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The Journey to carbon neutrality

If your organisation is starting to think about making the move towards carbon neutrality, the PAS 2060 standard offers a framework to quantify, reduce & offset GHG emissions on an annual basis.

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Step 1 - Measure



The starting point for the process is to determine the entity which will be claimed to be carbon neutral and to calculate the carbon footprint. For most entities, the recommended methodologies are ISO 14064-1, the WBCSD/WRI Greenhouse Gas Protocol or UK Government Environmental Reporting guidelines.

For products and services, PAS 2050 life cycle assessment, ISO/TS 14067 or WBCSD/WRI Greenhouse Gas product lifecycle methodologies can be used to support calculating the carbon footprint. Footprint measurements should include at least 95% of the total emissions, allowing for exclusion of emissions that constitute less than 1% of the total.

Emissions shall be converted into tCO2e and include:

  • Scope 1 - direct emissions from owned or controlled sources.
  • Scope 2 - indirect emissions from the generation of purchased electricity, steam, heating and cooling.
  • Scope 3 - all other indirect emissions that occur in a company’s value chain (waste treatment, purchasing of goods, employee travel etc).

Step 2 - Reduce



The next step in the process is to plan to reduce the identified carbon footprint. This involves the creation of a Carbon Management Plan which includes a public commitment to carbon neutrality. To support Procurement Policy Note 06/21, the UK Government has issued a useful Carbon Reduction Plan template that sets out how to take account of Carbon Reduction Plans in the procurement of major central government contracts.

The plan must also include:
  • A timescale for achieving carbon neutrality of the defined entity
  • Specific targets for GHG reduction that are appropriate to the overall timescale
  • The planned means of achieving and maintaining the GHG reductions including justification of the techniques and measure to be employed, as well as the time period that any historic reductions are calculated over.
  • The offsetting strategy to be used including estimate of quantity to be offset.
The plan must be updated on an annual basis.
A declared reduction can be absolute or a reduction in the intensity (carbon/tonne of product, service etc.) The reduction should be greater than the rate of economic growth.

Step 3 - Offset



Any remaining emissions after the Carbon Management Plan has been implemented must then be offset. The organisation must identify and document the relevant standard and methodology used to achieve the carbon offset. The schemes must meet the requirements of the standard. PAS 2060 recommends:

Kyoto compliant

  • Clean Development Mechanism (Certified Emission Reductions)
  • Joint Implementation (Emission Reduction Units)
  • EU Allowances

Non-Kyoto compliant (Voluntary Emission Reductions)

  • Gold Standard
  • Voluntary Carbon Standard
  • Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standard

Other domestic schemes

  • In UK – the Woodland Carbon Code
  • WWF Gold Standard
  • Verified Carbon Standard

Carbon credits shall have been verified by an independent third party verifier. Credits from Carbon offset projects shall only be issued after the emission reduction associated with the offset project has taken place.

Credits from carbon offset projects shall be retired within 12 months of the date of the declaration of achievement. Credits from Carbon offset projects shall be stored in an independent and credible registry or equivalent publicly available record. Offsetting total residual emissions will allow carbon neutrality to be declared.

Step 4 - Document & verify



The final stage of the process is to document how carbon neutrality has been achieved, complete required declarations and achieve independent verification.

Achieving carbon neutrality using PAS 2060 requires a statement from the company confirming it has met the requirements of the standard. This is accompanied by a “Qualifying Explanatory Statement” which transparently details how carbon neutrality has been achieved.

This in practice includes:
  • Qualifying Explanatory Statement
  • Carbon Management Plan
  • Carbon footprint report
  • Withdrawn offsetting credits
  • Demonstration of emissions reduction (only required from second year onward)
The standard permits three separate types of verification:
  • Self-validation
  • Validation from a non-accredited organisation
  • Independent third party validation.

By working with NQA, you can be sure that we ourselves are independently assessed as having access to the knowledge and expertise necessary to provide verification to PAS 2060.

NQA will ensure the robustness of carbon accounting, the strength of carbon management plans and that legitimate offsets have been purchased and will give additional credibility to your declaration of carbon neutrality.

What's next?

Get in touch today to begin your journey to a greener, more sustainable business.