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New ISO 14064 standards provide tools for assessing and supporting greenhouse gas reduction and emissions trading

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The ISO 14064 standards for greenhouse gas accounting and verification published on 1 March 2006 by ISO (International Organization for Standardization) provide government and industry with an integrated set of tools for programmes aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, as well as for emissions trading.

ISO Secretary-General Alan Bryden commented: “Claims made about reductions of the greenhouse gas emissions widely held responsible for climate change may have political and financial implications, in addition to environmental and technical ones. Ensuring their credibility is thus vital.”

ISO launched the development of ISO 14064 in 2002 as a solution to the problems posed by the fact that governments, business corporations and voluntary initiatives were using a number of approaches to account for organization- and project-level GHG emissions and removals with no generally accepted validation or verification protocols.

Dr. Chan Kook Weng, convenor of the ISO working group that developed the standard explained: “ISO’s goal is to provide a set of unambiguous and verifiable requirements or specifications to support organizations and proponents of GHG emission reduction projects. ISO 14064 will provide clarity and consistency between those reporting GHG emissions and stakeholders.”

ISO 14064In order to produce an accounting and verification tool that would have broad international backing, ISO embarked on three years of detailed study and engagement with the international community of governmental and business organizations with a stake in climate change. ISO 14064 has resulted from the work of some 175 international experts from 45 countries and 11 international business, development or environmental organizations, and eight international meetings.

Kevin Boehmer, secretary of the ISO working group, commented: “We are confident that ISO 14064 will prove to be an important building block for organizations or project proponents participating in various voluntary or regulatory initiatives, or to administrators responsible for designing and implementing GHG schemes or programmes.”

Implementing ISO 14064 is intended to achieve the following benefits:

  • promote consistency, transparency and credibility in GHG quantification, monitoring, reporting and verification;
  • enable organizations to identify and manage GHG-related liabilities, assets and risks;
  • facilitate the trade of GHG allowances or credits, and
  • support the design, development and implementation of comparable and consistent GHG schemes or programmes.

ISO 14064 comprises three standards, respectively detailing specifications and guidance for the organizational and project levels, and for validation and verification . They can be used independently, or as an integrated set of tools to meet the varied needs of GHG accounting and verification. They are:

  • ISO 14064-1:2006, Greenhouse gases – Part 1: Specification with guidance at the organization level for the quantification and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions and removals.
  • ISO 14064-2:2006, Greenhouse gases – Part 2: Specification with guidance at the project level for the quantification, monitoring and reporting of greenhouse gas emission reductions and removal enhancements.
  • ISO 14064-3:2006, Greenhouse gases – Part 3: Specification with guidance for the validation and verification of greenhouse gas assertions.

ISO 14064 will be complemented by ISO 14065, which specifies requirements to accredit or otherwise recognize bodies that undertake GHG validation or verification using ISO 14064 or other relevant standards or specifications. ISO 14065 is expected to be published in early 2007.

Alan Bryden summed up: “ISO is combining its environmental and conformity assessment expertise to develop tools for measuring, validating and verifying such claims. This is a striking example of how ISO’s work can help to provide practical tools for meeting the global challenges that the international community is wrestling with.”

ISO 14064, Greenhouse gases, was developed by Working Group (WG) 5 on Climate Change of ISO Technical Committee (TC) 207, which is responsible for the ISO 14000 family of environmental management standards. The three parts respectively cost 96, 114 and 126 Swiss francs. ISO 14064 is available from ISO national member institutes (see the complete list with contact details) and from ISO Central Secretariat (see below).

  • The ISO 14064 standards are the latest additions to the ISO 14000 family of International Standards for environmental management. The ISO 14000 family includes ISO 14001 which provides the requirements for environmental management systems. At the end of 2004, 90 569 certificates of conformity to ISO 14001 had been issued to organizations in 127 countries. Other ISO 14000 standards and documents address the following: the inclusion of environmental aspects in product standards, environmental auditing, environmental assessment of sites and organizations, environmental labels and declarations, environmental performance evaluation and life cycle assessment.

See also the article Launching of ISO 1464 for greenhouse gas accounting and verification (PDF) from ISO Management System magazine, March-April 2006.