Preparing for the New GHG Emissions Reporting Protocols

As we get ready for what some call “Reporting Season,” the World Resources Institute (WRI) has provided us with a new way to report Scope 2 GHG emissions from purchased electricity, steam, heat and cooling.  In January 2015, they published the GHG Protocol Scope 2 Guidance, an amendment to the GHG Protocol Corporate Standard. The revised guidance applies to data going forward from 2015, and will be required by CDP in responding to their 2016 questionnaire. Therefore, it is important to consider how to meet the requirements for the first time this year.

What changed and why?
The biggest change introduced in the Scope 2 Guidance is the requirement for “dual reporting.” In the past, companies have typically calculated their Scope 2 emissions based on location-based emission factors, such as e-GRID in the United States. Accounting methods for other information such as energy attribute certificates (e.g., RECs), power purchase agreements and supplier-specific emission rates have been less uniform among reporters. Some companies adjusted their location-based Scope 2 emissions by subtracting avoided emissions, others adjusted their emission rates to calculate their Scope 2 emissions and still others treated green power purchases as donations rather than adjusting their reported Scope 2 emissions. The new guidance provides a common method by now requiring reporting of both “location-based” and “market-based” Scope 2 GHG emissions.  This should allow for better consistency among reporters and greater transparency in reporting of results.

Does this apply to my company?
The guidance applies to companies with any operations in markets providing product or supplier-specific data in the form of contractual instruments (e.g., any company in the U.S., Europe, etc.). Even if you don’t purchase any renewable energy you still need to follow the new guidance document.  You may still have supplier-provided GHG emission factors that can be used if they meet specified quality criteria.  Also, you may need to take into account residual mix emission factors where they are available.

What should you do?

If you aren’t already familiar with the requirements of the GHG Protocol Scope 2 Guidance, you will need to educate yourself before preparing your GHG emissions for CDP and other public reporting.  You can download the guidance at: http://www.ghgprotocol.org/scope_2_guidance

You should discuss the requirements with your team to ensure that you have the information you need to provide both location-based and market-based Scope 2 emissions for 2015!

To learn more about what this will mean for your business, join NAEM for “Changes to the New Greenhouse Gas Protocol” on February 4 from 1:00-2:00 p.m. This webinar presentation is a free benefit for NAEM members.

About Lisa Barnes

In her role as Practice Line Leader, Sustainability and Climate Change Services, Lisa Barnes assists clients with sustainability report assurance, sustainability data verification and development of sustainability reports and GHG emissions inventories. She is a registered professional engineer, certified industrial hygienist, a LEED® AP. She is a Lead Verifier for Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Lead Assuror for Sustainability Reporting. She has more than 25 years of experience in environmental, health, safety and sustainability.

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