Public Sector Protocol

Interpreting the Corporate Standard for U.S. Public Sector Organizations

Government organizations worldwide have identified the need to start tracking and managing their greenhouse gas emissions, both to demonstrate environmental leadership and to prepare for future reporting policies and regulations. The operations of public sector organizations represent a substantial source of GHG emissions worldwide; in the US, the federal government collectively is the largest single emitter.

Building off 10 years of success in working with the corporate sector, the GHG Protocol has developed accounting guidance that interprets the principles from the Corporate Standard for the unique structures and needs of U.S. government operations at the federal, state and local level. As a flexible framework designed to help measure and manage GHG emissions, the protocol serves as a background reference for implementing Executive Order 13514, which President Obama signed on October 5, 2009. The Executive Order requires federal agencies to report and reduce their GHG emissions over time. The Executive Order requires federal agencies to report and reduce their GHG emissions over time.

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About the Public Sector Protocol

To develop the case studies and best practices featured in the protocol, WRI and LMI convened a stakeholder group with over a hundred federal, state, and local government managers and contractors, as well as leaders from voluntary GHG reporting programs. The result is that the protocol offers guidance on key areas of concern for government inventories, including:

  • Identifying direct and indirect emissions sources
  • Accounting for emissions from leased assets
  • Estimating emissions from supply chains
  • Consistently tracking emissions over time with departmental restructuring
  • Ensuring high data quality Setting reduction targets.

The Protocol also recommends that local governments consult the Local Government Operations (LGO) Protocol for guidance that is compatible with the Public Sector Protocol and specific to city, county and municipal organizations. The LGO protocol was developed jointly by The Climate Registry, the California Climate Action Registry, the California Air Resources Board and ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability.

About LMI 

LMI is a government consulting firm committed to helping government leaders and managers reach decisions that make a difference. As a not-for-profit organization, LMI is a trusted advisor to the government—free from commercial or political bias and dedicated to the mission of advancing government management.

Corporate Standard
The GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard provides requirements and guidance for companies and other organizations, such as NGOs, government agencies, and universities, that are preparing a corporate-level GHG emissions inventory.

Supporting Documents

Background Information
Past Documents and Drafts
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