The Paris Agreement commits countries to limit global warming to well-below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, ideally following a more ambitious trajectory of 1.5°C. Scientists have calculated that in order to follow a 1.5°C trajectory, the world must cut its emissions in half by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050.
Ensure that the quantification of greenhouse gas emissions is systematically neither over nor under actual emissions as far as can be judged, and that uncertainties are reduced as far as practicable.
Activity Data
Data on the level of an activity that affects greenhouse gas emissions or sequestration. For example, it could be litres of fuel, kilograms of textile, etc. In carbon accounting, activity data generally allows for more accurate emissions estimates.
A criterion for assessing whether a project has resulted in greenhouse gas emission reductions or removals in addition to what would have occurred in its absence. A carbon removal project is additional if it will lead to a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions that would not have happened otherwise.
Audit Assurance
The opinions issued by a professional regarding the accuracy and completeness of what's analysed.
Base Year
A specific year or an average over multiple years, against which a company’s emissions are tracked over time.
Charcoal produced from plant matter and stored in the soil as a means of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
The production of bio-oil is a method of carbon removal. It is created by heating agricultural waste without oxygen. The resulting bio-oil is then injected deep underground.
Fuel made from plant material, e.g. wood, straw and ethanol from plant matter.
CO2 Mineralisation
CO2 mineralisation is a method of carbon removal in which atmospheric CO2 is transformed into a solid mineral. Once CO2 has been mineralised, it has essentially been permanently removed from the atmosphere.
Cap and Trade
A system that sets an overall emissions limit, allocates emissions allowances to participants, and allows them to trade allowances and emission credits with each other.
Capital Goods
Capital goods are final products that have an extended life and are used by the company to manufacture a product; provide a service; or sell, store, and deliver merchandise.
Carbon Accounting
Carbon accounting is the process of measuring how much carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) an organisation (company, state, etc.) emits.
Carbon Dioxide
Carbon dioxide is a colourless gas that occurs naturally in the atmosphere. It is also created in many industrial processes. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and therefore contributes to global warming.
Carbon Dioxide Equivalent
For any greenhouse gas, the carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) is the mass of CO2 which would warm the earth as much as the mass of that gas. CO2e provides a common scale for measuring the climate effects of all greenhouse gases.
Carbon Disclosure Project
CDP is a framework for companies, cities, and states to report their environmental impact.
Carbon Footprint
All of the greenhouse gas emissions (both direct and indirect) associated with a specific product or activity.
Carbon Negativity
A business is carbon negative (or climate positive) if the net result of its activities is a decrease in the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. This is going a step further than net zero.
Carbon Neutral
A business is carbon neutral when its core business activities do not contribute any additional greenhouse gas emissions, on balance.
Carbon Offsetting
Carbon offsetting is the process of balancing a business’s carbon emissions by removing a proportionate amount of carbon from the atmosphere.
Carbon Reduction
Carbon reduction is the process of reducing the amount of GHG emissions a company produces. This can be done by switching to more climate-friendly suppliers or to clean energy providers.
Carbon Removal
Carbon removal is the process of taking carbon from the atmosphere and storing it where it won’t contribute to climate change.
Carbon Sequestration
Carbon sequestration is the process of storing carbon somewhere where it won’t contribute to climate change.
Carbon Sink
A carbon sink is anything, natural or otherwise, that accumulates and stores some carbon-containing chemical compound for an indefinite period and thereby removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Carbon Target
A commitment to reduce a company’s greenhouse gas emissions by a specified amount before a given year.
Carbon Tax
A tax on the carbon emissions required to produce goods and services. A carbon tax reduces emissions overall, both by decreasing demand for high-emission goods and services and by incentivising efforts to make them less emissions intensive.
Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are nontoxic, non-flammable chemicals containing atoms of carbon, chlorine, and fluorine. CFCs are believed to be a major cause of stratospheric ozone depletion.
Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are non-toxic, non-flammable chemicals containing atoms of carbon, chlorine, and fluorine. CFCs are believed to be a major cause of stratospheric ozone depletion.
Climate Investment
Also known as offsetting, carbon compensation, and carbon removal – takes carbon from the atmosphere and stores it where it won’t contribute to climate change.
Climate Positive
A business is climate positive (or carbon negative) if the net result of its activities is a decrease in the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. This is going a step further than net zero.
Compilation Engagement
A type of engagement where a company engages an outside accountant to prepare and present special financial statements.
Account for and report an all greenhouse gas emission sources and activities within the chosen inventory boundary. Disclose and justify any specific inclusions.
Use of consistent methodologies to allow for meaningful comparisons of emissions over time.
Corporate Social Responsibility
The set of policies a company implements with the aim of having a positive influence on the world.
Corporate Sustainability
The business strategy of providing goods and services in a way that is environmentally sustainable while also conducive to economic growth.
Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive
CSRD is an European Union (EU) legislation that requires all large companies operating in the EU to publish regular reports on their environmental and social impact activities.
A partial life cycle inventory, including all emissions and removals from material acquisition through to when the product leaves the reporting company’s gate and excluding final product use and end of life.
A full life cycle inventory; full analysis of a product from the raw materials to the disposal of the product to determine its full carbon footprint.
Also known as carbon reduction, it is the process of reducing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions a organisation produces.
Direct Emissions
Emissions from sources that are owned or controlled by the reporting company.
Double Counting
Two or more reporting companies taking ownership of the same emissions or reductions.
Downstream Emissions
Downstream emissions are emissions that occur after a company has sold its goods and services.
ESG Reporting
An ESG report is a report published by a company about its environmental, social, and governance impact. Carbon is one part of the environmental aspect of ESG.
The release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Emissions Factor
A factor allowing greenhouse gas emissions to be estimated from a unit of available activity data (e.g. tonnes of fuel consumed, tonnes of product produced) and absolute GHG emissions.
Equity Share Approach
The equity share reflects economic interest, which is the extent of rights a company has to the risks and rewards flowing from an operation. Typically, the share of economic risks and rewards in an operation is aligned with the company's percentage ownership of that operation, and equity share will normally be the same as the ownership percentage.
Financial Control
The company has financial control over the operation if the company has the ability to direct the financial and operating policies of the operations with the view of gaining economic benefits.
Fossil Fuel
Fossil fuel has been trapped underground for millennia. This contains fossilised animal and plant remains. Due to the origin of the fossilised particles, it has a high carbon content. Fossil fuel combustion produces CO2, water and energy.
Fugitive Emissions
Emissions that are not physically controlled but result from the intentional or unintentional releases of greenhouse gases. They commonly arise from the production, processing transmission storage and use of fuels and other chemicals, often through joints, seals, packing and gaskets.
Global Reporting Initiative
The Global Reporting Initiative provides a set of standards for companies to use when reporting their environmental impact. They provide both general best practices and industry-specific guidance.
Global Warming Potential
It is a measure of cumulative radiative force, which aims to quantify the long-term contribution of a gas to global warming. Each GHG has a specific GWP value and this is relative to a specified time period (typically 100 years, but values are also available for 20-year and 50-year time horizons).
Greenhouse Effect
The greenhouse effect relies on greenhouse gases to trap incoming solar radiation, allowing the planet to stay warm even when the sun isn't shining directly on us.
Greenhouse Gas
A greenhouse gas is a gas that absorbs and emits radiant energy within the thermal infrared range, causing the greenhouse effect and thereby global warming.
Greenhouse Gas Protocol
GHG Protocol
The Greenhouse Gas Protocol provides the most widely used greenhouse gas accounting standards. Their corporate accounting and reporting standard outlines requirements and guidance for companies, and serves as the basis for virtually every corporate reporting program in the world.
Greenwashing is the practice of providing misleading or false information about the sustainability of a company’s business activities. Because companies may not realise that majority of their emissions are in Scope 3, or that many carbon offsets are of dubious efficacy, greenwashing can happen unintentionally as well as intentionally.
Hydrofluorocarbons are a type of synthetic greenhouse gas, mostly used in refrigeration and air conditioning equipment. HFCs generally have a high global warming potential which means they have a greater ability to trap heat in the atmosphere compared to a similar mass of carbon dioxide.
ISO 14064
The ISO 14064 is a specification with guidance at the organisation level on the quantification and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions and removals. The specification details how to design and develop a GHG inventory, and monitor and report on emission reductions.
Indirect Emissions
Emissions that are a consequence of the operations of the reporting company, but occur at sources owned or controlled by another company. A company’s indirect emissions are the emissions from their purchased energy (Scope 2 emissions) and from their value chain (Scope 3 emissions).
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
International body of climate change scientists. The role of the IPCC is to assess the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to the understanding of the risk of human-induced climate change.
International Sustainability Standards Board
The International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) is currently developing the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) with the intention of developing a comprehensive global baseline of sustainability-related standards to provide investors with information about companies' sustainability-related risks.
Inventory Boundary
An imaginary line that encompasses the direct and indirect emissions that are included in the inventory. It results from the chosen organisational and operational boundaries.
Kyoto Protocol
A protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It requires developed countries to reduce emissions by an average of 5% below 1990 levels and established a system to monitor countries' progress.
Life Cycle Assessment
Life cycle assessment is a method for evaluating the environmental impact of a commercial product or service through all stages of its life cycle, from cradle (raw material extraction) to grave (final disposal).
Liquefied Natural Gas
Liquefied natural gas is a clear, colourless and non-toxic liquid which forms when natural gas is cooled down.
Liquefied Petroleum Gas
Liquefied petroleum gas is a hydrocarbon gas that exists in a liquefied form. LPG is a colourless, low-carbon and highly efficient fuel.
Location-based method
A method for quantifying Scope 2 GHG emissions based on average energy generation emission factors for defined geographic locations, including local, sub-national or national boundaries. The location-based method uses emission factors representing average emissions from energy generation occurring within a defined geographic area and a defined time period.
Market-based method
The market-based method reflects the GHG emissions associated with the choices a consumer makes regarding its electricity supplier or product. Under the market-based method of Scope 2 accounting, an energy consumer uses the GHG emissions factor associated with the qualifying contractual instruments it owns.
Information which if omitted, misstated or not disclosed has the potential to adversely affect decisions about the allocation of scarce resources made by users of the financial report or the discharge of accountability by the management or governing body of the entity.
A primary greenhouse gas. A colourless, odourless flammable gas which is the main constituent of natural gas. It is the simplest member of the alkane series of hydrocarbons.
Mobile Combustion
The burning of fuels by transportation devices such as cars, trucks, trains, airplanes, ships etc.
Montreal Protocol
Established in 1987, the Montreal Protocol required countries to stop producing substances that damage the ozone layer such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).
Net Zero Journey
The process of reaching net zero. A company’s net zero journey involves first measuring its entire carbon footprint, then reducing every emissions source possible, then compensating the remainder with high-quality climate investment.
Nitrous Oxide
A primary greenhouse gas. A colourless gas with a sweetish odour, prepared by heating ammonium nitrate.
Non-Financial Reporting Directive
The Non-Financial Reporting Directive is a piece of European Union legislation that requires large companies to disclose information regarding environmental impact, social and employee issues, human rights, and bribery and corruption.
Operational Boundaries
Defines the scope of direct and indirect emissions for operations that fall within a company's established organisational boundary.
Operational Control
A company has operational control over an operation if it or one of its subsidiaries has the full authority to introduce and implement its operating policies at the operation.
Organisational Boundaries
The boundaries that determine the operations owned or controlled by the reporting company, depending on the consolidation approach taken (equity or control approach).
A primary greenhouse gas. A colourless unstable toxic gas with a pungent odour and powerful oxidising properties, formed from oxygen by electrical discharges or ultraviolet light. It differs from normal oxygen (O2) in having three atoms in its molecule (O3).
Ozone-depleting Substances
Ozone-depleting substances include chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), halons, methyl bromide, carbon tetrachloride, hydrobromofluorocarbons, chlorobromomethane, and methyl chloroform. Ozone-depleting substances are generally very stable in the troposphere and only degrade under intense ultraviolet light in the stratosphere.
PAS 2060
The PAS 2060 is an initiative of the British Standards Institution and is a standard for carbon neutrality. The PAS 2060 requires that the total emissions at the end of a period be offset by carbon credits that must meet certain criteria.
Paris Agreement
It is an international treaty on climate change, adopted in 2015 and ratified by almost every country in the world. The Agreement commits its signatories to keep global warming to well below 2°C above pre-Industrial levels, preferably limiting the increase to 1.5°C.
A carbon reduction target is Paris-aligned if it is consistent with the Paris Agreement’s commitment to limit global warming to well below 2°C greater than pre-Industrial levels.
Perfluorocarbons are the compounds consisting of fluorine and carbon. They are widely used in the electronics, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical industries, as well as in refrigeration when combined with other gases.
A principle for evaluating carbon removal projects. A carbon removal project is permanent if it will result in a quantifiable piece of carbon being kept out of the air forever.
Physical Risk
Physical risks can arise from either event-driven (acute) or long-term shifts (chronic) in climate patterns.
Physical or Chemical Processing
Emissions resulting from manufacturing or processing of chemicals and materials, e.g., cement, aluminium, adipic acid, ammonia manufacture, and waste processing and accounts for the fumes released as a result.
Primary Industries Climate Challenges Centre
The Primary Industries Climate Challenges Centre framework is incredibly useful to draw upon when completing assessments for farmland, an industry that is developing a keen interest in becoming carbon neutral.
The concept that the information generated by an accounting system should impact the decision-making of someone perusing the information.
Renewable Energy
Energy taken from sources that are inexhaustible, e.g. wind, water, solar, geothermal energy, and biofuels.
Science-based Targets
An emissions reduction target is science-based if it accords with what climate science tells us about how to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement: to limit global warming to less than 2°C above pre-industrial levels and ideally pursue a stricter 1.5°C target.
Science-based Targets Initiative
The Science-based Targets initiative encourages companies to set science-based targets in line with the Paris Agreement. They provide general as well as industry-specific guidance on how to meet these targets.
Defines the operational boundaries in relation to indirect and direct greenhouse gas emissions.
Scope 1
Scope 1 emissions are direct greenhouse gas emissions that a company generates while performing its business activities. This includes stationary combustion, mobile combustion, fugitive emissions and physical and chemical processing.
Scope 2
Scope 2 emissions are the indirect emissions generated by the production of purchased energy.
Scope 3
Scope 3 emissions are all indirect emissions that occur in the value chain of a company and are not already included within Scope 2. These emissions are a consequence of the company’s business activities but occur from sources the company does not own or control.
Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Climate Commitment
SME Climate Commitment
A commitment for small and medium-sized enterprises to halve emissions by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050, made via the SME Climate Hub.
Spend-based Method
The spend-based method of calculating greenhouse gas emissions takes the financial value of a purchased good or service and multiplies it by an emissions factor, resulting in an estimate of the emissions produced. Since spend-based methods’ emissions factors are built on the industry average greenhouse gas emissions levels, spend-based calculations can lack specificity.
A party that has an interest in a company and can either affect or be affected by the business.
Stationary Combustion
Burning of fuels to generate electricity, steam, heat, or power in stationary equipment such as boilers, furnaces.
Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting
The Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting is a piece of UK legislation. It requires large companies and all publicly traded companies to report on their energy consumption and associated greenhouse gas emissions.