The Greenhouse Gas Protocol

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol is a widely-used standard for measuring and managing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It is a collaboration between the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), who first introduced the protocol in 1998. Since then, it has become the most widely used GHG accounting standard in the world.

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol provides a standardised methodology for measuring and reporting GHG emissions. It is designed to be used by companies, organisations, and governments to measure and manage their GHG emissions, as well as to help them set targets for reducing their emissions. The protocol covers all six of the main GHGs: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6).

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol consists of two parts: the Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard, and the Project Accounting and Reporting Standard. The Corporate Standard provides guidelines for companies to measure and report their GHG emissions from their operations, while the Project Standard provides guidelines for measuring and reporting GHG emissions reductions from specific projects.

The Corporate Standard sets out a framework for GHG accounting and reporting that includes three scopes. Scope 1 emissions are direct emissions from sources that are owned or controlled by the company, such as emissions from combustion of fossil fuels in boilers or vehicles. Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions from the generation of purchased electricity, heat, or steam. Scope 3 emissions are all other indirect emissions that occur in a company’s value chain, such as emissions from the production of purchased materials or the transportation of products.

The Project Standard provides guidance for GHG accounting and reporting for specific project types, such as renewable energy projects or energy efficiency projects. It includes methodologies for calculating GHG emissions reductions and provides guidance on how to report on these reductions.

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol has played a significant role in driving companies and organisations to measure and manage their GHG emissions. It has provided a common language and methodology for GHG accounting and reporting, which has made it easier for companies and organisations to compare their emissions with those of others and to set meaningful targets for reducing their emissions. As the world continues to grapple with the challenges of climate change, the importance of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol will only continue to grow.