The Greenhouse Gas Protocol is the world’s leading authority and international standard-setter on corporate GHG accounting. Over 92% of Fortune 500 companies that report emissions data to CDP do so according to the GHG Protocol accounting standards.
The GHG Protocol Corporate Standard (First edition) was published in 2001 (the Revised Edition in 2004), the Scope 3 Standard was published in 2011, and the Scope 2 Guidance was published in 2015. Since these standards were published, there have been many important learnings and developments including the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), the trend toward net-zero targets, and climate disclosure regulations.
Most recently, on March 21, the United States Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed corporate climate disclosure rules that would require companies to standardize their climate-related disclosures to investors, including specific rules requiring disclosure of scope 1, scope 2, and scope 3 emissions. The SEC rule refers extensively to Greenhouse Gas Protocol standards, building on the foundation provided by Greenhouse Gas Protocol standards over the last 20 years.
Furthermore, corporations have gained extensive experience over the last twenty years, with thousands of companies measuring and reporting their emissions following the GHG Protocol standards. Researchers have also investigated the use and impact of the standards.
In this context, GHG Protocol is starting a process to determine the need and scope for additional guidance building on the existing set of corporate GHG accounting and reporting standards for scope 1, scope 2, and scope 3 emissions. Additional guidance will be designed to support and enhance implementation of the GHG Protocol standards. Furthermore, a key focus will be to ensure harmonization and alignment with accounting rules under development through major disclosure initiatives including the US Securities and Exchange Committee (SEC), European Commission (e.g. EFRAG), and others.
As a first step, researchers at Concordia University in Montréal, Canada will lead studies on current practices in corporate GHG inventory reporting from March to June 2022. Shannon Lloyd, who will lead the study on scope 1 and scope 3, is an assistant professor in the John Molson School of Business at Concordia University, with a focus on corporate environmental practices and their alignment with environmental sustainability. Anders Bjørn, who will lead the study on scope 2, is a postdoctoral fellow at Concordia University studying corporate emission accounting methods and disclosure, with a focus on the link between reported corporate emissions and global emissions.
The research will be followed by a global survey and stakeholder consultations to inform the need and scope of additional guidance. As with all Greenhouse Gas Protocol standards, any additional guidance will be developed through an inclusive, global, multi-stakeholder development process, with participation from business, NGOs, academia, and government worldwide.
Going forward, GHG Protocol plans to publish additional guidelines on an ongoing basis to promote harmonization and support disclosure initiatives based on GHG Protocol.