Glossary

A

Additional (also additionality): Refers to an external emission reduction project from which emissions reductions are verified as carbon credits under an applicable carbon accounting standard. An emission reduction project is said to be additional when it can be demonstrated that in the absence of the availability of carbon finance the project activity would not have occurred (the “baseline” scenario); and, such baseline scenario would have resulted in higher greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Each eligible carbon accounting standard under The CarbonNeutral Protocol provides tools for how additionality at a project level is tested and demonstrated.

AIC: Aircraft (or aviation) induced clouds which have a potential climate warming affect.

Assessment: The process of quantifying the GHG emissions for a given subject, using robust and transparent methods that can be replicated.

Available (referring to data): Applied to primary data, “available” means readily collectable, at reasonable cost. Applied to secondary data, “available” means readily found in reputable, published sources such as those issued by government departments, academic institutions, specialist research bodies and the secretariats of leading GHG standards and protocols.

Aviation Impact Factor (AIF): A term used in The CarbonNeutral Protocol for the multiplier applied to the GHG emissions from aviation in order to take account of the wider impacts of aviation on climate. This includes but is not limited to short or long-term impacts; from GHGs alone and others with global warming influence (for example, soot particles and aviation induced clouds); and, direct and indirect impacts (for example, the interaction of NOx with methane gases and ozone at high altitudes). 

B

Baseline: Refers to an external emission reduction project from which emissions reductions are verified as carbon credits under an applicable carbon accounting standard. The baseline for a project activity is the projected GHG emissions that are calculated to occur in the absence of the proposed project activity. 

Boundary: The physical or spatial extent of the subject – the entity, product or activity – i.e. the sites (including mobile sites such as vehicles) involved. By way of example, the boundary might encompass the office and vehicles of an entity, or the sites used for the manufacture, storage and transportation of a product.

C

Carbon credit: A transactable, non-tangible instrument representing a unit of carbon dioxideequivalent (CO2e) – typically one tonne – that is reduced, avoided or sequestered by a project and is certified/verified to an internationally recognised carbon accounting standard. Carbon credits are typically ultimately used to counterbalance or compensate for emissions occurring elsewhere.

Carbon neutral: Condition in which the net GHG emissions associated with an entity, product or activity is zero for a defined duration.

CarbonNeutral®: The registered trademark of Natural Capital Partners.

CarbonNeutral® certification: The process by which a client receives recognition that it has met the provisions of The CarbonNeutral Protocol for a specific subject. CarbonNeutral® certifications can only be awarded by a CarbonNeutral certifier.

CarbonNeutral certifier: An organisation providing CarbonNeutral® certification through the application of The CarbonNeutral Protocol. There are two types of CarbonNeutral certifier: the primary certifier and secondary certifiers. The primary certifier, Natural Capital Partners, is responsible for the development and oversight of The Protocol. Secondary certifiers are entities, which have the relevant expertise and demonstrated experience, and which have been authorised by Natural Capital Partners to provide certifications in accordance with The CarbonNeutral Protocol.

CarbonNeutral® certification logo: A logo incorporating the CarbonNeutral® trademark that is licensed to a client upon the successful completion of a CarbonNeutral® certification.

CarbonNeutral® certification logo guidelines: Natural Capital Partners’ requirements and guidelines governing the application of CarbonNeutral® certification logos. Certification period: The duration for which a CarbonNeutral® certification is applied to a subject.

Client: The organisation, individual or group of individuals entering into a contract with a CarbonNeutral certifier for the purposes of a CarbonNeutral® certification.

Carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e): A unit of measurement that describes for a GHG the amount of CO2 in tonnes that would have the same global warming potential, when measured over a 100 year timescale.

Cradle-to-customer: A particular boundary for product subjects. The cradle-to-customer boundary includes the extraction and processing of raw materials (including any packaging materials), manufacture, storage and distribution to first customer.

Cradle-to-grave: A particular boundary for CarbonNeutral® product class subjects. The cradle-to-grave boundary includes extraction and processing of raw materials (including any packaging materials), manufacture, storage, distribution to first customer, further distribution and storage, retail, use and end-of-life disposal.

D

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA): Part of the United Kingdom Government, which has provided GHG measurement guidance which is referenced and applied internationally.

Delivery (referring to carbon credits): Refers to the receipt of legal title and ownership of verified and issued carbon credits by the provider of such reductions. Delivery can occur on a third-party external registry, or through written agreement.

E

Emissions sinks: The specific activities or processes within a boundary which remove GHGs from the atmosphere.

Emissions sources: The specific GHG-emitting activities or processes within a boundary.

EN 15804: Refers to the European standard on “Sustainability of construction works – Environmental Product Declarations – core rules for the product category of construction products.” It provides core product category rules for type III Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for any construction product and construction service.

Environmental instruments: The broad category of instruments that includes carbon credits, energy attribute certificates, and all other instruments designed to track the environmental attributes of project based activities.

Environmental Product Declaration (EPD): An independently verified document that reports environmental data of products based on life cycle assessment and other relevant information and in accordance with the international standard ISO 14025. 

European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS): A regulatory approach to reducing GHG emissions across the European Union using a “cap and trade” approach, which includes carbon offsets from the Clean Development Mechanism of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) Kyoto Protocol. 

G

Geographically relevant: Pertaining to the specific location of the emissions-generating activity in question. In order of preference, emission factors and secondary data should be applied first from local, sub-national datasets; then from national datasets; and then from regional datasets. In the absence of available data from these datasets, available global factors and data may be applied.

Greenhouse gas (GHG): GHGs listed under the Kyoto Protocol and currently targeted for reduction are: carbon dioxide (CO2 ), methane (CH4 ), nitrous oxide (N2 O), hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, sulphurhexafluoride (SF6 ), and nitrogen trifluoride (NF3 ).

GHG inventory: An accounting of the amount of GHGs discharged into the atmosphere from sources and removed from the atmosphere by sinks within a specified boundary.

GHG protocol corporate standard: The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and World Resources Institute’s (WRI) Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standards (Corporate Standard). The GHG Protocol Corporate Standard is the most commonly used organisational GHG accounting methodology. It defines emissions reporting under three key scopes, ensuring comprehensive reporting.

GHG Protocol Product Standard: The WBCSD and WRI’s Product Life Cycle Accounting and Reporting Standard (Product Standard). This document allows an entity to measure the GHG associated with the full life cycle of products including raw materials, manufacturing, transportation, storage, use and disposal.

Guarantee of Origin (GO): An instrument defined in European legislation, issued per MWh, that labels and tracks electricity from renewable sources to provide information to electricity customers on the source of their energy.

Global Warming Potential (GWP): Gives an index of the activity of atmospheric constituents, referenced to carbon dioxide (which therefore has a GWP of 1) over a given time horizon. As an illustration of this, over a 100 year horizon, methane has a GWP of 34 (Ref: IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), 2013, p714).

I

Independent qualified third-party (referring to GHG assessment providers): An individual or organisation experienced in GHG accounting that has no conflict of interest or financial gain in the outcome of the assessment and is approved by the primary CarbonNeutral certifier.

Internal emission reduction: A reduction of GHG emissions made within the boundary of a subject (through for example, undertaking energy efficiency projects, on-site renewable energy or fuel substitution) which is accounted for in the subject’s GHG inventory.

International Renewable Energy Certificate (I-REC): An instrument defined by the International REC Standard that labels electricity from renewable sources to provide information to electricity customers on the source of their energy.

ISO 14025: Refers to the international standard on “Environmental labels and declarations – type III environmental declarations – principles and procedures.” It establishes the principles and specifies the procedures for developing type III environmental declaration programmes and type III environmental declarations. It specifically establishes the use of the ISO 14040 series of standards in the development of type III environmental declaration programmes and type III environmental declarations.

ISO14040: Refers to the international standard on “Environmental management – life cycle assessment – principles and framework.” It describes the principles and framework for life cycle assessment (LCA) including: definition of the goal and scope of the LCA, the life cycle inventory analysis (LCI) phase, the life cycle impact assessment phase (LCIA), the life cycle interpretation phase, reporting and critical review of the LCA, limitations of the LCA, the relationship between the LCA phases, and conditions for use of value choices and optional elements.

ISO 14044: Refers to the international standard on “Environmental management – life cycle assessment – requirements and guidelines.” It specifies requirements and provides guidelines for LCA including: definition of the goal and scope of the LCA, the life cycle inventory analysis (LCI) phase, the life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) phase, the life cycle interpretation phase, reporting and critical review of the LCA, limitations of the LCA, relationship between the LCA phases, and conditions for use of value choices and optional elements.

ISO 14064-1: International Organisation for Standardisation’s specification for quantification and reporting of GHG emissions and removals at the organisation level. Its approach is similar to the GHG Protocol Corporate Standard.

ISO 14065: International Organisation for Standardisation’s requirements for the accreditation of entities that validate or verify resulting GHG emission assertions or claims. The aim of ISO 14065 is to give confidence to parties that rely upon a GHG assertion or claim, for example customers or investors, that the entities providing the declarations are competent to do so, and have systems in place to manage impartiality and to provide the required level of assurance on a consistent basis.

ISO/TS 14067: Refers to the technical specification on “Greenhouse gases – carbon footprint of products – requirements and guidelines for quantification and communication.” It specifies principles, requirements and guidelines for the quantification and communication of the carbon footprint of a product, based on international standards on LCA (ISO 14040 and ISO 14044) for quantification and on environmental labels and declarations (including ISO 14025) for communication.

ISO 21930: Refers to the international standard on “Sustainability in building construction – environmental declaration of building products.” It provides a framework and the basic requirements for product category rules as defined in ISO 14025 for type III environmental declarations of building products. Where this international standard contains more specific requirements, it complements ISO 14025 for the EPD of building products.

Issuance: The delivery of a specified quantity of carbon credits into a specified account on a registry. Issuance allows carbon credits to be transferred and retired on a registry. 

O

Offsetting: The practice of compensating for GHG emissions by retiring (cancelling) carbon credits.

P

PAS 2050: BSI’s Publically Available Specification for the assessment of the life cycle GHG emissions of goods and services. The general principles of PAS 2050 are similar to the GHG Protocol Product Standard, both of which are appropriate for use within The CarbonNeutral Protocol.

PAS 2060: Publically Available Specification for the demonstration of carbon neutrality. It continues to provide a clear definition of carbon neutral and a credible means of determining and demonstrating carbon neutrality. The specification encourages entities to work towards reduced GHG emissions and to achieve genuine reductions in those emissions. Its use encourages real change in behaviour to help drive society towards a low carbon economy. This PAS specifies requirements to be met by any entity seeking to demonstrate carbon neutrality through the quantification, reduction and offsetting of GHG emissions from a uniquely identified subject.

Product Category Rule (PCR): Documents that define the rules and requirements for EPDs from a certain product category. They are vital for the concept of environmental declarations as they enable transparency and comparability between different EPDs based on the same PCR.

Primary data: Data collected or directly measured which have not been subjected to processing or any other manipulation. Examples of primary data sources include direct measurement of the quantity of natural gas burnt in a heating system (Scope 1) or metered electricity (Scope 2) before the application of conversion factors used to determine CO2e emissions.

Q

Quality assurance: Independent review conducted by an expert third-party to check that the input data for GHG inventories, or use of a CarbonNeutral® certification logo meets the requirements of a CarbonNeutral® certification and is in line with the approach and principles of The CarbonNeutral Protocol.

Quality assurance statement: A written statement by an expert third party with demonstrated experience declaring the results of a quality assurance exercise.

R

Renewable Energy Certificate (REC): An instrument defined in North American regulations that labels electricity from renewable sources to provide information to electricity customers on the source of their energy.

Registry: A database of carbon credits and their transactions, where each credit has a unique identifier and where credits are retired (cancelled) upon being sold to offset an equivalent amount of GHG emissions.

Retire: Refers to the permanent cancellation of carbon credits from future use in a thirdparty registry.

Radiative Forcing Index (RFI): A factor used to quantify non-CO2 warming effects of air travel. RFI is the ratio of total radiative forcing (RF) of all GHGs to RF from CO2 emissions alone for aircraft emissions (IPCC, 1999). RFI does not account for the different residence times of different warming factors. 

S

Scopes: The three “classes” of emissions sources identified in the GHG Protocol Corporate Standard, relevant to assessing and reporting the GHG emissions of entities.

Scope 1 emissions: Those direct GHG emissions directly attributable to the subject that occur from sources that are owned, leased or controlled by the entity seeking CarbonNeutral® certification, principally from the following types of activities: the combustion of fuels for the generation of electricity, heat, or steam; processing and/or manufacturing of materials or chemicals; transportation in company owned/controlled mobile combustion sources; and fugitive emissions from intentional or unintentional releases (e.g. equipment leaks and hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) emissions from refrigeration and air conditioning equipment).

Scope 2 emissions: Those emissions indirectly attributable to the subject from the generation of electricity, heat, steam or cooling that is acquired and consumed in owned, leased or controlled equipment or operations.

Scope 3 emissions: All non-Scope 2 indirect emissions from upstream and downstream sources. The most common examples are emissions from: transport-related activities; transportation of purchased materials, goods or fuels; employee business travel; employee commuting to and from work; transportation of sold products in third-party owned vehicles; and the transportation and disposal of waste and sold products at the end of their life.

Secondary data: Data collected or measured which has been subjected to processing or additional calculations to arrive at a usable output. Examples include applying emission factors to flight distances or fuel consumption to produce a value for GHG emissions.

Simplified Estimation Method (SEM): Rough, upper bound estimation developed and implemented as necessary and appropriate to a subject’s GHG assessment. SEMs are intended to be used for GHG emissions sources that represent less than 2% of the subject’s total GHG emissions. Collectively SEMs should total no more than 5% of the subject’s GHG emissions.

Short Lived Climate Forcers (SLCF): Emissions with a short atmospheric residence time which have the potential to affect climate.

Subject: The entity, product or activity to which CarbonNeutral® certification is applied

T

Tradable Instrument for Global Renewables (TIGR): A global instrument defined by APX that labels electricity from renewable sources to provide information to electricity customers on the source of their energy.

V

Verification: Independent evaluation conducted by an expert third party with demonstrated experience to the requirements of an independent verification standard (such as ISO 14064:3 or ISAE 3410) to check that the quality of input data, a GHG assessment, or that the use of a CarbonNeutral® certification logo meets the requirements of a CarbonNeutral® certification and is in line with the approach and principles of The CarbonNeutral Protocol.

Verification statement: A written statement by an expert third party with demonstrated experience declaring the results of a verification exercise.