Since its public launch in early December, the Carbon Accounting Alliance has quadrupled its membership – a key indicator of the appetite for collaboration and consensus in the world of carbon accounting, according to Net Zero Now’s Climate Research Manager, Harry Llewellyn.
As one of the founding members, Net Zero Now has been a part of the organic yet rapid growth of The Carbon Accounting Alliance from the outset. The group brings together consultancies, software companies, auditors and certifying bodies, all of whom are united in their desire to work together to solve challenges, share best practice and promote the development of robust and most importantly consistent carbon accounting standards. Together, CAA members now measure the emissions of over 40,000 companies, with an estimated 578+ million tonnes CO2e measured and over 6 million tonnes of CO2e reduced.
Collaboration to develop consensus is essential in the world of carbon accounting, where interpretation of what is considered ‘best practice’ can play such a decisive role in corporate climate action. As is often the case with emerging fields, different players have developed different ideas of ‘best practice’ when it comes to carbon reporting. But the stakes in this game are extraordinarily high – poor interpretation, misinterpretation and confusion can serve to hinder progress towards reaching net zero in line with Paris Agreement targets. Conversely, when the relevant voices in this space are united in their interpretation and have an agreed view on how to deliver best practice across carbon reporting, progress to corporate net zero can be greatly accelerated.
As members of the Alliance, we’re seeking to ensure better consensus around interpretation of standards, including the GHG protocol, and securing broad agreement around the accounting methodologies we use, at a very practical level. This consistency in approach is vital not only for accelerated progress, but also for effective comparability between companies, which is increasingly becoming a key factor on which businesses can compete.
As the organisation grows and discussions on carbon accounting mature, we hope to see the CAA establish itself as an authority in the carbon accounting space, whose expertise has been and will continue to be sought out by the highest levels of Government and commerce. The collective knowledge and experience amassed by members of the group through their work with tens of thousands of businesses is unrivalled and should be invaluable to the Government as it considers future climate strategy, particularly around carbon reporting. The group has already made recommendations regarding upcoming reporting deadlines for corporate scope 1 & 2 emissions, as well as reporting requirements for landlords, and implementing carbon accounting education programmes across the UK.
While the UK has been the focus of CAA’s membership and conversations to date, the Alliance hopes to attract a more global membership as it expands. The objectives of seeking greater consensus and alignment around carbon accounting are every bit as relevant in – and across - other countries as they are here in the UK.
While collaborative efforts and shared ambition around carbon accounting standards and methodologies may not be the stuff of headlines, they are, nonetheless, significant. At a time when many seek to divide and polarise and destroy previously universally accepted consensus, collaboration becomes increasingly important. And when the issue demanding our attention is a climate emergency that transcends state boundaries the need for this collaboration to span them too becomes essential. That’s why I am genuinely excited about the potential of what the Carbon Accounting Alliance can achieve, and delighted about the contribution that Net Zero Now can make to it.
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