Greenhouse Gas Emissions

For the fourth consecutive year, investments in renewable energy certificates and carbon offsets helped balance 100 percent of Verisk’s reported scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions.

Verisk conducts its annual emissions inventory in accordance with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, a globally recognized standard developed in conjunction with the World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. For 2020, Verisk once again balanced 100 percent of its global scope 1, 2, and 3 (business air travel) emissions through a combination of purposeful energy reduction initiatives and investments in renewable energy certificates (RECs) and carbon offsets.

External assurance of our emissions was provided by an independent third party, and the emissions were reported as part of Verisk’s response to CDP’s annual climate change questionnaire. Learn more about our results and view our emissions history.

Renewable energy certificates (also known as energy attribute certificates) are tradable, non-tangible energy commodities that represent the environmental benefits of generating 1 megawatt-hour (MWh) of renewable energy. Verisk purchased RECs representing more than 28,000 MWh of electricity during 2020, supporting renewable energy projects—wind, hydro, and solar—in almost every country or region where we have offices. The largest projects included the Persimmon Creek Wind Farm in the United States, the Kype Muir Wind Farm in Scotland, the Allain Duhangan hydropower plant in India, and the Gros-Morne Wind Farm in Canada.

Carbon offsets support emissions reductions that take place outside the company’s operations, each one representing a metric ton of carbon and carbon equivalents avoided or reduced. For 2020, Verisk used them to offset nearly 5,000 metric tons of emissions. The offsets were generated by efforts to reduce emissions at landfills in Illinois and Virginia.

Third parties, including Green-e Energy, the International REC Standard, and the Verified Carbon Standard, certified all projects according to international standards.

While we’ve implemented many important energy-saving initiatives during the recent past, investing in RECs is a practical option for a company of Verisk’s size and circumstances that doesn’t own its facilities and therefore is unable to produce or purchase renewable energy directly. Together with carbon offsets, the investments represent an immediate step forward, helping balance Verisk’s greenhouse gas emissions for the near term to a degree that the company couldn’t achieve otherwise.

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Many initiatives have helped reduce our greenhouse gas emissions during the recent past:

  • completing major office renovations in our Jersey City headquarters, leading to a LEED (Gold) designation for Commercial Interiors
  • migrating data processing activities to Verisk’s eastern and western data centers, both LEED (Gold) certified, and taking advantage of processing efficiencies offered by cloud services
  • consolidating operations where possible, including various offices in Beijing, Boston, London, New York, San Francisco, and Singapore
  • improving fuel efficiency in our automobile fleet over a series of years

Verisk has committed to reduce its Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 2024.

Building on the progress achieved to date, Verisk has committed to a 21% reduction in its Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 2024, compared to a 2019 baseline.

Progress against the targets will be measured on a “location basis”— that is, before applying RECs or carbon offsets. Doing so requires us to take concrete steps to reduce our absolute emissions as much as we can. Although the effects of the pandemic on offices and in-office attendance are likely to reduce our Scope 1 and 2 emissions temporarily, we remain focused on implementing meaningful physical and operational changes that will have long-term impact. Some are already in motion, such as the consolidation of multiple Verisk offices in Boston and London into new, energy-efficient business centers and the strategic realignment of our data management activities to take advantage of the major efficiencies presented by cloud processing.

In selecting the targets, Verisk collaborated with Ecometrica, an accomplished leader in the field of sustainability metrics software and services. Ecometrica has supported Verisk’s GHG accounting and CDP reporting since 2017. They quantified various approaches using the latest Science Based Targets (SBT) guidance. Verisk adopted targets aligned with the 1.5°C global future, calculated in accordance with SBT’s absolute contraction approach. To ensure consistency, the baseline year has been adjusted to reflect the full-year effects of acquisitions and divestitures made at various points during 2019.