Posted: 18 October, 2023. Written by Jesse Scharf
The GHG Protocol has published an Interim Update on Accounting for Biomethane Certificates on their website. This helpful intervention by the GHG Protocol sets out the changes made over the past few years in their treatment of the use of biomethane certificates as a route for organisations to contribute to their greenhouse gas emissions reduction plans. This process continues and the update highlights early on that there remains "no definitive guidance on this question under the GHG Protocol".
The note sets out a number of issues that GGCS has been updating its members on including that:
- The GHG Protocol published new guidance on 2015 on Scope 2 emissions which allowed companies to account for the use biogas "injected into gas grids" if that company "has a contractual instrument specifying its gas supply as “biogas".
- This section concerning the use of biogas was subsequently removed from the Scope 2 Guidance in 2020 because it was viewed as being "out of scope for the Scope 2 Guidance"
- The treatment of biogas was then considered as part of new GHG Protocol Land Sector and Removals Guidance and a draft approach is included in Annex B: Biomethane of the Draft for Pilot Testing and Review (September 2022). However stakeholder feedback to this draft "suggested that the topic should be considered further before proceeding with the guidance that was proposed in the annex".
- Hence "Annex B on biomethane will be removed from the Land Sector and Removals Guidance and will not appear in the final publication". The draft guida]nce suggesting that market-based reprotgin of Scope 1 emissions was not possible has no standing or role to play in any reporting framework and the interim update makes clear that “In the absence of guidance, companies purchasing certificates may wish to consult with their auditors and consider rules provided by relevant target-setting programs or applicable regulatory schemes in their jurisdiction(s) on how to report these purchases in their reports, while ensuring full transparency and following all GHG accounting and reporting principles."
- The treatment of biomethane will be considered as part of a wholesale review of the GHG Protocol guidance which was kickstarted in November 2022. The most important of these to biomethane certificates is the workstream on market-based accounting approaches.
The GGCS has already contributed to these new review surveys and will continue to regularly update members on progress.