Greenhouse Gas Protocol

Greenhouse Gas Protocol GHG

Greenhouse Gas Protocol

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Greenhouse gas emissions contribute majorly to the climate changes that have occurred over time. There has been a global call for the management of factors that contribute to the destruction of the protective ozone layer. Measures such as Greenhouse Gas Protocol that have been established include the institutions of standards for the management of greenhouse gas emissions.

The establishment of the greenhouse gas protocol is one such measure. This protocol provides standards for accounting for greenhouse emissions. The greenhouse gas protocol was designed to guide organizations to report, identify, and calculate greenhouse gas emissions properly.

Although greenhouse gas emissions have been a major environmental issue for a long time, efforts to create a system for monitoring and accounting for greenhouse emissions did not yield until the 21st century.

The greenhouse gas emission protocol was developed by a collaborative effort between the World Resources Institute (WRI) and World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). This partnership, which also includes businesses, organizations, and environmental tools, is aimed at proffering new solutions in the fight against climate change.

History of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol

The journey to developing the greenhouse protocol started when the need for new international policies and tools for managing climate change was identified. Proper tools for monitoring gas emissions were part of the action agenda developed by WRI in collaboration with major corporations such as General Motors. The Safe Climate, Sound Business report was developed out of this collaboration.

WRI and WBCSD began the partnership that resulted in the Greenhouse Gas Protocol in 1997. The partnership which also involved the participation of industry leaders such as Shell and Tokyo Electric led to the development of the first edition of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, which was published in 2001.

Over time, partnerships toward sustainable management of the climate have been made with governments of developing and underdeveloped nations to encourage the adoption of the protocol.


Benefits of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol

  • It serves as an essential tool for achieving better results in managing climate change. As an accounting tool, the Greenhouse Gas Protocol helps organizations and establishments to achieve their goals as regards climate change.
  • Since it is a global tool, the GHG offers organizations equal playing fields for competing in the global space. Governments also get to apply this internationally accepted management tool in making the right decisions toward sustainable climate change.
  • A major benefit of the GHG is its flexibility. It can be applied by businesses, environmental groups, and governments.
  • It is especially noteworthy that the GHG protocol covers a wide range of standards and programs related to climate change. It provides a framework that covers standards and frameworks that range from The Climate Registry to the International Standard Organization.

Applications of Greenhouse Gas Protocol

In applying the protocol for distinguishing the scopes of greenhouse emissions, three scopes have been established. These scopes are the first scope, second scope, and third scope. The first scope is related to emissions from vehicles owned by the organization. The second scope is related to emissions from sources of electricity and energy applied by the organization. These sources include steam, direct cooling, and direct heating. The components of the second scope can be measured based on the market or location. Based on the market, the emission is calculated according to the original source of power bought. Based on the location, the calculation is according to the quantity of power generated from the grid, rather than the source. The third scope of GHG emissions includes all other indirect emissions that occur from the activities of the organization.

Since the development of the first edition of the protocol in 2001, businesses of different scales have adopted it in creating their own GHG inventories. The adoption of the protocol globally can be attributed to the efforts of WRI and WBCSD toward getting businesses, environmental groups, and governments on boards.

In 2017, reports on Fortune 500 companies showed that 63% of Fortune 500 companies use the GHG protocol. Reports have also shown that, in 2016, 92% of Fortune 500 companies used the GHG protocol directly or indirectly.


The GHG Protocol is an essential tool for achieving sustainable climate goals. Organizations, businesses, and governments can apply this management tool in making informed decisions and achieving sustainable results.

ESG Enterprise provides tools to assist with greenhouse gas protocol for ESG assessment and ratings.

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