Standards for Sustainability Reporting
There are a number of standards and protocols for conducting sustainability reporting. The main internationally recognised standards for reporting climate change-related impacts include the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), and Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). The GHG Protocol is a globally recognised organisation that develops frameworks for measurement and management of GHG in the public and private sectors. Standards developed by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol serve as a common ground for many reporting systems and certification programs.
The GHG protocol provides standards at various organisational levels, of which the most commonly used include:
- Corporate Standard: The GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard provides requirements and guidance for companies and other organisations, such as NGOs, government agencies, and universities, that are preparing a corporate-level GHG emissions inventory.
- Product Standard: The Product Standard can be used to understand the full life cycle emissions of a product and focus efforts on the greatest GHG reduction opportunities. This is the first step towards more sustainable products.
- Corporate value chain (scope 3) standard: The Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Standard allows companies to assess their entire value chain emissions impact and identify where to focus reduction activities.
- Project Protocol: The GHG Protocol for Project Accounting is the most comprehensive, policy-neutral accounting tool for quantifying the greenhouse gas benefits of climate change mitigation projects.
Scope 1, 2 & 3 Reporting
Emissions are generated from all kinds of activities: from energy use and land clearing, to waste management and services purchased. GHG emissions are usually divided into three categories:
- Scope 1 – Direct emissions: these come directly from an activity or action like burning fuels in a car, boiler, or stove.
- Scope 2 – Indirect energy emissions: these come from the generation of acquired and consumed electricity, steam, heat, or cooling. An example of this is the burning of coal or gas at a central power station to generate electricity.
- Scope 3 – Other indirect emissions: these are emissions that occur in the up- or downstream processes of a supply chain. This could be the extraction of raw materials, production of food, transport, or waste treatment.
Each of these categories is further divided into sub-categories for which the specific carbon dioxide equivalent CO2eq. can be calculated. The GHG protocol does not require reporting on all categories, but calculating the emissions for the most prominent categories within the business operations is critical to get a realistic view of the organisations carbon footprint.
The division of emissions between the categories is reliant on the perspective of the point of measurement. The distinction between these various integrated activities is sometimes unclear. Therefore, it is very important to be precise in categories and what to include in them. That is why standards have been developed to help companies, authorities, and even individuals navigate through accurate GHG accounting. They define the main concepts connected with a carbon footprint, divided the emission into Scope 1, Scope 2, and Scope 3, and help the user navigate through the GHG inventory process.
Ecomatters provides sustainability support in many capacities. Our strategic advice, target-setting and reporting service can help you ensure that your organisation’s reporting meets regulatory requirements as well as your corporate objectives. We support companies in determining how best to implement the GHG gas protocol in their organisational structure and how to calculate the carbon emissions to comply with the chosen GHG Protocol standard.
It is our priority to work closely with you to go beyond the numbers and make sustainability mean something productive for your business. In order to offer effective support, we are up to date on the global standards for emissions and carbon calculation methods. These methods include also the Carbon Disclosure Project, and the various LCA ISO standards.
Our experts can:
- Support in understanding which GHG Protocol standard is relevant and how best to implement it in the company
- Design and support in corporate carbon reporting systems, compliant with the GHG Protocol
- Help your organisation measure carbon emissions under your direct control (scope 1 and 2 emissions) as well as your organisation’s indirect (scope 3) emissions
- Value chain analysis, development of customised tools and marketing activities
- Support in calculations of the environmental footprint of products or the organisation
- Support in the review or audit process of sustainability reporting as part of the annual report.
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