IBM, Foxconn Aim to Reduce Carbon Emissions in Asia

IBM has teamed up with China's largest electronics exporter, Foxconn Technology, to take charge of expanding the use of GreenCert software, which aims at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

GreenCert was developed by IBM in concert with Enterprise Information Management (EIM) and C-Lock Technology to measure and certify the amount of carbon emissions at a facility. The aim of the software is to prepare organizations for new legislation in many countries meant to reduce greenhouse gases by encouraging them to buy credits to cancel out the carbon they emit. Money paid for the credits, called carbon offsets, will be used to plant trees and for other activities meant to reduce the build up of earth-warming gases.

Foxconn will use the software at its sprawling factories across China, Taiwan and elsewhere, in addition to taking on software localization work and distribution in the Asia Pacific region.

The company has strategic relationships throughout the Asia Pacific region that make Foxconn the right company to take on GreenCert, said company Chairman Terry Gou at a news conference in Tucheng, Taiwan. Those relationships include customers throughout Japan, relationships with government and business leaders in China and the aid of the Taiwan government in launching the plan at home.

"We need to measure our carbon emissions too," he said, adding that his company will use the software and "become the showcase for our industry."

Foxconn is the trade name of Hon Hai Precision Industry, the world's largest contract electronics manufacturer, building gadgets from Apple iPhones and Sony PlayStation 3s to Dell Computers and netbooks. The company hails from Taiwan but most of its factories are located in China.

The company plans to invest US$100 million to $200 million in the GreenCert project, including building and staffing a software development center in the southern Taiwan city of Kaohsiung to take care of software localization work, Gou said.

He said his company, and Taiwan, will both be models for the software. Foxconn will use the software at its facilities around the world to show off its impact, and will work with government officials in Taiwan to spread it throughout the island, where a number of industries operate, from shoe and bike factories to electric plants that burn coal.

Stephen Shu-hung Shen, minister of Taiwan's Environmental Protection Administration, said the island will pass a greenhouse gas reduction act and other legislation requiring companies to cut their emissions over the next few years, highlighting the importance of initiatives such as GreenCert.

He said the EPA hopes to be able to show companies how to save money by reducing emissions.

The Kyoto Protocol, a treaty aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions and signed by over a hundred parties globally, promotes the idea of carbon offsets and the trading of such offsets to reduce global emissions. The protocol puts a price on the amount of carbon emissions a company produces, which then becomes a commodity to trade on world carbon markets.

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