Navigating the Nuances of Verification of Emission Calculations and Validation of Targets
NHS frameworks and tenders are increasingly reliant on carbon footprint calculations, reduction targets and emissions reductions towards net zero. The Evergreen Assessment asks organisations about their commitments and what they are actively doing to reduce their carbon footprint.
As companies increasingly commit to reducing their carbon footprints and enhancing their sustainability practices, the need for transparency and credibility in these efforts has never been greater. This is where the concept of "independent validation" of targets and “verification” of emissions calculations comes into play, processes ensuring that a company's environmental claims are not just promises but are grounded in reality. Many of our clients are asking about independent validation and verification so, in this blog, we’ll delve into what independent validation and verification means and why it’s important in the world of corporate sustainability.
First up, what is the difference between Verification and Validation?
While both are important, they serve different purposes:
- Verification is about the accuracy of past and present emissions data.
- Validation is more forward-looking, focusing on the credibility of future emissions goals.
What is Verification of Emissions Calculations?
Verification is the process of checking the accuracy and completeness of a company's reported GHG emissions. It involves an in-depth review of the emission calculations, data sources, and methodologies used. The goal is to ensure that the reported emissions are a true and fair representation of the company's actual GHG emissions.
Examples of Emission Verification:
- Data Accuracy Checks: Verifying that the emission factors and global warming potentials used are up-to-date and appropriate.
- Methodology Review: Ensuring that the methodologies used for calculating emissions, like the GHG Protocol, are correctly applied.
- Documentation Review: Examining the underlying data and records, such as energy bills or fuel purchase records, to confirm their accuracy.
What is Independent Validation of Targets?
Validation, while similar in its goal of ensuring accuracy and reliability, is more about assessing the credibility and feasibility of future-focused emissions targets or reductions strategies. It's about confirming whether these goals are scientifically sound, ambitious, and aligned with global climate objectives.
Examples of Emission Validation:
- Target Feasibility: Evaluating whether a company’s emissions reduction target for their net zero target year is ambitious yet achievable, given current technologies and business practices.
- Alignment with Standards: Checking if a company's long-term goal to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 aligns with the Paris Agreement or Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).
Where does C Free come into this?
1. Carbon Emission Calculations:
- Expert Analysis: We provide expert analysis of your company's carbon footprint, utilising the latest methodologies and standards to ensure accurate measurement of your GHG emissions.
- Data Management: Our team assists in collating and managing the necessary data, from energy consumption to waste generation, ensuring a comprehensive emissions profile.
2. Target Setting:
- Goal Development: We help you develop emissions reduction targets that are not only ambitious but also align with your company’s unique operational context.
- Science-based Approach: Our target-setting process is informed by the latest climate science, ensuring your goals contribute effectively to global efforts to mitigate climate change.
3. SBTi Submission Support:
- Navigating the Process: The SBTi submission process can be complex. We guide companies through every step, from initial target formulation to final submission.
- Documentation and Communication: Our team assists in preparing the necessary documentation and communications required for SBTi submission.
4. Evergreen Assessment Support:
- Answering the complex questions: The Evergreen Assessment has about 200 questions, 130 of which relate to carbon calculations, emissions reduction target, and carbon foot printing. We can assist in answering these questions.
C Free’s Limitations
While we provide extensive support, there are areas where our role is limited, specifically in independent validation and verification:
1. Independent Validation and Verification:
- Third-Party Role: Independent validation and verification of GHG emissions data or reduction targets should be conducted by an external third-party. This is to ensure objectivity and credibility.
- Not a Validator or Verifier: C Free does not serve as an independent validator or verifier. We recommend partnering with specialised entities accredited for this purpose to validate or verify your emissions data and targets.
2. Final SBTi Approval:
- SBTi’s Discretion: The final approval of targets submitted to SBTi is at the discretion of SBTi’s technical experts. While we ensure your submission is comprehensive and robust, the final decision lies with SBTi.
C Free is your partner in navigating the journey towards a more sustainable future. Our expertise in GHG emissions calculations, target setting, and guiding through the SBTi submission process can position your company as a leader in climate action. However, recognising the importance of independent validation and verification, we encourage businesses to engage with specialised third parties for this step.
If you have any questions on this feel free to reach out to one of our experts, we’ll be sure to answer any looming questions and can help you with your supplier assessments.