Carbon & Energy Accounting - Greenhouse Gas and Energy Assessment Tool for Dutch non-ETS Companies
Velzen, W.B. van
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The Dutch government is determined to comply with the “Roadmap for moving to a competitive low-carbon economy in 2050” set by the European Union. If The Netherlands want to reach their greenhouse gas (GHG) emission target, all sectors within the economy have to do their utter best to reduce their carbon footprint. There is a strong focus on heavy industries to comply with the Emission Trading Scheme (ETS). These ETS companies are obliged to report their GHG emissions. For non-ETS companies it is only voluntary to measure their carbon footprint and to take action to reduce it. There is a growing trend for companies to do something about their carbon footprint either in the form of reducing or compensating. Within this field many small green consultancy offices jumped in with free online carbon assessment tools. They offer their knowledge to determine a strategy to reduce the carbon footprint and offer carbon offsetting. A close look at these carbon assessment tools reveals several scientific flaws and their methods are not very transparent. As carbon accounting can be seen as a form of (economical) bookkeeping it is important to establish certain ground rules for any carbon accounting tool. The World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development developed this carbon accounting standard in the form of the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) protocol. As the GHG Protocol does not provide a carbon assessment tool and does not provide a carbon emission factor database, this is constructed as supplement of this research in the form of a website (www.energiescanner.com). Not only the carbon footprint can be analyzed with Energiescanner but also the energy footprint (MJ) and variable costs (euro) related to energy use. The standard carbon and energy factor database is developed specifically for The Netherlands since some factors are country dependent. For example, the electricity mix of a country determines the carbon emission factor of electricity. Some emission factors e.g. how to deal with biomass is still under debate within the scientific community. Also this part of the GHG Protocol is not yet released. Next to the standard database also the database used by SKAO (CO2-prestatieladder) can be chosen for determining the carbon footprint of an organization. This database is slightly different compared to the standard database. The main research question in this thesis is: To what extent can the developed GHG accounting tool provide consistent insight in the carbon footprint of non-ETS companies and help steering company efforts towards GHG emission reduction? The main goal of the website is to offer a scientifically sound platform, which enables non-ETS companies to scan, analyze and reduce their carbon and energy footprint by themselves (without the use of “consultancy experts”). The analysis part consists of a feature that allows the user to have insight through easy interpretable interactive charts and standard reports. By simple mouse clicks the user selects the part of the organization (parent or subsidiary), scope/subject and form (CO2, energy or euro). The main advantage is that users can easily see the main emitting subjects and the variable costs related. This allows the user to make economically feasible decisions towards carbon and energy reduction. This report contains information on how an easy to use greenhouse gas assessment tool needs to be constructed based on the GHG Protocol, the justification of the database behind the tool and how the analysis part is constructed. Also a benchmark with other (free of charge) assessment tools is executed as well as a case study of a fictive organization.