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New ISO Standard Builds Confidence in Global Carbon Market

ISO 14066 is the third part to a comprehensive GHG series

Published: Tuesday, July 26, 2011 - 11:32

(ISO: Geneva) -- A new international standard detailing the level of competency required by those responsible for verifying greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions has been published. It is the latest addition to the toolbox of standards from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) for addressing climate change and supporting emissions trading schemes.

With a growing global awareness of the need for environmental protection and sustainability, organizations are eager to demonstrate their efforts to inventory, report, and reduce GHG emissions. In order to assure the credibility of their claims, many of these organizations are turning to third-party bodies to validate and verify emission assertions.

ISO 14066:2011—“Greenhouse gases—Competence requirements for greenhouse gas validation teams and verification teams,” spells out the competence requirements of the personnel undertaking the various validation or verification activities within the team appointed for the task. It is intended to achieve consistency in the global carbon market and maintain public confidence in GHG reporting and other communications.

ISO 14066 is the latest document to address climate change and GHG emissions. These standards were launched in March 2006 with ISO 14064, a three-part standard for assessing GHG emission reduction projects in either voluntary or regulatory schemes. And published in April 2007 was ISO 14065, which gives accreditation requirements for organizations that validate or verify resulting GHG emission assertions or claims.

“The accuracy of an organization’s GHG emissions claims is essential, considering the political and financial ramifications of each claim,” says Tod Delaney, convenor of the ISO working group responsible for ISO 14066. “If an organization publishes claims that are later discovered to be unreliable, it risks damages both financially and in terms of their reputation. This is why the competence of those assessing such claims is absolutely crucial.”

The new ISO 14066 standard sets out detailed lists of the skills and knowledge that must be possessed by the auditing team personnel—with the focus on team rather than individual competency. Comprising eight clauses, six annexes, and a bibliography, ISO 14066 covers topics such as independence, integrity, and team competence.

It can be used in conjunction with ISO 14065 for the benefit of greenhouse gas program administrators, regulators, validation bodies, and verification bodies. It is not linked to any particular greenhouse gas program.

“Claims made about reductions of the greenhouse gas emissions can have political and financial implications, in addition to environmental and technical ones,” says Chan Kook Weng, chair of the subcommittee, ISO SC 7, that developed the standard. “ISO 14066 is a companion standard to ISO 14065 in assuring integrity and consistency in emission reporting and reduction projects across industry sectors and geographical borders. It is also a standard for ‘who watches the watchman’ so as to build up trust and confidence in assessing GHG assertions.”

ISO 14066:2011 was developed by ISO technical committee ISO/TC 207, Environmental management, subcommittee SC 7, Greenhouse gas management and related activities. It is available from ISO national member institutes (see the complete list with contact details) and from ISO Central Secretariat through the ISO Store.

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The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is the world’s largest developer and publisher of international standards. ISO is a network of the national standards institutes of 162 countries, one member per country, with a Central Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland, that coordinates the system. ISO is a nongovernmental organization that forms a bridge between the public and private sectors. ISO enables a consensus to be reached on solutions that meet both the requirements of business and the broader needs of society. View the ISO Standards list.