, the acquisitions of ClearCarbon and DOMANI will further strengthen Deloitte’s ability to help clients drive value, mitigate business risk, and drive growth, efficiency and innovation through improved environmental, social and financial performance.”

For the time being, Deloitte will brand the companies and their services as “ClearCarbon by Deloitte” and “DOMANI by Deloitte.”

The acquisition comes as big players like IBM beef up their own carbon consultancies and branch out into environmental services involving water, energy and the smart grid.

Deloitte’s move also coincides with California regulators’ expected approval this week of a cap-and-trade carbon market that would launch in 2012.

The market will initially include a dozen types of manufacturing at facilities that emit 25,000 metric tons or more annually of carbon dioxide and the atmospheric warming equivalent in six other greenhouse gases — methane, nitrous oxide, sulfur hexafluoride, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and nitrogen trifluoride. Cement makers, steel plants, petroleum refiners, paper manufacturers and electricity generators are among the industries initially subject to the greenhouse gas regulation.

Each plant’s emissions will be subject to a cap that declines every year. If the volume of greenhouse gases from a facility exceeds the cap, the operator must buy permits from those that have cut their emissions. Initially, 90 percent of the permits will be given free of charge to operators but a share of them will be auctioned as the program proceeds.

That means, of course, that each facility will need help calculating its carbon footprint and devising strategies to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

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