New global inter-agency working group on GHG emissions reporting launched at Geneva meet

Co-ordination on calculating and reporting discussed.

Climate change reporting experts from around the world gathered in Geneva on March 16 for a major joint workshop. The event brought together key organizations active in this area, including the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), UNEP Finance Initiative (UNEPFI), the International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN), the International Integrated Reporting Committee (IIRC), the World Business Council on Sustainable Development and many more. The meeting featured the launch of a new Inter-Agency Working Group on Climate Change Reporting comprised of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the OECD, the Climate Disclosure Standards Board and the Global Reporting Initiative. These four organizations have been working together since 2011 with a view to better coordinating activities in this area, and promoting a consistent international approach to calculating and reporting GHG emissions. Experts at the meeting shared experiences and best practices, both with respect to national and international standards on climate change reporting. Among other issues, they discussed the role of national and international policy frameworks to help bring climate change reporting to scale (e.g. new national regulatory requirements in this area). In particular, discussions focused on clause 24 of the ‘zero draft’ negotiating text for the Rio+20 Earth Summit, which calls for a new international policy framework on sustainability reporting. Experts agreed on the need for an internationally consistent approach to calculating corporate GHG emissions, and on the importance of international collaboration in this regard.Suggested priority areas for further work included: coordinating more international consensus building, creating a database of national climate change related reporting regulations, and conducting capacity building programmes to assist low-income countries to implement best practices in climate change reporting. Another outcome was a proposal to the G20 on ‘green accounting’ capacity development to assist countries in pursuing ‘green growth’ strategies. The proposal positions the inter-agency working group on climate change reporting as the implementation vehicle for such activity. The launch of UNCTADISAR’s new Accounting Development Framework (which includes environmental accounting issues) at the World Investment Forum in Doha, Qatar this April was also noted as a key opportunity for galvanizing donor support for capacity building. And delegates identified the Rio+20 Earth Summit to be held in Brazil in June 2012 as an important opportunity for further consensus-building, with the possible outcome of a new global policy framework on sustainability reporting. The meeting involved more than 60 experts from 17 countries and included lively and constructive debates. United Nations officials working on climate change issues also participated in the discussions and disseminated material. The interactive discussions carried forward UNCTAD’s Investment and Enterprise Division’s earlier work on environmental reporting (ISAR) and low-carbon investment promotion (WIR 2010) and provided important insights for addressing current challenges in climate change reporting, and for promoting a new internationally harmonized approach.
Anthony Miller is an Economic Affairs Officer with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
The presentations of this meeting can be found online here