International GHG Protocol is Important Tool for Business

The first Greenhouse Gas Protocol of its kind has been released by the World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

WASHINGTON, DC, US, 2001-11-07 [] The new global standard will enable businesses to uniformly report their emissions of greenhouse gases. Called the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Initiative, the process was developed over three years by a partnership of 350 participants from companies, non-profit groups and governments. “Unlike for financial accounting and reporting, there are no generally accepted international accounting and reporting practices for corporate emissions of greenhouse gases,” explains Kjell Oren, director of WBCSD’s Climate & Energy Program. “GHG Protocol will enable businesses to account and report information from global operations in a way that is consistent with financial reporting standards.” The GHG Protocol addresses the six gases identified by climate treaty negotiators as key contributors to global warming: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulfur hexaflouride (SF6). Climate negotiators to the Kyoto Protocol are meeting in Morocco to discuss the process. “In the future, greenhouse gases will need to be accounted for on a company’s balance sheet in the same way as other assets and liabilities,” adds WRI president Jonathan Lash. “WRI and WBCSD have created an invaluable tool for business and others.” The GHG Protocol provides managers with information on which to build a strategy to manage and reduce GHG emissions. It provides information that complements other efforts, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Leaders Initiative, the California Climate Action Registry, the UK Emissions Trading Scheme, and the World Wildlife Fund Climate Savers Program. The development of the GHG Protocol was guided by two principles: inclusiveness and transparency. Janet Ranganathan of WRI’s Sustainable Enterprise Program says “the number of participants who contributed to the GHG Protocol signals a growing acceptance among business, governments, NGOs, and other stakeholders of the need for action on climate change.” The GHG Protocol was tested by 30 companies in nine countries, including Dow Chemical Canada, Du Pont, Ford Motor, Fortum Power & Heat, General Motors, Hindalco, IBM, Norsk Hydro, Ontario Power Generation, Shell Canada, Tokyo Electric Power and Volkswagen. “The GHG Protocol provides an important global standard for the identification and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions,” adds Paul Tebo of DuPont. The protocol “provides accounting and reporting building blocks that are critical to any emissions trading scheme.” Some governments are taking steps to reduce emissions through voluntary reduction and reporting programs, emissions trading schemes, carbon or energy taxes, or regulations and standards on energy efficiency. However, officials of this protocol say a credible accounting standard is needed to allow business to participate in voluntary initiatives and comply with government regulations.

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