Can you help write ISO greenhouse gas standards?

January 28, 2014, by Tom Baumann

This month, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) began a process to update its climate change standards. Given the importance of these documents to the practice of greenhouse gas measurement, reporting, and verification (MRV), the GHG Management Institute (GHGMI) has launched an innovative initiative to open this process to the professional climate change community.

This blog post is the first in a series on climate change standards development. This post presents an introduction to ISO’s climate change standards, their application, the scope of this 2014 review, and an innovative GHGMI initiative that enables you to contribute to the updates of these standards.

GHGMI was established to open professional development opportunities to climate change professionals and aspiring professionals all over the world. To achieve this mission, we’ve built an extensive e-learning catalogue of carbon management training curriculum and cultivated an online international expert network. Central to this work is a belief that professional opportunities should be open to anyone anywhere.

Reflecting this theme, my colleagues and I at GHGMI have been working to overcome the barriers professionals like you face to become engaged in international standards development processes.  Few of us have the time or resources to attend lengthy and expensive meetings in distant locations year-after-year. After much work, we are excited to announce an initiative that will open the ISO standards development process (at least for GHG standards) by enabling GHGMI members to substantively and formally engage in writing standards. Here again, we are leveraging online tools to democratize professional engagement (more below).

A quick primer on ISO’s climate change standards

In 2006, the ISO 14064 series of standards was published, including 3 parts:

The ISO 14064 series was followed in 2007 with ISO 14065 (“Requirements for greenhouse gas validation and verification bodies for use in accreditation or other forms of recognition”), which details how firms conducting GHG audits should be accredited.

These standards were developed by experts from many national standards organizations that are members to ISO, as well as experts from liaison organizations such as the UNFCCC and the GHG Protocol (a joint initiative of WRI and WBCSD).

This figure illustrates how these standards relate to each other.

Source: ISO

Source: ISO

The ISO standards are intended to be policy- and program-neutral, so as to ensure their compatibility with existing programs and standards. For example, ISO 14064-1 was developed to be compatible with the GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting Standard (2004). And ISO 14064-2 was developed to be compatible with the UNFCCC Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and GHG Protocol Project Accounting Standard (2005).

ISO standards have also been adopted by several GHG programs. In North America, for example, ISO 14064-3 and ISO 14065 are used to support the verification programs for The Climate Registry and the Pacific Carbon Trust. Similarly, ISO 14064-1 is one of the standards recognized by CDP and ISO 14064-2 is basis for sector protocols used in the Canadian province of Alberta’s offset system.

Current process to update the ISO 14064 series and ISO 14065

In September 2013 a majority of ISO national members voted to update the ISO 14064 series and ISO 14065. The kick off meeting for this process happened in Tokyo, Japan earlier this month. Thirty-five experts from numerous countries participated. (Meeting reports will be posted to GHGMI’s online workspace.) The next meeting will take place in Panama City in May 2014.

How to get involved with the ISO process

We are inviting all members of GHGMI to get involved with this ISO GHG standards process. It is anticipated to involve three international meetings per year over the next 3 years. GHGMI members are not required to travel to attend these international meetings; instead your participation will be via our online workspace and submitted though GHGMI, which is a liaison member to ISO. Each meeting will provide an opportunity for you to review and submit comments on the current draft standard as well as respond to others’ comments.

GHGMI members in our working groups will have access to ISO documents within an online workspace for each ISO standard. You will be able to access your online workspace from any device (including mobile).

How much time is required to participate in this initiative? If you are “dedicated/very active,” then we estimate a commitment of up to 12 hours for each round leading up to each meeting, which are set to be held every 4-6 months. ISO 14064-1 (inventory quantification) and ISO 14064-2 (project quantification) are anticipated to involve a more limited workload (i.e., 6 hours or less) per round. More substantial time requirements (i.e., 12 hours per round) are expected for the joint ISO 14064-3 and ISO 14065 working group.

If you would like to engage in this ISO process, please visit the below links that correspond to the standard you wish to work on and complete the survey. GHGMI will treat your information as private as outlined in our privacy policy.

Why participate? You can benefit by:

–       Developing expertise on the formal ISO standards development process

–       Contributing to the development of the GHG sector

–       Developing expertise of GHG standards

–       Sharing your experience with other colleagues

–       Recognition for your contributions

–       Building your professional networks within a multi-stakeholder international process

If you are not yet a GHGMI member, information on becoming a one is here. There is no fee for basic GHGMI membership, but please note that members must abide by GHGMI’s ethical Code of Conduct. Participation in GHGMI’s ISO working groups is on a volunteer basis; GHGMI will not provide members with financial compensation or reimbursement.

Standards are a fundamental tool for practitioners working on GHG quantification, reporting, assurance, and other climate change activities. We hope you will get involved and apply your expertise to develop the next generation of ISO GHG standards.

To express your interest in participating, email Tom Baumann at [email protected]

Further Reading

In 2011 ISO published an overview of GHG standards and a framework for the road ahead. This publication, authored by myself and Anja Kollmuss, presents an extensive overview of different GHG standards around the world. The publication also describes ISO’s contribution to climate change standards, as well as presents a conceptual roadmap for future development of the system of GHG standards to be more interoperable and synergistic.

One response to “Can you help write ISO greenhouse gas standards?”

  1. John Kazer says:

    I’ve tried to submit a survey expressing interest in joining the ISO process through your collaborase system, but had no response. Please can you get back to me?

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