Thursday, June 3, 2010

GHG Accounting, Certifications, Standards, and Protocols: Who Cares?

With most things humans build, the foundation matters. As we are fond of saying, the devil is in the details.

It is satisfying to debate grand themes of ideology, history, and philosophy. Hey, I am as guilty of that fascination as anybody. The big news stories of the day are about celebrity, high level conflict, and scandal. However much as we like to focus on top-down battles, or the surface of issues, what often matters most is the tinkering behind the scenes, the way things are constructed. Tweak a few words in a legislation and you make loopholes. Skip a regulation here or there and you construct unsafe buildings. Details, foundations, and regulations matter.

In today’s marketplace, ‘green’ is the prevailing buzzword. Retailers throw around words like sustainable, environmentally-friendly, eco-this and eco-that. But what are these terms based on? Who holds anyone to account for actually meeting a certain standard? What is even the criteria of an environmentally-friendly standard?

Enter the CSA (Canadian Standards Association) and ISO (International Standards Association). They have been developing criteria for safety and industrial performance standards for more than 100 years. It is reassuring to have them jump into the gaping chasm of carbon impact standards and begin a ghg measurement program.

We need standardized protocols and universal benchmarks in this new field of greenhouse gas tracking, so that consumers make informed choices about the claims they see on the packages of the products they buy. By engaging certified professionals and using recognized international standards and protocols, businesses give consumers assurance that their environmental claims are real.

GHG accounting certifications, standards, and protocols are the basis of any real carbon impact claims and the foundation of change. We all should care. Details can make all the difference in the world.

I must confess that this topic is near and dear to my heart. I was fortunate enough to be a part of CSA’s first graduating class of GHG Inventory Quantifiers, a designation that allows me to work with businesses and organizations to properly evaluate and report their carbon inventories and carbon footprint.

You can read the full news release at

1 comment:

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