How To Choose A Carbon Accounting Partner? - Carbon Responsible
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How to Choose A Carbon Accounting Partner?

Jack from Carbon Responsible's Team

Jack Thistlethwayte

Climate Risk Analyst

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Choosing a carbon accounting partner has become an increasingly important decision for businesses attempting to navigate the progressively stringent and complex environment of emissions measurement and disclosure. With increased consumer scrutiny, regulatory pressure and unintentional greenwashing on the rise, finding a trusted partner has become paramount. This article explores seven essential factors that should be considered when choosing a carbon accounting partner.

  1. Experience & Expertise
    When searching for a carbon accountant, it is paramount to find a partner with expertise and a demonstrated track record of providing accurate and reliable carbon accounting services over multiple reporting periods. Consider their industry experiences and their understanding of relevant regulations and reporting standards? Have they successfully helped clients navigate the evolving nature of reporting over the past 24 months?
  2. Compliance & Regulation
    Ensure that the chosen partner can meet your current and potential future audit requirements. They should have a strong understanding of emission factors, sector-specific guidelines, and be well informed about regulatory changes that may impact your organisation. It is essential for them to have a thorough understanding of international standards such as the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG) and ISO-14064-3, while also maintaining expertise in relevant national-level requirements. For instance, for a UK registered company, a partner should be well-versed in DEFRA conversion factors SECR reporting and the TCFD framework. Carbon accountants offering limited assurance services often demonstrate the highest level of regulatory compliance.
  3. Data Management & Accuracy
    Evaluate your chosen carbon accounting partner’s data collection and verification methods. A robust methodology ensures integrity, accuracy and allows for a transparent emissions data trail which can be reliably verified by external observers. Your partner should have a thorough data collection process that fosters data reliability and quality. Avoiding estimations and proxy data is useful in creating an accurate, traceable and actionable emissions report. Secondly companies should be weary of aesthetically pleasing SaaS dashboards which attempt real-time report generation. While these look nice, they often lack human verification (still an essential part of emissions calculations).
  4. Trust & Adaptability
    Changing carbon accounting partners can be a time-consuming and costly endeavour, therefore when choosing a carbon accountant, a key consideration should be picking a partner for the future who can help to build your organisations internal capability. It is important to partner with a carbon accounting company who can support you throughout your entire decarbonisation journey from initial measurement to reduction pathways and target setting. Your chosen partner should be able to scale their services to support expanding or decreased reporting boundaries over time and help you manage evolving regulatory frameworks.
  5. Reporting & Transparency
    When evaluating a carbon accounting partner, it is important to thoroughly assess their reporting capabilities and their ability to generate comprehensive and transparent reports. Look beyond dashboards displaying overall emissions totals, as a reliable partner should provide tailored emissions reports that align with your company’s specific regulatory obligations, encompassing specific intensity metrics. They should also possess a deep ability to uncover, manage and report on Scope 3 emissions, as Scopes 1 & 2 are generally on the easier end of the spectrum for organisations to measure. Moreover, quality reports should be accompanied by detailed data workbooks, ensuring an observable audit trail. A strong carbon accounting partner should also offer emissions consultations, fostering discussions on your company’s current positioning and strategies for future progress.
  6. Integration & Compatibility
    Evaluate the level of effort required to integrate your existing data capabilities and your potential carbon accountant’s software & services. Consider the level of support they offer during initial data collection and how that process integrates with your existing data management capabilities. Lastly, is the service they’re offering relevant to and supportive of expanding reporting boundaries over time? Have they briefed you on where reporting maturity goes after an initial scope of work?
  7. Data Security & Confidentiality
    Assess the partner’s data security measures and their commitment to protecting your organization’s sensitive information. They should have robust safeguards in place to prevent unauthorized access, data breaches, or misuse of data.

In closing, choosing a carbon accounting partner is not a decision to be taken lightly. By considering the factors discussed above, businesses can secure a partner who not only fulfills their immediate regulatory requirements but also enables their long-term emissions management success. The right carbon accounting partner will help your business confidently navigate the here and now and drive your business toward a position of meaningful change.

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