What is the GHG Verification Process?

Verification clients see significant value in getting their GHG emissions inventory verified. Without an accurate GHG emissions inventory, it is very difficult to establish accurate emission reduction targets and track progress toward those goals. Beyond confirming the accuracy and completeness of the reported data, the verification process identifies strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for improvement in the reporting entity’s GHG emissions management system.

The primary objectives of the verification are to:

  • Verify whether a reporter’s GHG Emissions Inventory meets the generally accepted GHG emissions accounting principles of accuracy, completeness, transparency, relevance, and consistency.
  • Determine if all emissions were reported in conformance with the relevant protocol.
  • Determine whether or not the reporter’s GHG Emissions Inventory meets/exceeds the set materiality threshold for accuracy.

Verification Process Summary

Conflict of Interest

Cameron-Cole conducts a detailed internal and external screening process to determine if there are any potential or actual conflicts of interest (COIs) based on personal relationships with Cameron-Cole staff and the reporter; organizational relationships with the Cameron-Cole organization and the reporter; and previous work conducted by Cameron-Cole. This COI process ensures Cameron-Cole will maintain independence during the course of the verification.

Verification Plan and Kick-off Meeting

Once a contract has been finalized, Cameron-Cole will request preliminary documents and information for review. Information initially requested may include a copy of the reporter’s emissions report, emissions calculation spreadsheets, a list of facilities and sources, a description of calculation methodologies, and the inventory management plan. Cameron-Cole will review this information and prepare a Verification Plan for that will include the following:

  • Level of assurance;
  • Verification objectives;
  • Verification criteria;
  • Verification scope;
  • Materiality; and
  • Verification activities and schedule.

Cameron-Cole will then schedule a kickoff call with the client to introduce the verification team, discuss the Verification Plan, and schedule verification activities.

Conduct Verification Activities

Verification is a risk-based sampling exercise. To provide assurance to the accuracy of the reporter’s inventory, Cameron-Cole will conduct a detailed desktop review of the client’s source list to verify that all facilities, emissions sources, and fuels for the entity have been identified. Cameron-Cole will then determine which areas (i.e., facilities, sources, and resultant emissions estimates) have the highest risk of material error or misstatement. We will focus our efforts in these areas. The following are types of potential errors, omissions, and misrepresentations that will be included in our assessment:

  • The inherent risk of a material discrepancy occurring;
  • The risk that the controls of the organization will prevent, not prevent, or detect a material discrepancy; and
  • The risk that the verifier will not detect any material discrepancy that has not been corrected by the controls of the organization.

Evidence-gathering Plan

Since it is generally inefficient to assess all GHG emissions information collected by an organization, a risk-based approach will be employed in developing a Verification Evidence-gathering Plan and Data Request. The Data Request will include documentation and other supporting information for areas of the GHG Emissions Inventory that have the highest risk of material error or misstatement, as determined in previous sections.

The Data Request will address additional supporting documentation that may include the following:

  • A description of inventory management systems, including methods used to gather, transcribe (if applicable), quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC), and aggregate activity data;
  • Fuel and utility bills; and
  • Copies of leases or rental agreements.

Evaluate Methodologies and Management Systems

Cameron-Cole will review the methodologies and management systems used by the client to determine whether they are in conformance with the protocol(s). We will review the data collection, transcription, conversions (if applicable), assumptions (if applicable), QA/QC, and recordkeeping processes to ensure they are robust.

Verification of Emission Estimates

Desktop Review

First, Cameron-Cole will conduct activities to verify the accuracy and completeness of activity data (e.g., verifying fuel and electricity usage). Then, using the results of previous tasks, Cameron-Cole will select calculations to verify.

Site Visits

If applicable, Cameron-Cole will conduct site visits. During the site visit, Cameron-Cole will meet with relevant staff, conduct interviews, examine source activity data available at the site, and conduct a site walk to confirm that all sources have been identified.

Recalculation and Findings

Cameron-Cole will recalculate emissions estimates for selected sources using underlying activity data. Material and immaterial errors and misstatements will be identified, and the client’s overall emissions estimates will be compared to our overall emissions estimates to determine if the materiality threshold has been achieved.

After completing the initial data review and site visit, Cameron-Cole will provide the client with a Findings Log. The Findings Log may include new information requests and corrective action requests. Each corrective action request will include a description of the issue and potential impact on the data and/or conformance with the protocol(s). If corrective actions are required, Cameron-Cole will review any revisions to the assertion.

Verification Report, Verification Opinion, and Exit Meeting

After all material issues have been addressed, Cameron-Cole will prepare a Verification Report and Verification Opinion. The Verification Report will document the verification process and inventory recalculations and summarize the verification findings.

All documents will be subjected to a QA/QC check by Cameron-Cole’s Independent Reviewer. The general conclusion from the Verification Report will be used to create the Verification Opinion, which will then be reviewed and signed by Cameron-Cole’s Independent Reviewer and the Team Leader/Lead Verifier.

Originals of these documents will be provided to the client, and an exit meeting will be held to discuss the Verification Report and Opinion. If material misstatements are found, it is understood that the client may revise its information and resubmit it for review by Cameron-Cole until the minimum quality standard is met.

If you are interested in pursuing verification for your facility or company, please contact the verification team!

Operating with significant environmental liabilities and risks presents a constant potential for complications to arise. Don't let these dilemmas hinder your organization. Cameron-Cole's environmental experts are trained to craft solutions that reduce your risks while keeping your projects on track.