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How to design GHG inventory of an organization using specifications of ISO 14064-1?

Emisison from Coal based power plantIntroduction of GHG Inventory design

A greenhouse gas inventory is an accounting of greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted to or removed from the atmosphere over a period of time. GHG inventory designs include –Boundary setting procedures, GHG quantification methodology, GHG activity data collection and finally the GHG inventory report.  Following points elaborate the GHG inventory design;

1. Define organizational and operational boundary

Organization’s operations vary in their legal and organizational structures.  It includes wholly owned operations, incorporated and non-incorporated joint ventures, subsidiaries, and others. Therefore boundary setting is the first stage towards developing an organizational GHG inventory design and quantification. It specifies the scope and limitation of GHG inventory quantification and lays down the process for emission quantification, categorization, and reporting.

According to ISO14064–I, boundary setting for organizational GHG quantification is of two types – First is Organizational boundary setting and second is Operational boundary setting.

2.  Set organizational boundary?

GHG sources and sinks are located within facilities. Organizational boundary setting lays down the procedure and criteria for consolidating the GHG emissions from GHG sources located within one or many facilities. Organizations can adopt operational control criteria for setting organizational boundary if the facilities having GHG sources are completely managed by the organization’s staff and also have absolute authority to lay down operational procedures and controls, plan financial outlay and design and implement any decisions required for the organization’s operation. On the other hand, equity share approach shall be used when the organization has stake in the other organization where the GHG sources are located at accounts for their inclusion in GHG inventory.  More often organization has its GHG sources dispersed within the various departments, subsidiaries and joint ventures. Therefore organization’s major departments, subsidiaries and joint ventures, which control GHG sources, shall be included in the organizational boundary.

Organizational Boundary: As per the clause 4.1 of ISO 14064-1, the organization may comprise one or more facilities. Facility level GHG emissions or removals may be produced from one or more GHG sources (Sources that emit greenhouse gases).

Facilities can be defined as a single installation, set of installations or production processes, which can be defined within a single geographical boundary, organizational unit or production process.

The organization shall consolidate its facility level GHG emissions and removals by one of the following approaches:

  • Control: the organization accounts for all quantified GHG emissions and/or removals from facilities over which it has financial or operational control; or
  • Equity share: the organization accounts for its portion of GHG emissions and/or removals from respective facilities.

3. Set operational Boundary?

An operational boundary defines the scope of direct and indirect emissions for operations that fall within a company’s established organizational boundary. The operational boundary (scope 1, scope 2, and scope 3) is decided after setting the organizational boundary. The established organizational and operational boundaries together constitute a company’s inventory boundary.

As per the clause 4.1 of ISO 14064-1, the organization shall establish and document its operational boundaries. The establishment of operational boundaries includes identifying GHG emissions and removals associated with the organization’s operations, categorizing GHG emissions and removals into direct emissions, energy indirect emissions and other indirect emissions.

Operational boundary setting involves identification of GHG sources and sinks and their categorization into direct GHG emissions or removals (Scope 1 emissions), energy indirect GHG emissions or removals (Scope 2 emissions) and indirect GHG emissions (Scope 3).

  • Direct GHG emission (Scope 1): Direct GHG emissions are also called as scope 1 emissions. The emissions from company owned or operated assets such as machinery, equipment, or processes are included in scope 1 emissions. Therefore all the emissions happening from company owned vehicles, machinery, equipment, processes come under scope 1. Also emissions from such assets that are not owned by the company but operated by the company also come under scope 1. For example if company hires a vehicle and pay for its fuel separately, then emissions from vehicles are categorized under scope 1 emission. Therefore if company operates any asset and pays for its fossil based fuel or responsible for process, the respective emissions are categorized under scope 1. Direct GHG emissions from electricity, heat and steam generated and exported or distributed by the organization may be reported separately, but shall not be deducted from the organization’s total direct GHG emissions. CO2 emissions from the combustion of biomass shall be quantified separately.
  • Energy indirect GHG emission (Scope 2): Energy indirect GHG emissions are also called as scope 2 emissions. These emissions are associated with energy bought by the facilities. The energy bought could be electricity or steam or heat. The emission source could be outside of organizational boundary, but since the energy is used by facilities, the associated emissions are calculated and categorized as scope 2 emissions.
  • Indirect GHG emission (Scope 3): Indirect GHG emissions come from supply chain, third party/contractors’ energy consumption, employee travel, and use of consumables by the facilities.

4. Develop GHG quantification methodology

Greenhouse gas quantification should be based on the emission quantification methods that are most appropriate for the organization and should be complete, consistent, transparent and accurate. The GHG quantification methodology shall be based on the guidelines published by IPCC. Organization shall use a combination of standards and guidelines for reporting direct and indirect carbon emissions; including, predominantly, the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol prepared by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the standard provided by International Organization for Standardization i.e. ISO 14064-1. GHG quantification methodology that is based on ‘GHG activity data multiplied by GHG emission or removal factors’ will be appropriate for GHG quantification. Organization can also calculate GHG emissions based on a mass balance or stoichiometric basis specific to a facility or process

 Application of GHG quantification methodology;

  • GHG quantification methodology helps the organization to quantify GHG emission as a result of organization’s operations in alignment with renowned GHG quantification standards like GHG protocol and ISO 14064.
  • GHG quantification methodology helps in Identification of all greenhouse gas sources and sinks from the organizational boundary.
  • GHG quantification methodology helps in selection and collection of GHG activity data that further leads to measurement, calculation or estimation of GHG emissions.
  • GHG quantification methodology helps in selection or development of greenhouse gas emission or removal factors.

5.   Collect GHG activity data

Create GHG sources master list and identify the relevant GHG activity data required under chosen GHG quantification methodology. Extract the data which is further required for GHG emission quantification.

6. Calculate GHG Emission and reporting

Green House Gas (GHG) accounting should be done using guidelines mentioned in ISO 14064-1 and the GHG protocol. The GHG quantification can be done using following approach – GHG activity data is multiplied by the relevant GHG emission/removal factors. On the other hand, an organization can use mass balance or stoichiometric approach for GHG emission quantification.

Using these six steps, you can design, develop and report GHG inventory of your organization. If you have any queries regarding these six steps, please contact us at

References:  ISO 14064-1, WRI -GHG Protocol, IPCC

Know more about ISO 14064-1 and GHG inventory here;

Introductory guide on the ISO14064-1 Implementation Stages

Carbon Footprint Calculation- A small introduction of ISO 14064

Why assessing carbon footprint is important for your organization?

How to calculate CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion?


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