This article summarises the requirements to choose a Base Year so that emissions can be meaningfully tracked over time.
A meaningful and consistent comparison of emissions over time requires that companies choose a particular reference year from which changes in emissions can be tracked over time. This chosen year (calendar, financial or other) is referred to as the "Base Year".
Requirement: The most recent year for which verifiable carbon emissions data are available should be selected as the base year.
The base year carbon account must be independently validated.
Reduction Initiatives, per section 2.4 Carbon Reduction, can only be set in the Pathzero platform once a Base Year has been established.
Further guidance on specific issues
Calendar and Financial years
Either a financial or calendar year can be chosen as the base year, depending on which best suits the timing for carbon account data collection or aligns with business processes.
Projected Base Year
There may be circumstances where a base year does not contain 12 months. For example, a company may have been founded in the second month of a 12 month financial year. In these circumstances the data for the shorter period may be extrapolated to calculate the base year emissions.
Estimated Base Year
Where no relevant data exists or where the data does not reflect the activities of the company that would provide a meaningful comparison, base year data can be estimated.
Any estimated data must be representative.