There are a growing number of regulated requirements, frameworks, standards and benchmarks that can be reported to: CDP, the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI), the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to name just a small handful. No organisation can or needs to report against every set of standards. A choice will need to be made about what is most appropriate. There are two main types of these:

1. Energy and Emission measurement frameworks

ISO 14064

  • ISO 14064 standard was published in 2006 and is part of the ISO series of International Standards for environmental management.
  • This international standard provides guidance on the principles and requirements for reporting GHG emissions. It provides additional guidance on verification, required levels of data validation and external reporting frameworks, to ensure consistent external communication.

GHG Protocol Corporate Standard

  • A joint WRI/wbcsd initiative providing requirements and guidance to countries, cities and companies looking to manage their emissions. The GHG Protocol’s emissions accounting standards are the world’s most widely used; in 2016, 92 percent of Fortune 500 companies responding to the CDP used GHG Protocol directly or indirectly through a program based on GHG Protocol.
  • The Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard provides the framework for companies preparing GHG emissions inventories. It provides the accounting platform for virtually every corporate GHG reporting program in the world.
  • The Corporate Standard categorises GHG emissions into 3 scopes. Scope 1 (Direct emissions that result from activities within your organisation’s control), Scope 2 (Indirect emissions from any electricity, heat or stream you purchase and use) and Scope 3 (other indirect emissions from sources outside your direct control).

GHG Protocol Value Chain Standard

  • This standard accompanies the GHG Protocol Corporate Standard. The Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Accounting and Reporting Standard provides the framework for companies additionally accounting for scope 3 emissions, allowing companies to identify where in their supply chains to focus reduction activities.
  • Emissions are grouped into 15 categories of Scope 3 activities, both upstream and downstream.
  • Particularly useful for companies that want to report detailed information on their Scope 3 value chain emissions externally. For example, companies reporting to the CDP are required to provide extensive value chain emissions assessments.

2. Environmental disclosure standards

There are extensive cross-sector and industry specific standards and frameworks for public disclosure of environmental performance. A growing number of companies align to and report against these.

Carbon disclosure project (CDP)

  • CDP runs a global disclosure system that assesses corporates and cities which voluntarily disclose against questionnaires relating to Climate Change, and also for Water Security, Forests and Supply Chains. In the climate change questionnaire, companies are required to assess and disclose climate-related risks and opportunities, detail how the business’ governance and strategy has been adapted to facilitate the low-carbon transition, and publish emissions data.
  • In 2020, over 9,600 companies with over 50% of global market capitalisation disclosed environmental data through CDP, an increase of 20% on the previous year.

The benefits of public disclosure

There are tangible business benefits to be gained from responding to your stakeholder’s requests for disclosure:

  • To build trust through transparency and respond to rising environmental concern among the public
  • To gain a competitive edge when it comes to performance on the stock market, access to capital and winning tenders
  • To prepare for likely mandatory environmental reporting rules
  • To uncover emerging environmental risks and opportunities that would otherwise be overlooked.
  • To track and benchmark your environmental performance against your industry peers and receive feedback on your progress each year