Markets working to support sustainable development

ISO 14064-9 Standards

The International Standards Organisation has developed a series of standards that specify principles and requirements for organisations involved in greenhouse gas emission reporting. The ISO standards can be seen as guiding protocols providing general guidelines for the development of other programmes or standards.

The ISO standards relevant to GHG emissions are:

  • ISO14064: 2006 (parts 1-3) is the standard for measuring greenhouse gas emissions.
  • ISO 14065: 2007 is the standard for verifying bodies that undertake verification and validation of greenhouse gas emissions reporting.
  • ISO 14066 specificies competence requirements for validation teams. (currently under development)
  • ISO 14067 is a product standard providing a framework for measuring a product's carbon footprint. (currently under development)                                                                                    
  • ISO 14069 is a guidance document for the quantification and reporting of GHG emissions for organisations. (currently under development)

There are 3 components in the ISO 14064 standard, 

  1. Requirements for designing an auditable GHG inventory                                                                                                                                                  
  2. Specifying principles and requirements for determining baselines, and for quantifying, monitoring and reporting project performance relative to the baseline                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
  3. Verification of GHG inventories and the validation of monitoring projects. It is not prescriptive about elements that apply to a particular GHG project. These are decisions to be made by the user. As such there is the possibility to cover all aspects from offset project design through to carbon accounting and the verification of emissions.

The ISO standards ‘strongly recommends’ use of third-party auditors, but only requires it if the claims are to be made public.

Market coverage: 

According to an Ecosystem Marketplace report on ‘The State of Voluntary Carbon Markets’ (2010), 2.1% of carbon credits traded on the OTC (voluntary) carbon market were certified to ISO standards. The ISO 14064 series are the most widely adopted.

Initiatives and Programmes: The ISO GHG standards have been incorporated into a range of GHG initiatives, including the GHG Protocols for Corporate Accounting and Project Accounting, as well as the UNFCCC Clean Development Mechanism and Joint Implementation Programmes. ISO 14064-1 and 14064-3 are being used by the Climate Registry (an international inventory reporting programme in the US). The Voluntary Carbon Standard and Climate Action Reserve make strong reference to the ISO 14064 series. ISO 14064-2 and -3 are incorporated into offset systems of the governments of Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Colombia in Canada.

Transnational Accounting: The GN3 project is a european wide Information and Communication Technologies project. The effects of the ICT on GHG were calculated according to ISO 14064.

GHG Auditing:  ISO 14064-3 is the most widely used of the ISO GHG standards, with widespread international adoption and market dominance in Canada and the US. 



Background information: 

ISO is a NGO located in Geneva, Switzerland. It was established in 1947 and has since published over 18,000 standards and now has a network of national standards institutes from 163 countries across the world, with one member per country. 

It claims to form a bridge between the public and private sectors, therefore enabling a consensus to be reached that satisfy the requirements of business and broader society.

Funding source: 

ISO national members pay subscription fees. The sale of ISO standards also provides a source of revenue: currently the cost of ISO14064/5 standards is US$ 108 for each component (of which there are three).

Notable information: 

Although ISO 14064-3 was designed specifically to complement ISO 14064-1 and ISO 14064-2 for auditing organisational and project-level GHG assertions, ISO 14064-3 is applicable to other GHG standards, such as the GHG Protocols which are used internationally. As the nascent GHG markets evolve, ISO 14064-3 has proved a useful tool for companies to build more rigorous GHG management systems to provide a range of stakeholders with more confidence to proceed with GHG activities, such as technology investments and public statements about GHG performance.