New Partnership for Carbon Transparency provides forum for stakeholders to address lack of Scope 3 emissions transparency

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16 June, 2021




Geneva, 16 June 2021: Today the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) launched the Partnership for Carbon Transparency, bringing together stakeholders from across value chains and industries and rallying and coordinating leading industry-focused initiatives such as RMI with the common mission of creating Scope 3 emissions transparency.

The Partnership strengthens and expands the work of the Value Chain Carbon Transparency Pathfinder – a project announced earlier this year to address the emissions challenge.

To reach net-zero emissions before 2050, we need all business to account for and share carbon emissions as a first step towards reducing them.

More and more companies are recognizing the need for decarbonization and the opportunities a transition to net-zero can provide. With the lion’s share of their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions sitting in the value chains, understanding and tracking these Scope 3 emissions end-to-end is an essential enabler on this journey.  

But measuring GHG emissions across product value chains is almost impossible. Companies attempting to tackle their Scope 3 emissions are held back by three overwhelming challenges: 

  • No consistent methodology to calculate and allocate GHG emissions at a product level
  • Lack of accurate and granular product-specific data on GHG emissions 
  • Complex value chains with only limited inter-organizational emissions data exchange.

A dedicated methodological and technological infrastructure combining GHG accounting with digital solutions is needed to help address these challenges and facilitate the sharing of consistent product-level carbon emissions data within a broad network.

Extensive collaboration is needed to achieve full emissions transparency.

With value chains and industries so intrinsically linked – one company’s Scope 3 emissions are another company’s Scope 1 and 2 emissions – no company can achieve transparency in isolation. Led by WBCSD, the Partnership will engage stakeholders from across a range of industries, innovative technology providers as well as leading sector-focused initiatives to combine extensive expertise and create synergies. This approach will enable more accurate GHG accounting, enable the exchange of data across value chains, industry boundaries and technology solutions and ultimately accelerate decarbonization efforts.

A Partnership with a common objective, set on complementary building blocks.

To complement the Pathfinder project and create extensive reach, the Partnership will be organized into three distinct areas, driving alignment around the common objective of emissions transparency.

The Activation Cluster will offer businesses an opportunity to collaborate within and beyond their respective industries, with a strong focus on piloting tangible methodological and technological approaches and creating the necessary pre-conditions for implementation.

This work will run hand-in-hand with targeted industry deep-dives aimed at resolving industry-specific methodological and technological challenges around Scope 3 emissions which are currently not being addressed.

In addition, the Partnership is setting up an Initiatives Hub which will play a crucial role in ensuring alignment, consistency, integration and interoperability among leading industry-focused initiatives. WBCSD is pleased to be joined by RMI – leader of the Coalition on Materials Emissions Transparency (COMET) focusing on Scope 3 transparency in the metals and minerals industry and engaged in developing a harmonized “digitally native” approach to GHG accounting – as one of the core founding initiatives in this Hub.  

With a few short months to go to COP26 and many businesses doubling down on climate commitments, the Partnership for Carbon Transparency will support companies to overcome the biggest hurdles to decarbonizing their value chains and lead climate action across systems and industries with a breakthrough approach to carbon transparency.

“Accurately understanding, reporting and acting on corporate Scope 3 emissions is one of our greatest challenges in moving rapidly to a Net Zero future. I am so proud of WBCSD and our members for driving forward this crucial work over the last year and now taking it to the next level.  This is world-leading, practical collaborative action at its best and we now have an opportunity to expand the impact of our work still further.”

– Claire O’Neill, Managing Director Climate & Energy, WBCSD

“We can’t manage what we can’t measure. Helping business understand the greenhouse gas emissions that are embedded in their products – from all points in the supply chain – will accelerate supply chain decarbonization. RMI is joining the Partnership for Carbon Transparency to help build a common language across all sectors and materials so that we can account for greenhouse gas emissions as easily as we account for finances.”

– Jules Kortenhorst, CEO, RMI

“The topic of supply chain carbon transparency is a critical enabler for targeted decarbonization action and can only be achieved with large-scale, cross-industry collaboration. Therefore, The Open Group Open Footprint™ Forum is excited to work on this topic together with the WBCSD Pathfinder whose vision we share and who we consider one of the key initiatives in this space, as part of this Partnership.”

– Steve Nunn, President and CEO, The Open Group

WBCSD member companies that have been engaged in the Value Chain Carbon Transparency Pathfinder project include: Aptar, BASF, Chevron, CircularTree, Dow, Ecovadis, Engie, IBM, iPoint Systems, Microsoft, Nestlé, SAP, Shell, Solvay and Unilever.

To find out more about the Partnership for Carbon Transparency, please contact Anna Stanley, Manager, Climate Action: