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Greenhouse Gas Protocol Launches in India

This piece was written with Stacy Kotorac.

The use of standards to account for corporate greenhouse gases is increasingly common in developed countries – but it is emerging in developing countries as well.

In India, companies’ focus on value chain inventories and life cycle thinking is in nascent stages. That’s why the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, a collaboration of the World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development is partnering with The Energy Resources Institute (TERI) in launching its two new tools, the Product Life Cycle and Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Accounting and Reporting Standards, in New Delhi next week.

These new standards establish a comprehensive, global, standardized framework for businesses and other organizations to measure their value chain and product emissions and to reduce their impacts on the climate. The launch will take place in New Delhi on March 15th and will be followed by training sessions on the two standards. Similar launch events have already been hosted in New York, London, Tokyo, Beijing and Durban, South Africa.

In recent years, a small but growing group of Indian companies have adopted corporate greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting. According to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) 2011 India Report, 57 of 200 companies (28%) responded and submitted reports, an increase of 6.5% from 2010. Of the total respondents, 89% reported their GHG emissions using the GHG Protocol Corporate Standard or a protocol based on the GHG Protocol Corporate Standard.

The number of companies reporting is still small but the GHG Protocol team expects it to increase as large companies demand more information from their suppliers, and as investors ask more questions about companies’ emissions and climate risks. For example, on February 22nd the Bombay Stock Exchange launched a guideline for investors to better understand the relationship between carbon footprints and their short-term and long-term impacts on investment and return.

Given India’s significant role in the global economy, value chain management will be an important next practice for businesses and organizations to adopt. With the addition of the two new standards, the GHG Protocol now provides a full suite of international, corporate GHG accounting and reporting tools developed through a process that included global input from businesses, governments, organizations and academics. These included GHG Protocol partners in India represented by Confederation of Indian Industry. By using these standards, Indian companies can credibly and consistently report their GHG impacts to their customers and others worldwide.

In addition to the launch event, the GHG Protocol team will take a deeper look at the use of the Product Standard in the ICT sector. ICT sector guidance based on the Product Standard is being developed with input from companies, academics and others by the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI), the Carbon Trust and the GHG Protocol. These organizations are partnering with TERI to host a workshop and webinar in India on this guidance. ICT companies requested the development of the sector guidance to provide additional recommendations on calculating emissions for complex ICT goods and services such as cloud computing and data centers. The workshop offers an opportunity for companies from India and the Asia region to provide input on the guidance as it develops and ensure that it will work for all companies.

Recognizing the significance of the new standards in developing and emerging markets, the GHG Protocol is planning further launches and training events, including in Brazil in the summer of 2012.

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