A protocol for measuring and reporting the benefits of greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction projects has been released by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).

The GHG Protocol for Project Accounting (Project Protocol) was released at a press conference during United Nations climate talks, just weeks after the Kyoto protocol’s clean development mechanism issued its first carbon credits for climate change mitigation projects in Honduras and India.

‘The Project Protocol fills an important need for project developers,’ said Bruno Vanderborght, Vice President of Corporate Industrial Ecology, Holcim Ltd. “It explains what to do – and importantly, how to do it – so that claims about GHG reductions from our projects will be transparent and credible. This is essential for us as we look for ways to meet our emission targets and participate in the growing global market for greenhouse gas offsets.’

The Project Protocol complements the GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard (Corporate Standard), which has become the most widely used global standard for corporate accounting of GHG emissions and is used worldwide.

‘The widespread adoption of the Corporate Standard contributes significantly to the standardisation and harmonisation of GHG accounting and reporting frameworks around the world,’ said Bjorn Stigson, president of WBCSD. ‘We hope that the Project Protocol will similarly serve as a model or basis for other emissions reporting and reduction programmes.’

The Project Protocol’s procedures are compatible with existing clean development mechanism methodologies. However, the Project Protocol brings together in one place the key concepts, principles, and methods to account for GHG emission reductions from any type of GHG project. It provides detailed instructions for developing a GHG emission ‘baseline’ using the two major approaches developed by climate policy experts: multi-project performance standards and project-specific baseline scenarios. It also explains how to account for the unintended changes in GHG emissions a project might cause, and how to report GHG emission reductions for maximum transparency.

According to a recent analysis by PointCarbon, the market for project-based GHG emission reductions is expected to grow from US$450M this year to more than US$23B by 2010.

The Project Protocol is the culmination of a four-year dialogue hosted by WRI and WBCSD between businesses, non-government organisations, governments, academics and others from both developed and developing countries.