Integrated into the COP15 event sustainability report was an excellent study of local carbon emissions conducted by the Copenhagen office of Deloitte. COP15 Carbon Footprint Deloitte 2010
With lessons learned from the carbon footprint measurement of COP15, Deloitte is providing a list of recommendations for successful carbon footprint measurements for future COP meetings.
1. Establish an effective governance structure
Understanding the most significant GHG sources should be included in the decision-making process for the logistics of the COP meeting in order to achieve the best results and to demonstrate commitment. The governance structure may include a body of representatives from the national government hosting the COP and the UNFCCC to ensure effective planning, coordination and communication.
2. Adopt a step model
The 8-step model described in chapter 2 may apply for measuring the carbon footprint of events. First of all the model makes it possible to focus on the most significant as well as the most uncertain factors; secondly it ensures an effec-tive process; and lastly it provides key messages to communicating in a timely manner during the process. The steps, however, should not necessarily be seen as a sequential process, as they may overlap.
3. Engage with organizers and suppliers on interchange and collection of data
The access to valid data is essential for achieving a credible and applicable result, and most data are collected in collaboration with direct or indirect sup-pliers to the COP meeting. In order to ensure sufficient and timely data collec-tion, the requirement for data should be agreed at an early stage, preferably by the engagement of suppliers.
4. Use acknowledged standards and units of measurement
Standards for organisations (eg. GHG Protocol and ISO 14064) and events (eg. BS 8901 and ISO 20121 in the future) may be deployed at COP meetings, however the standards designed for organisations must be adjusted to suit the purpose.
5. Keep track of documentation
All data and information sources as well as preliminary results should be tra-ceable. Focus on the ability to revise and compare estimates as they evolve before and after the conference – including the possibility to estimate and doc-ument GHG emission reductions from specific initiatives.
6. Make control calculations by alternative methods
Whenever an alternative source of data or method of calculation is available, it can be used to control the validity of the method applied in the methodology. If large deviations occur, the causes for those deviations may be found and explained, and potential errors may be corrected.
7. Get third party viewpoint
Involve a third party such as an independent research institution, NGO or similar in decisions regarding scope, methodology and data sources. Such involvement may help increase credibility in the results, ensure that special public interests are considered, and – to some extent – prevent criticism from observers. The involvement may be established on an official or ad hoc basis. In addition, the reporting entity may engage an independent auditor to express an opinion on the carbon footprint.
8. Compare and benchmark to similar events
When possible, similar events whose carbon footprint has been measured may be studied to compare and benchmark, and to control the validity of applied calculations. As described in the introduction, some factors may vary greatly and make it challenging to compare. Those factors include the nature of the events’ activities and local conditions such as infrastructure and weather conditions7.
9. Estimate the level of confidence
Quantitative measurements of the level of confidence is a time consuming and costly discipline. Therefore a more simple qualitative consideration of level of confidence may be used to evaluate whether the overall results have a high, medium or low level of confidence, and whether initiatives should be taken to raise confidence levels. If the level of confidence of key data is relatively low due to factors yet unknown, it is recommended to add a buffer to the total estimate. As an example, please see Appendix II – levels of confidence. (comment: VERY IMPORTANT)
10. Utilize results for communication and awareness raising
The results of the pre-conference estimate are suitable for communication and awareness raising during the conference. Using sufficiently plausible numbers for quantifying the effect of participants’ behavior may encourage more people to behavioral changes.