New ISO standard aims to build confidence in the global carbon market
A new International Standard detailing the level of competency required by those responsible for verifying greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions has been published. It is the latest addition to ISO’s toolbox of standards for addressing climate change and supporting emissions trading schemes.
With a growing global awareness of the need for environmental protection and sustainability, organizations are eager to demonstrate their efforts to inventory, report, and reduce GHG emissions. In order to assure the credibility of their claims, many of these organizations are turning to third-party bodies to validate and verify emission assertions.
ISO 14066: 2011, Greenhouse gases – Competence requirements for greenhouse gas validation teams and verification teams, spells out the competence requirements of the personnel undertaking the various validation or verification activities within the team appointed for the task. It is intended to achieve consistency in the global carbon market and maintain public confidence in GHG reporting and other communications.
ISO 14066 is the latest document in the ISO toolbox of standards to address climate change and GHG emissions. These were launched in 2006 with ISO 14064, a three-part standard for assessing GHG emission reduction projects in either voluntary or regulatory schemes.
The standard was followed by ISO 14065, which gives accreditation requirements for organizations that validate or verify resulting GHG emission assertions or claims.
Dr. Tod Delaney, Convenor of the ISO working group responsible for ISO 14066, commented: “The accuracy of an organization’s GHG emissions claims is essential, considering the political and financial ramifications of each claim.”
“If an organization publishes claims that are later discovered to be unreliable, it risks damages both financially and in terms of their reputation. This is why the competence of those assessing such claims is absolutely crucial.”
The new ISO 14066 standard sets out detailed lists of the skills and knowledge that must be possessed by the auditing team personnel– with the focus on team rather than individual competency.Comprising eight clauses, six annexes and a bibliography, ISO 14066 covers topics such as independence, integrity, and team competence.
It can be used in conjunction with ISO 14065 for the benefit of greenhouse gas programme administrators, regulators, validation bodies, and verification bodies. It is not linked to any particular greenhouse gas programme.
Dr. Chan Kook Weng, Chair of ISO subcommittee SC 7 that developed the standard explained: “Claims made about reductions of the greenhouse gas emissions can have political and financial implications, in addition to environmental and technical ones. ISO 14066 is a companion standard to ISO 14065 in assuring integrity and consistency in emission reporting and reduction projects across industry sectors and geographical borders. It is also a standard for ‘Who watches the watchman’ so as to build up trust and confidence in assessing GHG assertions. ”
ISO 14066:2011, Greenhouse gases – Competence requirements for greenhouse gas validation teams and verification teams, was developed by ISO technical committee ISO/TC 207, Environmental management, subcommittee SC 7, Greenhouse gas management and related activities. It costs 112 Swiss francs and is available from ISO national member institutes (see the complete list with contact details) and from ISO Central Secretariat through the ISO Store.
NOTE TO EDITORS: Often used interchangeably, the terms “validate” and “verify” represent two separate and distinct processes. Validation comes at the beginning of a project and lays out the framework by which emission reductions will occur. Verification assesses how an organization or project has performed its GHG inventory and reported its results against an established protocol, demonstrating the relevance, completeness, consistency, transparency, and accuracy of the emission claim.