As readers of our previous articles may recall, the boundaries for an organisation’s carbon footprint set the stage for the rest of the carbon management process. Without a credibly scoped footprint, the organisation’s reduction programme may fail in the court of public opinion.
Both the DECC guidance document and BSI’s specification require organisations to put in place a programme of internal reductions in order to make a credible claim. DECC requires three “separate” and distinct management steps - measurement, reducing, and offsetting, specifically stating “a carbon neutral claim consisting only of calculating emissions and offsetting should not be made.” This requirement addresses those critics of carbon offsetting, who see it as a substitute for reducing emissions within the organisation’s boundaries [see our article “Carbon offsets: a last resort?” in issue 64 of the environmentalist].
As for carbon offsets, DECC and BSI acknowledge that, while internal reductions are an important way to demonstrate an organisation’s commitment and set the organisation’s course to a lower-carbon future, internal measures alone are unlikely to lead to zero net emissions.
- Without leakage
- Independently verified by a third party
- Transparent (i.e. supported by publically available project documentation on an established registry)