Clean Tech 101

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol

Image Credits: Todd Klassy/

The Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol Initiative was formed as a partnership between non-governmental organizations, businesses, governments, and others, summoned by the World Resources Institute (WRI)-a U.S. based environmental non-governmental organization, and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)-a Geneva-based coalition of 170 international companies to measure and manage climate-warming emissions. They offer protocol standards and tools which ‘recognizes sector guidance, product rules and tools that are in conformance with GHG Protocol standards’

Mission of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Initiative

The mission of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Initiative, which was launched in 1998, is the development of an internationally consented greenhouse gas standard for accounting and reporting, and to promote their broad adoption, to measure and manage greenhouse gases from private and public sector operations, value chains, products, cities, policies and mitigation actions.

WRI/WBCSD Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHGP)

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol Initiative consists of:

  • GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard
  • GHG Protocol Project Quantification Standard

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Standard

Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Standard ‘provides the accounting platform for virtually every corporate GHG reporting program in the world.’ It supplies guidance and standards for companies and other organization types when preparing for an inventory of greenhouse gas emissions. The Greenhouse Gas Protocol also includes the reporting and accounting six of the greenhouse gases that were reported by the Kyoto Protocol. These six greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O), sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), methane (CH4), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

The guidance and standards of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol were planned with the following intentions:

  • To provide assistance to companies for the preparation of a greenhouse gas inventory which describes a fair and correct statement of their emission, using standardized principles and approaches.
  • Reduction in the complexity and costs of composing a greenhouse gas inventory.
  • Assist businesses to construct a successful strategy for the reduction and management of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • To supply information that encourages involvement in both compulsory and non-compulsory greenhouse gas programs.
  • Increases in the regularity and accountability in the reporting and accounting in greenhouse gases between different companies and greenhouse gas programs.

Purpose of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Standard

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol Standard was designed mainly from the standpoint of a business in the process of developing a greenhouse gas inventory. Nevertheless, the standard also applies to other organizations which produce greenhouse gas emissions.

Decision makers of greenhouse gas programs may also use appropriate parts of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Standard as a background for their individual reporting and accounting needs.

It does not ask for the information regarding emissions to be outlined or stated to organizations such as WRI and WBCSD.

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Standard was also developed to be policy neutral.

The GHG Protocol provides training, webinars, e-learning and capacity-building support for companies and organizations; they can apply “built on GHG Protocol” that recognizes sector guidance and product rules that are in conformance with GHG Protocol Standards.

Sources and Further Reading

This article was updated on 4th April, 2019.

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