International collaboration starts on measuring and reporting business greenhouse gases

An international group of business, governmental, and environmental organisations has formed a partnership to develop an international protocol for measuring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions from business.

The protocol is intended to help businesses simplify reporting, and improve the credibility, comparability, and usefulness of information. Standardised measurement and reporting is an important first step toward reducing emissions and responding to global climate change.

The group includes Arthur D. Little, BP Amoco PLC, CERES, CEO Coalition to Advance Sustainable Technology, Consolidated Edison Co. of New York, Climate Neutral Network, Enron International, Global Environmental Management Initiative, Global Reporting Initiative, Interface Research Corporation, Norsk Hydro, The Pew Center on Global Climate Change, PowerGen, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, Public Service Enterprise Group, Shell International, ThermoRetec, Tokyo Electric Power Company, Trexler and Associates Inc., United Nations Environment Programme, World Wildlife Fund, World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), and the World Resources Institute (WRI).

The collaboration was announced at a recent kick-off meeting jointly convened by the World Resources Institute based in Washington, DC, and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development based in Geneva, Switzerland.

The group’s initiative will build on the significant progress that has already been made by other climate-related measurement efforts. The group aims to break new ground in the following ways:

  • It will be collaborative, will not simply focus on one country, industry or companies, and involves an open multi-stakeholder process. The results will be linked with broader corporate sustainability reporting practices, such as the Global Reporting Initiative.
  • The group aims to reach agreement on unresolved reporting issues, such as how a reporting entity is defined, which reporting formats, units, and conversion factors to use, how to define measurement and reporting boundaries, and how to relate to national reporting and emissions inventory schemes.
  • The group’s work will provide a foundation for business and others to identify greenhouse gas reduction opportunities, set reduction goals, initiate self-assessment or independent auditing, assess progress, and provide data that enables flexible, market-oriented climate policies.

“A credible and usable standard for measuring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions will help advance climate actions globally,” say WRI’s President Jonathan Lash and WBCSD’s President Björn Stigson in a joint statement. “The ultimate success of the initiative is developing a robust and practical tool that is widely used by companies and others to measure and manage their greenhouse gas emissions. It is dependent on securing input, synergy, and support from a range of key international actors.” To this end, the group welcomes additional partners to join the effort.

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