GHG Project Protocol Workflow
The GHG Project Workflow is structured around the recommendations of the GHG Protocol for Projects. The Project concept and data model holds data for any (generic) sustainability Project (irrespective of physical attributes, financial attributes or contractual nature). A GHG project is any well-defined set of actions that intentionally leads to a modification of the GHG emissions profile of a physical asset or collection of assets.
We use here the terms action and project only in connection with direct modifications of Scope 1 GHG emissions. Strictly speaking the standalone analysis and evaluation of such individual projects might not be in the scope of sustainable portfolio management activities that focus on portfolio level strategies, policies and tools. It might be a task for the individual asset manager, owner or other stakeholders to pursue the detailed analysis of a focused project. Nevertheless, the portfolio management function will be responsible to assess the impact of such proposed project activity on a portfolio basis. Hence, a consistent framework that aligns individual project analysis with portfolio level analysis is indispensable.
- Projects will typically be part of a Portfolio
- A Project will have at least one Project Activity but may bundle several related activities.
In the example we follow closely the worked-out example of the GHG Protocol document (the hypothetical Cement X project).
A GHG Project Activity is a specific action or intervention targeted at changing GHG Emissions, removals, or storage. It may include modifications to existing production facilities, manufacturing processes, consumption patterns, service provision, delivery or management systems, as well as the introduction of new systems that enable the adoption of different technologies. The Project Activity model holds data for specific sustainability activities associated with a Project. The related data act as a container for both target activities and potentially alternative “baseline candidates”
The GHG Project effect captures the changes in GHG Emissions, removals, or storage caused by a GHG Project Activity. Activities are supposed to have measurable impact. The impact (e.g. reduction of GHG emissions) is termed the Project Effect. The GHG Protocol recognizes two types of GHG effects: Primary GHG Effects and Secondary GHG Effects.
A Primary GHG Effect is the intended change caused by a project activity in GHG emissions, removals, or storage associated with a GHG source or sink. Each project activity will generally have only one primary effect.
The Secondary Effect model holds (optional) data for effects of Project Activities that are classified as Secondary.
A Secondary GHG Effect is an unintended change caused by a GHG Project Activity in GHG Emissions, removals, or storage associated with a GHG source or sink. This differentiation between intended and unintended consequences is an example of the non-linear complexity associated with the sustainability transition and the inter-connectedness (implying second and third order effects) that must be taken into account. A more general example of the need for such holistic policy approaches is the Do No Significant Harm principle introduced in the EU Taxonomy.
Emission Factor Selection
Assessing the impact of primary and secondary effects requires the compilation of the corresponding Activity Data and Emission Factors. Given the vast range of sources and source types, the many types of emissions and the various alternative measurement approaches for the same source it is useful to support this part of the workflow with a user-friendly interface. This is done by exposing the EFDB Database as a distinct application inside equinox.
This workflow is described in more detailed here
Assessing Total Portfolio Impact of Project Activities
Equinox acts as a container for project, activity and effects related information and can compile various reports, for example: