New Carbon Accounting Alliance launched in bid to standardise emissions disclosures

More than 30 organisations across the carbon accounting space have rallied behind a new alliance, launched in a bid to standardise emissions calculation and disclosure methodologies, thus making claims and reporting more credible.

New Carbon Accounting Alliance launched in bid to standardise emissions disclosures

The new Carbon Accounting Alliance is being jointly spearheaded by environmental consultancies Planet Mark and ClimatePartner.

It also has the support of more than 30 additional consultancies, auditors, software firms and certifying bodies who collectively measure greenhouse gas emissions for more than 23,000 organisations globally.

The Alliance will engage with policymakers to call for better regulation of carbon emissions disclosures. For example, it has already begun speaking with the UK’s Department for Energy Security and Net-Zero (DESNZ) to ask for clarity on future plans for standardizing emissions disclosures from businesses, beyond the existing Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR) regime.

The Alliance has acknowledged that many businesses will not be able to report emissions without stronger engagement from their landlords or tenants. It is therefore advocating for mandatory emissions, water and waste sharing for commercial rented properties.

Another issue set to be raised with policymakers is education, training and skills. The Alliance recognises that many organisations do not have a professional or team in-house with the necessary carbon accounting skills, presenting an opportunity for the creation of formal qualifications in this field.

In addition to policy engagement, the Alliance will facilitate knowledge-sharing between members and oversee the development of shared methodologies and tools.

“I believe that it’s collaboration, not competition, that will solve this climate crisis,” said Alliance co-founder Emilien Hoet, the managing director of ClimatePartner.

“After continuously advising clients to collaborate in their industry, it only seemed right that I walk the talk. My hope is that the Carbon Accounting Alliance will provide the forum to share challenges and learnings, and positively influence policy, to move faster with collective impact.”

The Alliance has recognized progress in standardising emissions calculations to date, such as the launch of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and the provision of guidance from the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi). However, it has argued that such guidance is still open to interpretation in some cases.

From measurement to impact

An ever-greater number of businesses are measuring and disclosing their emissions on a voluntary basis as mandates continue to emerge in some markets. CDP confirmed this autumn that 23,000 firms now use its disclosure platform, with the majority using the climate disclosure functions.

Yet global private sector emissions as a whole have continued to either plateau or increase each year, aside from the temporary drop recorded during Covid-19 lockdowns.

Concerns are mounting that businesses will fail to deliver their climate targets. Only a quarter of companies disclosing through CDP are on track to reach their emissions targets. And Climate Action 100+ recently published an assessment of 170 of the world’s highest emissions companies revealing that only one in five are reducing their emissions intensity at a rate compatible with a 1.5C temperature pathway.

As such, the new Carbon Accounting Alliance will call on member organisations and the wider profession to use the tools of accounting to deliver direct and meaningful emissions reductions.

“Members recognise that measurement and reporting alone will not solve the climate crisis; it must be coupled with meaningful action,” reads a statement from the Alliance.

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