The workshop concluded that while the GHG Protocol has a solid foundation, improvements are needed to streamline the process and provide clarity to make it more accessible, prescriptive, and consistent.
One of the main areas for improvement is the length and complexity of the guidance. Complexity can lead to inconsistent and unrepeatable reporting which in turn undermines the reported outcomes, so overall, a more concise and prescriptive approach would improve the guidance.
Simple suggestions for clarifying the guidance include (in no particular order):
- Reducing the jargon and summarizing instructions
- Providing a list of examples for categorising out-of-scope emissions
- Providing worked examples and case studies
- Creating a special guide and reporting standard for SMEs, in acknowledgment of the fact that SMEs are increasingly being required to report on their GHG emissions to secure access to supply chains.
- How to treat working from home
Other matters which will require more detailed debate and international agreement include:
- Sector-specific guidance, noting that many sectors are writing their own guidance
- Defining and clarifying control within joint ventures
- Defining and clarifying control for arrangements such as facilities management where ownership of data and control can be blurred
- Guidance for outsourced projects
- Stratifying sample types by typology
- Accounting for embodied carbon
- Providing guidance (and possibly restrictions) on Scope 4 value chain emissions
- Clarity on treatment of market-based and location-based emissions, to avoid the risks of double or under-counting and greenwashing
Developing these more nuanced matters should not escape rigorous debate and clarity of output. As recognised by GHG Protocol, GHG accounting is increasingly being used as the foundation for transition planning. In turn, transition planning is intended to inform financial decision making. As the basis of investment-grade data, GHG accounting must be as rigorous as financial accounting, leaving no space for grey areas.
Posted on 14th March 2023
Written by Chloë Fiddy
Government sets out new strategy for the net zero transition
- 30th March 2023
Task Force for Nature-Related Financial Disclosure (TNFD) beta v.0.4 released
- 28th March 2023
IEMA Meet & Network Sessions
- 23rd March 2023
Government responds to the technical consultation on the Defra Biodiversity Metric
- 21st March 2023
The Chancellor’s Spring Budget and the energy sector
- 15th March 2023
GHG Protocol Guidelines Open to Improvement
- 14th March 2023