Verifying the LSA carbon reporting process?
Expert comment by Michael Gifford, Carbon Trust Certification Limited
The LSA will be engaging with members in the coming months to explore the value of external verification and this article describes how Carbon Trust Certification could provide independence and rigour to the annual submission of reports to the LSA.
Who are we?
Carbon Trust Certification Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Carbon Trust, a not-for-dividend organisation that was established in 2001 by the government to accelerate progress towards a low carbon economy.
We developed and launched the Carbon Trust Standard (CTS) based on the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and ISO 14064 and established a tough new standard that organisations committed to reducing their carbon emissions could attain.
To do so they need to meet three criteria:
1. data to measure their carbon emissions;
2. policies for carbon governance, carbon accounting and carbon management to show how the organisation plans to manage its future carbon;
3. reduce their carbon emissions over the preceding three years.
These same three criteria are integral to the Legal Sector Alliance (LSA) Protocol.
What do we do?
We verify carbon footprints for organisations, products and services. To do this we have two teams of verifiers: one is internal and accredited by UKAS to ISO14065; the other is external and comprises 83 independent specialist engineers. Each of these carefully reviews and verifies spreadsheets prepared by our customers and they also review their qualitative submissions. The process is clear: the bar is set in published methodologies and verifiers are trained to examine the data submitted by clients impartially and to review evidence that supports the data. If the submission exceeds the level at which the bar is set, it is verified. If it does not, it fails.
What could we do for Legal Sector Alliance?
We undertake verifications for clients against other standards than our own; for example, CTS was selected by DEFRA to be one of two Early Action Metrics in the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme and is now approved by Carbon Disclosure Project as one that meets its verification criteria. We are clear on the requirements of the LSA Protocol, having been involved in reviewing these before the launch of your scheme. Today, a growing number of LSA members are also certified under CTS and we can see, for these firms, there is an overlap in the reporting to us and LSA.
Why adopt independent verification?
LSA members do not, at present, undergo external verification of their submissions. Many might see the advantages of having an independent, impartial view from a specialist third party that understands carbon reduction. We can offer a verification service that reviews qualitative submissions against the ‘seven principles’ and, for those that prepare and submit carbon footprint data, we can verify this too. We could provide a ‘static service’ that simply reviews the commentary and verifies the underlying data. Alternatively, we could provide a more ‘active service’ that seeks to benchmark submissions against anonymised competitors, to show how the organisation under review compares with competing firms in the sector. In every instance we can provide an independent view on your submissions, a level of rigour to the process and the added value that flows from a meeting with an experienced verifier.
Michael Gifford is Head of Operations and Delivery Partners, Carbon Trust Certification Limited
For further information please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org