Core Principles

This article sets out the accounting and offset integrity principles that underly this Protocol.

Pathzero has adopted internationally recognised principles to underpin the Protocol. The Protocol is aligned with:

  • the GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard – Revised Edition (“GHG Protocol”) and
  • the GHG Protocol Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Standard (“Scope 3 Standard”),

published by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (“WBCSD”) and the World Resources Institute (“WRI”).

Carbon accounting principles

Key carbon accounting principles from the GHG Protocol have been incorporated into the Protocol to ensure all emission inventories are a true and accurate reflection of GHG emissions. These are as follows:

Table 1: Principles of GHG Accounting

Principle

Relevance

Ensure the GHG inventory appropriately reflects the GHG emissions of the company and serves the decision-making needs of users – both internal and external to the company.

Completeness

Account for and report on all GHG emission sources and activities within the chosen inventory boundary. Disclose and justify any specific exclusions.

Consistency

Use consistent methodologies to allow for meaningful comparisons of emissions over time. Transparently document any changes to the data, inventory boundary, methods, or any other relevant factors in the time series.

Transparency

Address all relevant issues in a factual and coherent manner, based on a clear audit trail. Disclose any relevant assumptions and make appropriate references to the accounting and calculation methodologies and data sources used.

Accuracy

Ensure that the quantification of GHG emissions is systematically neither over nor under actual emissions, as far as can be judged, and that uncertainties are reduced as far as practicable. Achieve sufficient accuracy to enable users to make decisions with reasonable assurance as to the integrity of the reported information.  

Offsets integrity principles

Attaining net zero emissions for a reporting period will almost always include the purchase of carbon offsets to compensate for the emissions emitted from the organisation’s activities.

Purchasing a carbon offset provides a source of finance to projects that reduce or remove emissions from the atmosphere. Common project types are reforestation, renewable energy or energy efficiency. Many of these projects also deliver co-benefits supporting United Nation Sustainability Development Goals or “SDGs”.

In lieu of reducing gross emissions, this is the best possible way to get to net zero. The projects and offset units are verified by independent auditors through internationally recognised standards. These standards ensure that the credits that are generated represent real emissions sequestered or avoided.

Carbon offsets must meet the following integrity principles, per the International Carbon Reduction & Offset Alliance (ICROA) Code of Best Practice.

Table 2: Carbon offset requirements

Additional

In the absence of the availability of carbon finance, the project would not have occurred and would have resulted in higher GHG emissions. 

Legally attributable

There must be a clear record of ownership from project owner and sale thereafter.

Measurable

Emission reductions are quantifiable relative to a baseline scenario and use project specific data or recognised, peer reviewed, published methods.

Permanent

Emission reductions are permanent. Appropriate safeguards (including buffer pools) must be in place to ensure the risk of reversal is minimised. 

Unique

Emission reductions are held and retired on a registry to ensure no double counting of emission reductions.

Independently Verified

Emission reductions are verified by a third party qualified to verify carbon credits.

Refer to the Carbon Offsets section for a current list of eligible offset units.