Tuesday, 31 August 2010

GHG Protocol completes testing of new standards

image More than 60 companies have completed the road testing of two new GHG Protocol standards. The GHG Protocol is a standard methodology for measuring greenhouse gas emissions developed by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) based on input from businesses, governments and NGOs. It’s the de-facto standard for emissions measurement and is the basis for most emissions legislation.

• Since the launch of the GHG Protocol Corporate Standard in 2001 companies have become proficient at calculating emissions from GHG sources that they own or control (scope 1) and emissions from grid-sourced electricity and the other utility services (scope 2).  Scope 3 – other indirect emissions – covers a variety of activities in the corporate value chain but has often only been reported as business travel.


In the light of increasing interest by reporting companies and increasing demand from stakeholders for scope 3 emissions to be accounted and reported, the new Scope 3 (Corporate Value Chain) Accounting and Reporting Standard methodology has been developed and tested.

• The Product Lifecycle Accounting and Reporting Standard provides a method to account for emissions associated with individual products across their life-cycles. Since for many products, particularly in the IT sector, more energy is used, and emissions generated, in product manufacture than in use, this is of particular interest to potential purchasers.

In all 62 companies from various industry sectors and 17 countries have tested the two standards - ICT companies that participated included Autodesk, BT, Deutsche Telekom, Lenovo, SAP and Siemens. In June, the testers submitted written feedback on their usability along with final GHG inventory reports. (A summary of the feedback is posted on the GHG Protocol website).

The companies that road tested the new Scope 3 standard found it ‘achievable’ to complete an inventory and many companies believe it practical to complete one on an annual basis.

The companies that road tested the Product Life Cycle Accounting and Reporting Standard similarly reported that they had little difficulty completing an inventory and found the guidance provided in the draft helpful.

The next steps will be to revise the standards based on the feedback received, as well as from the Steering Committee and Technical Working Groups. The revised standards will be released at the end of September for a 30 day public comment period. The text will be finalised at the end of 2010 and the final versions will be published by March 2011.


This is useful stuff.  There’s a great need for more comprehensive methodologies for emissions accounting in both these areas and it looks like they’re well on the way now. It will both expand the usability of the GHG protocol as well as helping to standardise reporting. It’s also another factor that will help drive the carbon management software market, as well as adding another challenge to solutions providers to include these new methodologies.

Interestingly, the new standards also seem to have a broader emissions management value. Most of the road testers agreed that the standards help in identifying GHG reduction opportunities and prioritising efforts, allowed better supply chain GHG management, improved understanding of the risks and opportunities associated with emissions in the supply chain and were a factor in creating competitive advantage and product differentiation. So implementing the new methodologies could also lead to more active GHG management across the organisation.

© The Green IT Review

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