Explained byWBCSD

Discover the main verification standards

There are a variety of standards that can be used to measure an organization's GHG footprint. However, not all of them are certifying standards, i.e., used for third party verification

1. GHG Protocol

Most companies apply the GHG Protocol and then commission a third-party verifier to provide insurance against a certifying standard (e.g., ISO). Those standards are complementary and aligned: the certifying standards set minimum requirements while the GHG Protocol explains how to do it, by detailing different approaches and best practice.

GHG Protocol is the world's most widely-used GHG corporate voluntary framework to measure and manage GHG emissions. It is not a certifying standard, but it is aligned with most widely used GHG verification standards (e.g., ISO). When an organization complies with the GHG Protocol it will meet the expectations required by the verification standards.

1.1. Explore main GHG guidance frameworks

GHG Protocol supplies the world's most widely used greenhouse gas voluntary accounting standards. In 2016, 92% of Fortune 500 companies responding to the CDP reported to use GHG Protocol directly or indirectly. The GHG Protocol main guidance frameworks are the following:

The GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard provide requirements and guidance for companies and other organizations preparing a corporate-level GHG emissions inventory. The standard covers the accounting and reporting of seven greenhouse gases covered by the Kyoto Protocol.

The Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Accounting and Reporting Standard allows companies to assess their entire value chain emissions impact and identify where to focus reduction activities. It is an internationally accepted method for companies to account for these types of value chain emissions from 15 categories of Scope 3 activities, both upstream and downstream of their operations.

The Product Life Cycle Accounting and Reporting Standard can be used to understand the full life cycle emissions of a product and focus efforts on the greatest GHG reduction opportunities. Companies are able to measure the greenhouse gases associated with the full life cycle of products including raw materials, manufacturing, transportation, storage, use and disposal.

The GHG Protocol also offers online learning solutions to get up-to-speed on its accounting standards!

1.2. Explore main GHG corporate certifying standards used by companies 

Most commonly used:
  • ISO14064-3

  • AA1000AS

  • Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) des Airports Council International Europe

  • ASAE3000

  • ISAE3000

  • ISAE 3410

  • European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS)

  • Spanish Institute of Registered Auditors (ICJCE)

Other certifying standards (mentioned by CDP):

  • Advanced technologies promotion Subsidy Scheme with Emission reduction Target (ASSET)

  • Alberta Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER)

  • Attestation standards established by AICPA (AT105)

  • Australian National GHG emission regulation (NGER)

  • California Mandatory GHG Reporting Regulations (CARB)

  • Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) Handbook: Assurance Section 5025

  • Certified emissions measurement and reduction scheme (CEMARS)

  • Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) verification standard

  • Compagnie Nationale des Commissaires aux Comptes (CNCC)

  • Corporate GHG verification guidelines from ERT

  • DNV Verisustain Protocol/ Verification Protocol for Sustainability Reporting

  • Earthcheck Certification

  • ERM GHG Performance Data Assurance Methodology

  • IDW PS 821: IDW Prüfungsstandard: Grundsätze ordnungsmäßiger Prüfung oder prüferischer Durchsicht von Berichtenim Bereich der Nachhaltigkeit

  • IDW AsS 821: IDW Assurance Standard: Generally Accepted Assurance Principles for the Audit or Review of Reports on Sustainability Issues

  • Japan voluntary emissions trading scheme (JVETS) guideline for verification

  • Korean GHG and energy target management system

  • NMX-SAA-14064-3-IMNC: Instituto Mexicano de Normalización y Certificación A.C

  • RevR6 procedure for assurance of sustainability report

  • Saitama Prefecture Target-Setting Emissions Trading Program

  • SGS Sustainability Report Assurance

  • Standard 3810N Assurance engagements relating to sustainability reports of the Royal Netherlands Institute of Registered Accountants

  • State of Israel Ministry of Environmental Protection, Verification of GHG and emissions reduction in Israel Guidance Document

  • Swiss Climate CO2 Label for Businesses

  • Thai Greenhouse Gas Management Organisation Greenhouse Gas Verification Protocol

  • The Climate Registry's General Verification Protocol

  • Tokyo cap-and-trade guideline for verification

  • Verification as part of Carbon Trust standard certification

2. ISO 14000

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is an international Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) made up of national standards bodies. It develops and publishes a wide range of proprietary, industrial, and commercial standards. Its 14064-3 standard is widely-used for company GHG inventory and for product-level verification.

2.1. ISO 14000 verification standards

The ISO 14000 standards series set out important standards for the reporting of environmental impacts. It applies to organization, project, and product GHG statements. ISO 14064-3 is the certifying standard for company GHG footprint.

  • ISO 14064

It is an organization-level standard suitable for organizations that seek to voluntarily monitor and report GHG emissions and better manage their GHG footprint. The ISO 14064 framework consists of three parts (part 1, part 2, and part 3), and helps organizations quantify and reduce GHG emissions. Part 3 (ISO 14064-3) is the one used for verification. It is harmonized with GHG Protocol guidance.

It is an organization-level standard that describes the principles, concepts, and methods related to the quantification and reporting of GHG emissions. It provides guidance for the application of ISO 14064-1 to greenhouse gas inventories at the organization level for the quantification and reporting of direct emissions, energy indirect emissions, and other indirect emissions. It is harmonized with GHG Protocol guidance.

It is a product-level standard. This standard specifies principles, requirements, and guidelines for the quantification and reporting of the GHG footprint of a product (CFP), in a manner consistent with International Standards on life cycle assessment (ISO 14040 and ISO 14044).