Professionalising GHG Verification
From Environmental Finance
The recent suspension of a leading CDM verification company has highlighted the need to ‘professionalise’ the auditors of greenhouse gas emissions, say Tim Stumhofer and Michael Gillenwater.
For the full story, please see the December 2009/January 2010 print edition of Environmental Finance:
It is one thing to invent and manufacture environmentally preferable products. But it another to know which ones and which process are really reducing the carbon footprint. We’re eager to learn how to do the later, so what course do we have to take as well as who could help us set up a tool to use and to share with others. Please advise asap.
Many thanks in advance,
In Canada, certifications for greenhouse gas professionals have been developped based on the National Occupational Standards for Greenhouse Gas Professionals and ISO 14064 and 14065 protocols by ECO Canada and are awarded by the Canadian Environmental Certifications Approvals Board (CECAB).
The process to receive the designation of Environmental Professional in Greenhouse Gas – EP(GHG) – specializing in Quanitifcation or Verfication is rigorous, and is being looked on favourablely by regualtors in Canada as a way of establishing professional standards in this area. It is expected to be incorporated in some way in GHG reporting regualtions – This is particularly true of any jurisdiction whose regulations require “Verification by an ISO 14065 accredited organization” – as ISO 14065 accredited organizations, according to the protocol are required to employ verifiers who are certified against the ISO standards.
For more information please visit http://www.eco.ca/ghg.
The development of these certifications was funded by the Canadian Federal Government (HRSDC, Environmental Canada and NRCan) and the Standards Council of Canada (SCC).
CECAB is accredited by the SCC to ISO 17024 for the environmenatal auditor desingation it awards, and has applied to extend the scope of the accrediation to include its EP(GHG) processes – ISO 17024 is the international standard for personnel certification organizations.
I guess before we can answer this question, we need to define what ‘professionalism’ is in the context of GHG auditing and hence what we want GHG auditors to deliver in the future?
To my mind, being able to verify that emissions are as reported is one thing that is very useful – the minimum we should expect. Far more important than this is to be able to make some analysis of the likelihood of these emissions being effectively managed into the future. Professional GHG auditors should be able to provide lead indicators of the future risk to emissions management, not just the verification of an organisation’s lag indicators of the actual emissions created. This will be their contribution to helping managers manage better and stakeholders understand risks better.
This approach is not just a requirement for GHG auditors, but for all auditors in any specialism, who will be expected to deliver lead indicators around the issue they are auditing, not just lag ‘compliance’ type information. To do this, they will need new tools that consistently collect and analyse behavioural evidence, as this is what drives future performance, and report them as measures of risk to future effectiveness. This cannot be done effectively using traditional methods.
They will need to be able to analyse the day to day behaviours that are happening within the organisation and the way the management of GHG emissions is embedded into this day to day activity. Tools are now around to help them do this, but there needs to be an acceptance that this ‘higher value’ is what auditors need to deliver before they are willing to move on from what they currently do. If they don’t, then the value they deliver will be seen as small and the service will no longer be used.