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Case Study: Valero Energy Corporation

Nationwide verification of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Background
ERM was retained by Valero Energy Corporation (Valero) to verify greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and to provide a public assurance statement for inclusion in Valero’s Annual Report, or webpage. The need for third party verification was to meet shareholder expectations.

Valero has been tracking GHG emissions since 2003 and has chosen 2003 as the baseline year against which to measure performance. The verification covered reporting year 2005 emissions.

ERM’s Approach
Utilizing the GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard, “The Standard” (The Greenhouse Protocol Revised Edition 2004-World Resources Institute/World Business Council for Sustainable Development), ERM conducted a corporate systems review parallel with an operational system (refinery) review. We reviewed all 2005 corporate GHG emissions data and analyzed input data at an operational level to assess the accuracy of the inventories.

The process included visiting five Valero refineries for the purpose of:

  • Conducting interviews of key staff to understand the input data, methodologies, and any assumptions made in calculating GHG emissions;
  • Evaluating reporting methodologies in line with “The Standard”; and
  • Reviewing data systems and reporting processes.

The visited refineries were Benicia, California; Delaware City, Delaware; Corpus Christi1 (East and West plants), Texas; and, Wilmington, Delaware.

Benefits to the client
Upon completion of the verification, ERM issued a Verification Statement to Valero, in addition to a report detailing findings and recommendations stemming from the verification process. In the Verification Statement and report, ERM commented on the integrity of Valero’s GHG emissions inventory with respect to materiality, completeness, and responsiveness. ERM identified gaps in individual refinery inventories and areas for improvement for each of the refineries visited. ERM ultimately recommended the development and implementation of an Inventory Management Plan (IMP) to establish consistency and greater reliability in the processes involved in GHG emissions inventory creation at the refinery level and reporting at the corporate level.

Follow Up
Since ERM’s verification, Valero has implemented an IMP and is currently involved in developing most recent GHG emissions inventories at the refinery level. 


1For the purpose of this effort, Corpus Christi was considered as two refineries. 

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