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Handbook: GHG emissions reporting

Handbooks | March 2024

Our guide explains the measurement and reporting of GHG emissions through the lens of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol.

This handbook provides an introductory explanation of GHG emissions reporting and is written for finance professionals who are more familiar with financial reporting and generally accepted accounting principles. As such, we explain concepts in a way that we think will be the most understandable for you, our audience.

This March 2024 edition includes newly added Q&As on certain aspects of GHG emissions reporting – particularly carbon offsets – and updated comparisons between the GHGP and the SEC climate rule, European Sustainability Reporting Standards, and the standards released by the International Sustainability Standards Board.


Standards and guidance of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol

  • All entities  

A consistent, transparent, comparable, reliable and timely GHG inventory is at the heart of good climate reporting. I have this handbook dog-eared and highlighted because it's such a valuable resource every time I review GHG calculations and disclosures.

Maura Hodge

KPMG US Audit ESG Leader

GHG 101: The fundamentals

The world of finance is expanding. Beyond numbers and into nature.

We increasingly find familiar concepts – accounting, reporting – with unfamiliar elements – greenhouse gases, renewable energy. This merging of worlds has made one thing clear: nature isn’t just for the scientists anymore; finance professionals are living in this ecosystem too.

Climate-related disclosure requirements are now a reality in standards issued by the International Sustainability Standards Board and the European Commission; and in the US, the SEC has issued its final climate rule and the State of California has mandated climate-related disclosures for thousands of companies. These requirements are likely to shape the global climate reporting landscape. And although different in a number of ways, these requirements share a common anchor: greenhouse gas emissions.

More companies than ever before face regulatory requirements to report the direct and indirect emissions associated with their operations. And this reporting will be heavily informed by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. 

The Protocol has emerged as a nexus in the climate reporting ecosystem. It provides the underlying principles, concepts and methods to develop a greenhouse gas emissions inventory that can be used for various voluntary or mandatory reporting purposes.

Finance professionals play a valuable role in bridging between scientific data and investor-quality information. And because of its influence on the future of emissions reporting, it is becoming more important for finance professionals to understand the Protocol and the fundamentals of greenhouse gas emissions reporting – GHG 101.

We hope this handbook helps to provide that foundational understanding. Anchored in the Protocol. Translated to the language of Finance.

Report contents

  • Foundational concepts
  • Organizational boundary
  • Operational boundary
  • Emissions calculations
  • Scope 1 emissions
  • Scope 2 emissions
  • Scope 3 emissions
  • Tracking emissions and setting targets
  • Offset credits
  • Reporting

Download the document:

GHG emissions reporting

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