Greenhouse Inventories, Abatement, Indicators and Reporting
In the following text we have used the term greenhouse reporting as short hand for all the processes involved in developing high quality greenhouse data, responses and reporting. In order to produce verifiable greenhouse reports, a detailed understanding of all aspects of inventories, emission reduction action plans and indicators is required.
We draw upon more than a decade of experience in the development of greenhouse inventories, abatement action plans, performance indicators and reports. We have undertaken a comprehensive range of greenhouse reporting services including completing over 35 complex reports and assessing approximately 400 greenhouse reports from major electricity generators through to companies emitting often much less than 10,000 tonnes.
Our reports are of a very high standard with over 20% successfully independently verified to typically the AS/ISO 14064 standard with no material discrepancies identified. The quality of our reports helps our clients; many have repeatedly used our services for almost a decade.
The depth of knowledge and experience of greenhouse reporting includes:
- Coordination, data gathering and analysis, and production of greenhouse reporting across a wide range of businesses and reporting systems.
- Assessing greenhouse reports and reporting systems for accuracy in the inventory data, emission factors and database entries.
- Establishment and use of greenhouse reporting systems.
- The early days of greenhouse reporting in Australia.
Over the last decade, greenhouse reports covering 35 years of emissions have been produced for clients who were members of Greenhouse Challenge Plus (GCP). Over 20% of the greenhouse reports produced for our clients were subsequently successfully independently verified.
The process of producing a high quality greenhouse report typically involves:
- Coordination of inventory and performance indicator data gathering.
- Small scale, targeted meetings with key company staff from distinct operational areas to explain reporting requirements and the process forward, discuss current and future abatement activities, and to answer questions on greenhouse issues.
- Establishment and annual review of client’s reporting boundary.
- Conduct of detailed analysis tailored to the client’s operations using current and/or appropriate emission factors.
- Identification and tracking of abatement activities across the company’s operations and extending out to its suppliers, customers and the community it operates in.
- Provision of an executive summary outlining key features of the company’s boundary, its annual greenhouse inventory and abatement efforts, and a comparison and explanation where possible to the previous year’s performance.
- Fine detail text explaining the assumptions, calculation processes and emission factors used.
- Production of conforming public statement which provided high level information about the company, its annual inventory and the abatement actions it was involved with.
Our clients regularly use the greenhouse inventory data we develop in their corporate Sustainability Report and/or Annual Report.
Our abilities in greenhouse reporting were recognised when Beyond Neutral® had the opportunity to present a case study on a major client’s greenhouse reporting for the 3rd Best Practice in Sustainability Reporting conference held in Melbourne during 2008.
For several years, an annual greenhouse report has been produced for a client following analysis of their inventory data; this report is submitted to the utility’s peak industry association in compliance with that Association’s inventory and indicator reporting system. One of these annual greenhouse reports has been independently audited as required by the reporting system’s rules; no corrective actions were required.
NSW License Condition Compliance Annual Reports across several years were produced for a NSW electricity retailer. This compliance reporting system was superseded by the NSW Greenhouse Gas Abatement Scheme.
Projects for four major companies in the electricity, water and gas sector involved the coordination, data analysis and production of their GCP Cooperative Agreements, covering over five years of inventory data and a combined 20 years of future abatement activity. These greenhouse Agreements established the baseline against which inventories and benchmarks were compared and action plan progress reported against. They involved:
- Identifying the boundary.
- Developing a detailed inventory covering the six Kyoto Protocol gas types.
- Establishing a comprehensive abatement action plan (of typically 40-80 actions) focused on:
- mitigation projects,
- organisational cultural change, and
- continual improvement of company processes, procedures and practices.
- Determining useful company level and functional area performance indicators.
One project involved assessing 13 years of greenhouse reporting from 8 major electricity generators. Each of the GCP Progress Reports was analysed and advice provided on improvements and reporting template issues.
Another project analysed 27 years of greenhouse reporting from 16 major electricity generators, whose combined annual emissions account for about 33% of Australia’s annual emissions. The companies and Australian Greenhouse Office were advised of the issues encountered and how to resolve them, as well as where improvements were needed.
An accuracy assessment was undertaken of 350 entries in the GCP database. These were compared to the member’s initial greenhouse Agreement or subsequent annual greenhouse reporting, identifying any omissions and/or errors in the information reported by the company or recorded in the database.
We have also assessed the emission factors supplied for several reporting schemes against the approved values published by the Australian Government and in many cases, identified significant errors. Some were due to transcription errors, others due to use of out-of-date factors and with one scheme, due to a lack of understanding of the underlying technical details leading to an incorrect methodology being applied. Several of these errors were very large which could have led to a material discrepancy occurring in clients’ inventories if they had not been identified.
Our established clients have benefited from our approach to greenhouse reporting as they have been able to build on their experience of greenhouse reporting and more fully understand the impact of the NGERS and CPRS on their businesses.
A recent client utilised our approach to not only meet their current greenhouse reporting requirements but to assist their establishment of a reporting system in preparation for the NGERS.
Advice was provided to a major diversified electricity generation, distribution and retail client during development of their intranet based internal greenhouse emission and abatement reporting system. The intranet system was modeled on our comprehensive greenhouse reporting system which is tailored to the specific needs of each client. The information gathered was used for national and State level greenhouse reporting, and for company level reports. The reporting system was subsequently successfully independently verified to the AS/ISO 14064 standard with no material discrepancies identified.
A project involved advising on the reporting requirements of several greenhouse related Australian Government programs as a part of the translation process into the on-line reporting system OSCAR (this system has since become a key feature of the NGERS). A single combined reporting structure was proposed and advice provided on the feasibility of combining National Greenhouse Gas Inventory requirements into the single reporting structure.
OSCAR has been assessed both from a user’s and a verifier’s perspective on numerous occasions across several years. Client data has been entered into OSCAR as a part of the greenhouse reporting process while verifications have involved the interrogation of data and emission factors held by OSCAR. Serious errors and inconsistencies have been identified within OSCAR’s emission factors; these have been communicated to our clients and its administrators. During the development of a NGERS ready version of OSCAR, Beyond Neutral® was able to provide detailed feedback on issues encountered during use of the current system.
In the early days of greenhouse reporting during the mid to late 1990s, before the GHG Protocol and ISO 14064 were developed, our Director was involved in the production of greenhouse reporting workbooks, proforma, guidelines, case studies and technical tools. These were focused on the requirements for greenhouse inventory development and reporting, performance benchmark establishment and tracking, and abatement action development and assessment.
During his time with Greenhouse Challenge, he assisted and assessed greenhouse Agreements and Reports from over 20 companies and industry associations in the Energy and Water Sectors. The list of companies includes natural gas and black and brown coal electricity generators from VIC and QLD, the vertically integrated electricity companies in NT and WA, the two major hydro-electric companies in Australia and electricity distributors in ACT, QLD, VIC and NSW. Also included were two of the high profile renewable energy equipment manufacturers and installers, and industry associations associated with renewable energy, cogeneration and brown coal generation in Vic.