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Get started: understand and measure your company's carbon footprint

How to measure and verify your company GHG footprint and why it is important

The first step in your company's decarbonization journey is to understand, and offer transparency on, your greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint.

This requires following GHG accounting rules that are similar to financial accounting. GHG accounting will translate company activity data into carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2 eq). GHG accounting can be applied on two different levels: the organizational level (or corporate GHG inventory) and the product level. This first section focuses on accounting at the organizational level to determine a company's total GHG emissions.

The voluntary disclosure of corporate GHG inventory is now expected of companies and increasingly required by local legislation. It should be performed annually, with continuous quality improvement of the data used. Companies need to define and calculate a base year so that, over time, a meaningful and consistent comparison of emissions can be measured.

The main voluntary framework to measure a company's GHG footprint is the GHG Protocol used by most of companies in the world. The information in this section is based on recommendations in the GHG Protocol. Companies can refer to the GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard and the Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Standard for more detailed guidance.

Follow these four steps to measure and verify your company's GHG footprint:

Understand the GHG emissions sources that are relevant for your company and how your company should account and consolidate them.

Collect activity data and emissions factors to calculate your company's GHG footprint. Use the results to prepare to decarbonize.

Understand the verification standards and how to verify your company's GHG footprint with a third party before public disclosure.

Continuously improve the maturity of your reporting. Understand when to update your company's footprint and how to account for reductions in emissions.