The Steering Committee of the GHG Protocol’s Product and Supply Chain Initiative recently gathered at the offices of the WBCSD in Geneva, Switzerland to review early drafts of two new GHG Protocol standards and make recommendations on the direction of the initiative. The GHG Protocol is producing new standards on both product life cycle and corporate scope 3 (value chain) accounting and reporting.
Since December 2008, seven Technical Working Groups have each been holding bi-weekly conference calls to discuss and formulate recommendations on various technical issues related to the two new standards. These seven groups include over 160 participants from over 20 countries. The groups have collectively held over 40 conference calls between December and March, when the Steering Committee met on March 19-20.
The working groups’ effort and technical expertise was apparent when the seven Technical Working Group Chairs presented proposed requirements of the standards to the Steering Committee over the two days. The Chairs also sought input from the Steering Committee on issues not yet resolved in working group discussions.
Steering Committee members provided much useful guidance that gives the working groups the direction they need to continue with the standards development. Valuable recommendations were provided on topics including the intended goals of the product standard, the appropriate life cycle assessment methodology, data sources in product and value chain analyses, and verification approaches.
“The discussions were candid and thoughtful” stated Steven Meyers of GE “The participants are attacking this issue from a variety of viewpoints, but are really working hard to come up with a tool that meets all of the stakeholders goals.”
As well as GE, Steering Committee members include organizations such as the US Environmental Protection Agency, Wal-Mart, the European Commission, the Carbon Trust, UNEP/SETAC, ISO, UK Defra, the New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the Dow Chemical Company, Environmental Defense Fund, Unilever and the Carbon Disclosure Project.
“CDP is delighted to be involved in this important collaborative development of the GHG Protocol” mentioned Steering Committee member Nigel Topping of the Carbon Disclosure Project. Nigel also cited the importance of creating these standards in order to reduce existing risks. “Whilst the results of our 2008 disclosure cycle demonstrated continued increase in awareness of the importance of scope 3 emissions, there is still a large blind-spot. The disclosure of these emissions and plans is key for investors to be able to understand how well corporate leaders are managing the full range of risks associated with climate change. The Scope 3 standard which will emerge as a result of this collaboration will be a key contribution to managing and reducing these risks.”
The group was also pleased to welcome Dr. Klaus Radunsky as an observer to the meeting, who leads the ISO 14067 standard development process for the carbon footprinting of products.
The Technical Working Group chairs will now take the recommendations from the Steering Committee back to their groups and move forward with advancing their work on the various technical issues. The seven Technical Working Groups will gather next at WRI’s offices in Washington, D.C. over three days at the end of June to build consensus on proposed requirements. The groups will then begin drafting the two new standards between June and September. Drafts of the standards will be released for stakeholder review and comment in the Fall 2009.
For more information or to join the stakeholder advisory group, please visit: http://www.ghgprotocol.org/standards/product-and-supply-chain-standard.