Monday, May 23

Climate accounting: Do not let the best become the enemy of the good

Aluminum can be produced in different ways, and the manufacturing method will have a major impact on the actual emissions of greenhouse gases. The solution, however, is not that each company makes its own calculation of the emissions, the article authors write. Illustration photo.

Norwegian companies should be required to report both emissions caused by their own operations and indirect emissions up and down the value chain.

  • Ann-Kristin Ytreberg

    General manager, Stiftelsen Miljøfyrtårn

  • Kim Gabrielli

    CEO of UN Global Compact Norway

  • Bjørn K. Haugland

    Managing Director in Shift, the business climate leaders

  • Stine Torjussen Nygaard

    General manager of Klimapartnere Viken

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The chronicle expresses the writer’s attitude. You can submit articles and debate posts to E24 here.

I E24 12.1. The Governance Group claims that we are failing when we ask the government to develop a national standard for climate accounting. It is a good starting point that the authors, and apparently also the political leadership in the Ministry of Climate and the Environment, agree with us that Norwegian companies should
required to keep climate accounts.

The criticism in the article is mainly that we should not have a separate national framework independent of international standards, and that national standards for calculating greenhouse gas emissions are not appropriate.

To be completely clear: We do not want to reinvent the wheel or introduce special rules for Norwegian business. On the other hand, we want an operationalization of the GHG protocol, which is the recognized international framework in the field. It will provide clarity and simplification.

Norwegian companies should be required to report emissions caused by their own operations and indirect emissions up and down the value chain, what in the GHG protocol is called scope 3. We believe it is necessary to have a national minimum requirement for which indirect emissions Norwegian companies are required to calculate emissions from. Perhaps it is also appropriate to make a distinction between the largest companies and smaller companies with fewer resources to obtain data.

Then to the calculations themselves. Greenhouse gas emissions caused by one person flying one kilometer by domestic aircraft or small aircraft, or from 100 kWt of electricity from hydropower will never be precise calculations. Climate accounts are based on assumptions, assumptions and average calculations. The Governance Group is right when they say that products, such as aluminum, can be manufactured on
different ways and that the production method will have a major impact on the actual emissions of greenhouse gases.

However, the solution is not for each individual company to make its own calculation. Then we must rather find a way to categorize aluminum, for example based on type and place of production. This way you can get comparable figures between companies and across industries.

There is little efficient use of resources when each company has to buy its own systems for emission calculations even from relatively simple activities such as driving and using electricity. We must not let the best become the enemy of the good. For many smaller companies in particular, available standards are a prerequisite for them to be able to keep climate accounts and see where they have the greatest potential to cut emissions.

We recognize that this is complex, and industry organizations should be invited to define what is an appropriate level of detail in each industry. Then those who have the opportunity to be more precise in the calculations can go into more detail. Here, openness and verifiability are important.

Our impression is that we do not disagree as much as The Governance Group’s article presents it as. We therefore invite them to participate in the collaboration and dialogue on what an appropriate set of rules for climate accounting and effective emission reductions in Norwegian business should look like.

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