Core principles

This article sets out the accounting and offset integrity principles to achieve carbon neutrality status with Pathzero Clarity.

Pathzero GHG emissions measurement is aligned with the GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard (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). 

GHG accounting principles 

Key GHG accounting principles from the GHG Protocol have been incorporated into Pathzero Clarity’s emissions calculation methodology to ensure all emissions inventories are a true and accurate reflection of GHG emissions. These are as follows. 

Table 1: Principles of GHG accounting 


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. 


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


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. 


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. 


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 

Carbon neutral means reducing emissions where possible, and compensating for the remainder by investing in carbon offset projects to achieve net zero overall emissions for a given time period. 

Carbon offset projects prevent, reduce or remove GHG emissions from being released into the atmosphere.  

Avoided emissions, and emissions removals – what's the difference? 

When it comes to carbon offsets, there are two main categories: those based on avoided emissions and those based on emissions removals.   

Avoided emissions refer to the reduction of emissions that would have occurred if a particular action or project had not been undertaken.  

For example, if a company decides to install solar panels to power its operations instead of relying on fossil fuels, the emissions avoided would be the GHG emissions that would have been produced if the company had continued to rely on fossil fuels.  

Emissions removals, on the other hand, refer to the removal of GHG emissions that have already been produced. This is achieved through techniques such as:  

  • carbon capture and storage 
  • afforestation (planting trees to absorb carbon dioxide) 
  • soil carbon sequestration. 

Offsets projects – and how they’re attributed to your company 

Common offsets project types include: 

  • reforestation (carbon removals) 
  • renewable energy (avoided emissions) 
  • energy efficiency (avoided emissions).  

Many of these projects deliver co-benefits that support the United Nations’ blueprint for a better and more sustainable future for all – the Sustainable Development Goals. This includes positive health or social impacts, or wildlife habitat benefits in the case of reforestation. 

Once a carbon offset credit has been purchased, it must be retired, which means it is no longer available for sale or use. This ensures that the GHG reduction associated with the offset credit is not double-counted or used more than once to offset emissions. 

The projects and offset units are verified by independent auditors through internationally recognised standards. These standards help to 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 


Carbon offsets must be additional to what would have happened in the absence of the project. This means that the project must result in emissions reductions that would not have occurred otherwise. 

Legally attributable  

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


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


Emissions reductions are permanent. Appropriate safeguards including buffer pools must be in place to ensure the risk of reversal is minimised. Buffer pools refer to the practice of setting aside a portion of carbon offsets to be used in case of unexpected reversals or fluctuations in emissions reductions. 


Emissions reductions are held and retired on a registry to ensure no double counting of emissions reductions. 

Independently verified  

Carbon offsets must be accurately measured, monitored, and verified by a third-party verifier. This ensures that the emissions reductions claimed by the project are accurate and can be trusted.

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


Learn more about offsetting