The Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol) is the most widely used international accounting tool for government and business leaders to understand, quantify, and manage greenhouse gas emissions. A decade-long partnership between the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), the GHG Protocol is working with businesses, governments, and environmental groups around the world to build a new generation of credible and effective programs for tackling climate change.
It serves as the foundation for nearly every GHG standard and program in the world - from the International Standards Organization to The Climate Registry - as well as hundreds of GHG inventories prepared by individual companies.
The GHG Protocol also offers developing countries an internationally accepted management tool to help their businesses to compete in the global marketplace and their governments to make informed decisions about climate change.
The GHG Protocol Initiative arose when WRI and WBCSD recognized that an international standard for corporate GHG accounting and reporting would be necessary in light of evolving climate change policy. Together with large corporate partners such as British Petroleum and General Motors, WRI introduced a report called, ‘Safe Climate, Sound Business,’ that identified an action agenda to address climate change, among which included the need for standardized measurement of GHG emissions.
Similar initiatives were being discussed at WBCSD. In late 1997, WRI senior managers met with WBCSD officials and an agreement was reached to launch an NGO-business partnership to address standardized methods for GHG accounting in 1998. WRI and WBCSD then convened a core steering group comprised of members from environmental groups (such as WWF, Pew Center on Global Climate Change, The Energy Research Institute) and from industry (such as Norsk Hydro, Tokyo Electric, Shell) to guide the multi-stakeholder standards development process.
The first edition of The Greenhouse Gas Protocol: A Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard (Corporate Standard) was published in 2001. Since then the GHG Protocol has built upon the Corporate Standard by developing a suite of calculation tools to assist companies in calculating their greenhouse gas emissions and additional guidance documents such as the GHG Protocol for Project Accounting. Additionally, WRI and WBCSD have partnered with governments, businesses, and non-government organizations in both developed and developing countries to promote the broad adoption of the GHG Protocol as the foundation for sound climate change strategies.
In 2006, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) adopted the Corporate Standard as the basis for its ISO 14064-I: Specification with Guidance at the Organization Level for Quantification and Reporting of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Removals. This milestone highlighted the role of the GHG Protocol’s Corporate Standard as the international standard for corporate and organizational GHG accounting and reporting.
ISO, WBCSD, and WRI signed a Memorandum of Understanding on December 3, 2007 to jointly promote both global standards.
WRI and WBCSD, through the GHG Protocol Initiative, works with governments, industry associations, NGOs, businesses, and other organizations around the world to build credible, effective, and robust GHG accounting and reporting platforms that serve as a foundation to address climate change. Lists of our corporate and non-corporate users, funders, and partners are all available on this website.
Since the publication of the first edition of The Greenhouse Gas Protocol: A Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard (Corporate Standard) in 2001, more than 1,000 businesses and organizations worldwide have developed their GHG inventories using the GHG Protocol. Some of the world’s largest companies are using the GHG Protocol’s Corporate Standard. The 2007 Corporate Climate Communications Report of the Fortune 500 companies by CorporateRegister.com reported 63 percent of companies use the GHG Protocol. The Carbon Disclosure Project - a non-profit organization that represents investors with assets totaling $41 trillion worth - regularly surveys the world’s largest companies to assess investment-related risks and opportunities related to climate change using the GHG Protocol as the framework. In 2008, 72 percent of Fortune 500 companies responded to the survey.
The 2010 GHG Workforce Survey from GHG Management Institute and Sequence Staffing found that the overwhelming majority of respondents said GHG Protocol is the second most important climate program after Kyoto Protocol in the successful measurement and management of climate change.