When choosing a carbon accounting software, perhaps the most important point to consider is the accuracy of the data that your platform can generate.
The reason: ultimately, it’s these particular insights that’ll serve as the guiding blueprint for reducing emissions within your company's operations.
As a result, platforms take the process of determining a customer’s carbon footprint very seriously, and will typically align their methodologies with the GHG Protocol—the fundamental framework for emissions reporting.
This alignment ensures that the results a platform produces will adhere to the standards of quality and actionability that customers require.
Taking this a step further, some platforms decide to go the extra mile by having their alignment with the GHG Protocol analyzed and evaluated by a third party.
Here, the main objective is to provide customers with the highest level of confidence when it comes to the accuracy of emissions data that their carbon accounting software produces.
Over the course of 6 months, we went through this process, and by the end of it, our platform was successfully validated by TÜV Rheinland—one of the premier providers of independent assurance services.
Below, we’ve shared the story of having our alignment with the GHG Protocol certified, and most importantly, the tangible benefits that this provides for our clients.
A quick recap: what’s the GHG Protocol?
The GHG Protocol is a corporate standard for the calculation of Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions—and as of 2016, it’s used by roughly 90% of the companies within the Fortune 500 that already include GHG estimates as part of their reporting.
Though it’s not prescriptive in terms of actual calculation methods and emissions factors, the GHG Protocol does provide standards for the application of sound principles, developing organizational/facility boundaries and determining materiality (where appropriate).
For carbon accounting platforms, the GHG Protocol comes into play when developing a “methodology”—meaning the platform’s process for calculating emissions.
In general, platforms craft their methodology in a way that ensures alignment with the GHG Protocol.
The certification process for GHG Protocol alignment
While it's common for platforms to claim alignment with the GHG Protocol, we went the extra step of having our alignment certified by TÜV Rheinland, a top provider of independent certification services.
This process—which evaluates a platform’s methodology and emission factor sources—helps to nurture consumer confidence when it comes to the precision of emissions data produced by their selected carbon accounting software.
For us, the entire certification process took about 6 months, and consisted of our team preparing supporting documents for the TÜV Rheinland auditors, taking them through our platform, and providing information on everything from how our engine tabulates emissions to the finer details of Unravel Carbon’s calculation methodology and emission factor database.
After meeting all the necessary criteria, TÜV Rheinland officially certified our methodology as being both “scientifically based” and “state of the art.”
The Unravel Carbon difference: granularity
We built Unravel Carbon with two primary objectives in mind: (a) to provide customers with powerful carbon accounting software, and (b) to equip them with a highly-advanced decarbonization platform as well.
As a result, we take immense pride in our commitment to developing the most extensive database of item-specific emission factors available in order to help companies transform their granular data into a comprehensive strategy for lowering emissions.
For more details on how we match emission factors to a customer’s data, check out the video below:
Unravel Carbon’s methodology
Unravel Carbon’s methodology employs a hybrid waterfall approach to calculate emissions—this means that we prioritize and align emissions data at the level of individual items and suppliers, where data is available, before exploring spend-based strategies.
By adopting this method, we’re able to develop an emissions inventory that prioritizes granular data, and then, use those insights to help clients work toward decarbonization in a very detailed manner.
Specifically, we’re able to take a company’s accounting data, and then, match purchased items to the amount of emissions associated with each sale.
Here’s how that could look:
If a fashion company purchased a shirt composed of 80 percent cotton and 20 percent polyester from a manufacturer in Malaysia, we could calculate emissions based on the specific materials and the actual location, rather than depending on industry/spend averages.
For a deeper dive into this process, here’s a video we put together:
What does this certification mean for our customers?
An assurance that Unravel Carbon’s methodology adheres to international standards
Given the importance of earning, maintaining and strengthening client trust, it’s vital that platforms implement the necessary measures to ensure that their data quality adheres to international standards for GHG emissions inventory development, and that these efforts have been validated by a third party as well.
Professional support for your limited/reasonable assurance process
To be clear, Unravel Carbon’s certification doesn’t negate the need for customers to go through their own assurance process for validation of climate-related disclosure, as auditors would need to check on the sources of input data in the system, whether in the form of fuel records or electricity bills.
What Unravel Carbon does provide, however, is a clear end-to-end traceability of data inputs, calculation transformations, and emission outputs to support your audit journey. This is done by providing our customers’ auditors with access to the Unravel Carbon platform, and providing a Basis of Preparation which documents all sources and required information, supported with extracted data from our system.
Cost and time savings
With the degree of transparency and traceability that our platform affords, it ultimately translates into cost and time savings for our customers when conducting their own reasonable or limited assurance audits.
Ensuring that a carbon accounting platform has taken the proper steps to certify its alignment with the GHG Protocol is a pivotal point for customers to consider.
Especially in light of the ISSB standards and other international regulatory developments such as the Australian Treasury’s proposed climate-related financial disclosure—which are based on the GHG Protocol and set forth limited and reasonable assurance requirements in the coming years for reporting entities—it’s essential for companies to prepare for this anticipated increase in climate disclosure requirements.
While there are numerous factors to consider when selecting a platform, if you're in the process of choosing carbon accounting software, we strongly advise dedicating the necessary time to understand the platform's methodology and assess its suitability for your company's specific needs.
By successfully completing the certification process, platforms can offer customers the confidence they need and deserve from their carbon accounting software. This enables clients to be well-prepared for mandated audits, and empowers them to work with certainty and efficiency in pursuit of their immediate and long-term sustainability goals.
Interested in learning more about Unravel Carbon’s methodology and its certified alignment with the GHG Protocol? Get in touch with us here.
Note: We recognize the importance of continuously improving our offerings, ensuring that the advancements we implement are strictly aligned with the GHG Protocol, and updated as standards are changed over time. In pursuit of this commitment, we have a strong appreciation for the critical role of regularly working with certification bodies, assurance providers and standards agencies to evaluate and ensure that Unravel Carbon maintains its position as the best-in-class platform for facilitating emission disclosures.