The Greenhouse Gas Protocol is a set of specific ground rules that are followed to curb greenhouse emissions. These standards are used and implemented in CDP and other frameworks relating to ESG. The significance of this protocol can be attributed to the measurements of GHG emissions recorded in the atmosphere.
The rising amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere triggers the effects of climate change. This indicates the growing need for rapid transformation of societies is the only way to curb the impacts. The GHG protocol issues broadly used standards to manage emissions.
The consequences of GHG emissions
In the last few years, there has been an increasing discussion over the concept of greenhouse gases. Human activities are causing serious damage to the atmosphere and ecosystem, which is only increasing day by day.
The uncontrollable emissions of greenhouse gases are one of the major threats to the Earth. Since they are trapped in the atmosphere, they increase the average global temperature. There can be distinguished as Hydrofluorocarbons, Nitrous Oxide, Methane, Sulphur hexafluoride, Perfluorocarbons
- The increase in greenhouse gases has caused the acidification of water bodies and has created a loss of diversity.
- Pollution also hurts health.
- It has also resulted in unnatural and extreme weather conditions in the world.
Table of contents
- The consequences of GHG emissions
- What is GHG protocol?
- GHG Protocol Scope and Boundaries
- Understanding boundaries and how they impact emissions reporting
- Measuring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions
- List of different GHG Protocol Standards
- Here’s our take
What is GHG protocol?
Definition of GHG protocol
The GHG protocol is an international tool for the calculation to measure emissions released by the company easier. It helps to identify, measure, regulate, and take measures for curbing the release of GHG emissions in the air.
The guidelines are used by governments, cities, and organizations to quantify GHG emissions data.
To make it precise, Greenhouse Gas (GHG) protocol is essentially an established standard for private and public organizations and entities. These standards are applicable at all levels of business systems including operations, supply chains, and other systems that deal with climate change.
Why is it important for businesses?
The GHG protocol is important for businesses for several reasons:
- Improved sustainability: Measuring and reporting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions helps businesses identify areas where they can reduce their carbon footprint. This in turn improves their sustainability performance.
- Corporate responsibility: Businesses have a responsibility to their stakeholders to operate in an environmentally responsible manner. Reporting their GHG emissions and taking steps to reduce them can help businesses fulfil this responsibility.
- Regulatory compliance: Many countries have implemented regulations that require businesses to report their GHG emissions. By implementing the GHG protocol, businesses can ensure they are in compliance with these regulations.
- Cost savings: Implementing the GHG protocol can also help businesses identify areas where they can reduce their energy consumption. This can result in cost savings over time.
- Competitive advantage: Businesses that implement the GHG protocol and take steps to reduce their GHG emissions can also gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace, as consumers and stakeholders increasingly prioritize sustainability and environmental responsibility.
GHG Protocol Scope and Boundaries
Overview of the three scopes of GHG emissions
The GHG Protocol categorizes GHG emissions into three different scopes:
GHG Scope 1 emission
Direct emissions from sources that are owned or controlled by the reporting organization. These emissions include emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels, emissions from manufacturing processes, and emissions from on-site waste disposal.
GHG Scope 2 emissions
Indirect emissions from the consumption of purchased electricity, heat, or steam. These emissions are associated with the generation of the purchased energy by an external entity but are considered part of the reporting organization’s carbon footprint.
GHG Scope 3 emissions
Indirect emissions from sources that are not owned or controlled by the reporting organization but are related to the organization’s activities, such as emissions from the production of purchased goods and services, employee commuting, and waste disposal.
Scope 3 emissions are often the largest contributor to a company’s carbon footprint and can be the most difficult to measure, as they are not directly under the control of the reporting organization. However, it is important for businesses to measure and report their Scope 3 emissions to gain a comprehensive understanding of their carbon footprint and identify opportunities for emission reductions.
By categorizing emissions into these three scopes, the GHG Protocol provides a framework for businesses to measure and report their GHG emissions in a standardized and consistent manner.
Understanding boundaries and how they impact emissions reporting
In the context of GHG emissions reporting, a boundary refers to the physical or organizational limit beyond which emissions are not considered to be part of the reporting organization’s carbon footprint. Understanding boundaries is important for accurate emissions reporting because it helps ensure that all relevant emissions are accounted for while avoiding double counting or counting emissions that are not within the reporting organization’s control.
There are three types of boundaries that are typically used in GHG emissions reporting:
The operational boundary defines the physical limits of the organization’s operations, such as the boundaries of a factory or office building. All emissions within the operational boundary are considered to be part of the organization’s carbon footprint.
The organizational boundary defines the organizational limits of the reporting organization. This includes all operations that are owned or controlled by the organization, as well as any joint ventures or subsidiaries.
The product boundary defines the GHG emissions associated with a particular product or service. This includes emissions from the production of the product, as well as any emissions generated during the use or disposal of the product.
The choice of boundary depends on the specific reporting requirements and the goals of the organization. For example, a company may choose to report emissions within the operational boundary to focus on reducing emissions from its core operations. Alternatively, a company may choose to report emissions within the product boundary to provide information on the environmental impact of their products or to comply with customer or regulatory requirements.
Overall, understanding boundaries is an important aspect of GHG emissions reporting, as it helps ensure accurate and comprehensive reporting, which is essential for effective emissions management and reduction.
Measuring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions
The key points to look at include the following points
- Identifying the systems for emitting GHG.
- Categorize them based on their scope.
- Quantify the findings of scope 1 and scope 2.
- Collecting data about the activities causing the emotions.
- Process the information and multiply them by the emission factor.
- Structuring the data about 6 greenhouse gases.
List of different GHG Protocol Standards
The GHG Protocol provides several standards to measure, report, and manage GHG emissions. These standards are designed to provide a consistent and transparent framework for emissions reporting and to enable organizations to benchmark their performance against industry peers. The following are some of the most widely used GHG Protocol standards:
1. Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard
This standard provides guidance on how to measure and report GHG emissions from an organization’s operations, including both direct and indirect emissions. The standard provides a consistent methodology for calculating emissions and includes requirements for verification and reporting. Corporate scope 3 emissions cover 80% of the total corporate emissions. Tracking and comparing becomes difficult for many organizations without standards. To simplify, Scope 3 covers all the activities of the value chain including manufacturing, logistics, and product designs.
2. Product Accounting and Reporting Standard
Carbon emissions from cities account for almost 75% of the total global emissions. This standard provides guidance on how to measure and report the GHG emissions associated with a specific product or service. This includes emissions from the production, use, and disposal of the product.
3. Project Accounting and Reporting Standard
This standard provides guidance on how to measure and report the GHG emissions associated with a specific project or initiative, such as a renewable energy project or a waste reduction program.
4. Scope 3 Standard
This standard provides guidance on how to measure and report Scope 3 emissions, which are indirect emissions that result from activities that are not directly owned or controlled by the reporting organization.
5. Policy and Action Standard
This standard provides guidance on how to develop, implement, and report on GHG emissions reduction policies and initiatives. The standard includes requirements for setting emissions reduction targets, tracking progress, and reporting on results.
By using these standards, businesses can ensure that their emissions reporting is consistent, transparent, and in line with best practices. This can help businesses to identify opportunities for emissions reductions, improve their sustainability performance, and demonstrate their commitment to environmental responsibility.
Here’s our take
A GHG accounting system has the potential to be integrated into accounting systems so that suppliers can include their Scope 1 emissions, as well as any Scope 2 and 3 emissions embedded in their products, in their invoices. Customers can then input this information into their accounting system. While these suggestions are idealistic and may face challenges in implementation due to stakeholder agreement, they offer a possible path forward for improving the GHG accounting system. Even partial progress toward implementing these solutions would be beneficial.
What is GHG Protocol?
GHG Protocol is a standardised framework for measuring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions.
What is the objective of the GHG Protocol?
The objective of the GHG Protocol is to provide a consistent and transparent framework for emissions reporting and to enable organisations to benchmark their performance against industry peers.
Who sets GHG Protocol?
The GHG Protocol was developed by the World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.
Is GHG Protocol mandatory?
No, GHG Protocol is not mandatory, but many organisations choose to use it to track and report their emissions.
Who is required to report GHG?
Reporting requirements vary by country and industry, but many large companies are required to report their GHG emissions to regulatory bodies or industry associations.
How are GHG emissions tracked?
GHG emissions are tracked by measuring emissions from various sources, such as energy use, transportation, and waste, and converting them to a common unit of measurement, such as carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e).
What are scope 1 2 and 3 carbon emissions?
Scope 1 emissions are direct emissions from sources that are owned or controlled by the reporting organisation. Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions from purchased electricity, heat, or steam. The Scope 3 emissions are indirect emissions from sources that are not owned or controlled by the reporting organisation.
What are the 7 gases in GHG Protocol?
The GHG Protocol considers seven different types of greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), and nitrogen trifluoride (NF3).
What is the main source of GHG emissions?
The main source of GHG emissions is the burning of fossil fuels for energy, including transportation, electricity generation, and heating.
How many scopes are there in GHG Protocol?
There are three scopes in the GHG Protocol: Scope 1, Scope 2, and Scope 3.