New ISO standard scrutinizes GHG emissions auditors

By Michelle Knott

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Greenhouse gas

The latest international standard relating to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions aims to boost confidence in emissions claims and carbon trading by ensuring that the teams in charge of validating and verifying performance are competent to do so.

Maintaining public confidence in emissions reporting is important for organisations looking to avoid accusations of “greenwashing” their environmental performance.

“If an organization publishes claims that are later discovered to be unreliable, it risks damages both financially and in terms of their reputation. This is why the competence of those assessing such claims is absolutely crucial,” ​says Dr Tod Delaney, convenor of the ISO working group responsible for the new ISO 14066.

Martin Baxter, executive director of policy at the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment, told FoodProductionDaily that he welcomed the new standard: “The credibility of carbon trading and reporting is underpinned by the accuracy and reliability of GHG emissions data.

The central issue is to ensure that those who are verifying and validating GHG emissions are competent and the new ISO 14066 standard makes a welcome contribution to ensuring that high standards are maintained and developed.”

ISO 14066: 2011, Greenhouse gases – Competence requirements for greenhouse gas validation teams and verification teams​ is the latest document in the ISO toolbox of standards to address climate change and GHG emissions. It started in 2006 with ISO 14064, a three-part standard for assessing GHG emission reduction projects.

This was followed by ISO 14065, which sets out the accreditation requirements for organizations that validate or verify GHG emission assertions or claims.

Wider implications

ISO 14066 focuses on the skills and knowledge of the overall GHG auditing team, rather than individual competence. It includes topics such as independence, integrity and team competence.

Dr Chan Kook Weng, Chair of ISO subcommittee SC 7 that developed the standard says: “Claims made about reductions of the greenhouse gas emissions can have political and financial implications, in addition to environmental and technical ones.

ISO 14066 is a companion standard to ISO 14065 in assuring integrity and consistency in emission reporting and reduction projects across industry sectors and geographical borders. It is also a standard for ‘Who watches the watchman’ so as to build up trust and confidence in assessing GHG assertions.”

The accuracy of an organization’s GHG emissions claims is essential, considering the political and financial ramifications of each claim,” ​agrees Delaney.

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