Introduction


A new perspective for businesses to scale climate innovations

In a world striving for a Net Zero future, businesses are in need for credible ways to measure their contributions to global decarbonization efforts. An important part of the answer to this challenge lies in the concept of Avoided Emissions and intervention-based carbon accounting. WBCSD published its first cross-sectoral “Guidance on Avoided Emissions” – a collaborative effort led by WBCSD, alongside our forward-thinking member companies and partners in policy, finance, and research.

Welcome to WBCSD’s dedicated page on Avoided Emissions. Avoided Emission are a critical concept to scale low-carbon solutions and show companies’ ability to solve climate challenges. This page provides insights into our Avoided Emissions guidance, industry use cases, our collaboration with finance and policy actors, and the future of low-carbon innovation.


Why avoided emissions matter


Avoided emissions represent emission reductions that occur dominantly outside of a company’s own GHG inventory but are realized for other businesses and consumers through the company’s products and services.

So, avoided emissions can be a powerful concept to accelerate decarbonization as it allows to compare solutions according to their decarbonization potential and to identify markets where the potential can be maximised. Such emissions savings provide a comprehensive picture to assess climate solution and support the development and scaling of products and services necessary to achieve Net Zero.

For decades, the focus in corporate climate action was risk-led and lay on the reduction of inventory emissions following ESG frameworks like GHG Protocol, CDP, and GRI. While these frameworks remain critical for companies to reduce emissions in their operations and supply chains, the necessary shift towards large-scale emission reduction fails to materialize. Building on these existing frameworks, companies need to understand and measure their ability to solve climate challenges and contribute to wider systems transformation through their products and services

The global transition to Net Zero is entering a new phase, where (cross-)sectoral accountability and collaboration come to the fore. To meet the shared goal of achieving Net Zero globally by 2050, companies need to transform into climate solution providers. This is only possible if they understand the impact that their products and services have on others.

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Guidance on Avoided Emissions

The WBCSD Guidance on Avoided Emissions can be a first critical step towards reconciling avoided emissions and intervention-based carbon accounting with globally recognized inventory-based carbon accounting standards. It is the result of a rigorous multi-stakeholder consultation process, involving multinational companies, NGOs, academia, and existing literature. This document seeks to bring methodological harmonization and provide concrete guidance on how companies can assess and utilize the decarbonizing impact of their solutions.


Looking ahead


How we’re building the primary platform to scale low-carbon solutions

Explore the future of climate action with the Avoided Emissions workstreams at WBCSD. We want to deploy an evidence-driven and multi-stakeholder approach to evolve and leverage impact accounting for climate solutions & solution providers, and bring an opportunity-led perspective into corporate climate action based on strong guardrails and transparency levels. We operate along three workstreams

Implementation: Identifying and implementing avoided emissions solutions is a focal point of our work. Therefore, we are committed to sharing use cases and insights through a dedicated repository to create best practices and improve methodological approaches. Additionally, we are working on developing sector-specific applications of the WBCSD Avoided Emissions guidance to harmonize methodological approaches and provide managerial guidance.

Finance & Policy: Collaboration is at the heart of our approach to mobilize systems transformation. We are actively engaging with finance and policy actors to co-develop methodologies and instruments that fund and incentivize low-carbon solutions. Our goal is to strengthen the relationship between industry, policy and private/public transition finance agendas and provide solution-directionality for decarbonization pathways.

Methodology & Standard: In our ongoing pursuit of transparency and practicability, we are dedicated to developing and enhancing the leading cross-sectoral framework on avoided emissions accounting. This involves constant efforts to increase robustness, usability, and adoption while engaging with established standard bodies such as GHG Protocol and ISO. We are playing a pivotal role in the formalization and standardization of intervention-based GHG accounting.


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Alexander Nick

Senior Director, Climate Action

Louise Patzdorf de Oliveira

Senior Manager, Strategic Communications for Imperatives

Marvin Henry

Senior Manager, Avoided Emissions

Zara Parian

Associate, Strategic Communications Partner