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Greenhouse Gas Auditing of Supply Chains

Jon F. Elliott, Esq., MPP

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions can be  produced directly by an entity’s own facilities and activities, and also by activities within  their supply chains (also called “value chains”) including suppliers and transporters of materials. For a typical manufacturing-based corporation up to 60 % of their total GHG emissions result from activities such as processing, packaging, and transportation; this can be as high as 80 % for retailers.

The Greenhouse Gas Auditing of Supply Chains guide is designed to assist users in evaluating their compliance with GHG reporting standards. The baseline  global standards   are  issued by  the Greenhouse Gas Protocol project under the auspices of World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). Other entities use these standards to develop their own for further understanding of, and compliance with, the GHG Protocol provisions. This facilitatesthe users’ ability to respond to a wide variety of requests for this information. These include supply chain reporting mechanismsinternally or as promulgated by specific multinational corporations such as Wal-Mart, IBM and Proctor and Gamble. In addition, entities are increasingly subject to evaluation by investors, financial institutions, customers and other stakeholders, who use these
survey responses as a basis for purchasing and investment decisions.

Greenhouse Gas Auditing of Supply Chains Protocol is a tool to be used by both customer and supplier organizations to assess their emissions (also referred to as “carbon footprint”), in order to respond to these surveys. The GHG Protocol and its offshoots define emission sources as Scope 1 (entity-owned and controlled sources), Scope 2 (purchased energy), and Scope 3 (other sources in the value chain). A supplier’s Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions contribute to their customers’ Scope 3 emissions. Accordingly, to provide supply chain information to customers, an entity must evaluate all emissions, and be prepared to respond to customer questionnaires.

This Guide is structured to provide a procedural audit protocol to help owners or operators of entities that are preparing for a facility-level or entity-wide audit, thoroughly identify the GHG Supply Chain reporting challenges. It includes applicability tables to help the user quickly and easily determine which requirements apply, and offers a step-by-step approach so the auditor can customize their audit by selection of specific subparts covered. The concise directives outlined in this guide provide an aid to ensuring that an entity can accurately report its emissions.

Note: Updates are no longer being issued for this guide.

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The Guide includes modules with det ailed checklists covering the GHG Protocol standards and the customer-based supplychain reporting requirement topics:

• Part A1: GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard
• Part A2: GHG Protocol Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Accounting and Reporting Standard
• Part A3: GHG Protocol Product Life Cycle Accounting and Reporting Standard
• Part A4: GHG Protocol for Project Accounting
• Part B1: Wal-Mart Supplier Sustainability Assessment
• Part B2: IBM Social and Environmental Management System Supplier Requirements
• Part B3: Procter & Gamble Supply Chain Environmental Sustainability Scorecard

Each topic module of the Guide has four components:

Introduction — Provides overview of the GHG Protocol standards and customer supply chain reporting requirements for Wal-Mart, IBM, and Proctor & Gamble; includes applicability tables that determine reporting provisions and identifies exemptions; assesses how these requirements interact; presents compliance definitions and reference materials.

Pre-Audit Preparation — Provides concise information to the auditor regarding materials to be gathered and reviewed in advance of an onsite third-party assessment or internal review together with suggested internal organizational materials; contains a list of acronyms and abbreviations used

Rulebooks — Statements in procedural format for each requirement are followed by Guide Notes to the auditor on how to interpret the requirements to verify practices, conditions, and situations. Instructions direct the user to action, reference, or activity of the requirement or guideline.

Score Sheets — Allows quick recording of the entity compliance status with each requirement.