McHugh & Shaw – Independent third-party carbon footprint verification 

The following information has been provided by McHugh & Shaw to assist organisations that are considering the different options for carbon footprint verification. 

Many organisations are now measuring the carbon footprint of their organisation. A carbon footprint refers to the greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in terms of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) generated. It is accepted good practice to have this footprint verified (audited).  Verification by an independent third party such as McHugh & Shaw provides confidence that any reporting provides an accurate depiction of the greenhouse gas emissions and removals of the organisation.

The verification conducted by McHugh & Shaw confirms that the organisation has measured its greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with the International Standard ISO 14064-1.  This Standard is currently the most widely used and recognised standard for organisations around the world and is the basis for the guidance from the Ministry for the Environment for voluntary reporting.

A verification is a type of audit but one that looks at historic data. The verification is conducted using the International Standard ISO 14064-3 as the framework. This Standard specifies the principles, requirements and guidance for those conducting GHG verification. The outcome of the verification is a verification and assurance report.

McHugh & Shaw provides a unique offering in New Zealand. A verification by McHugh & Shaw is an option for organisations that:

  • prefer a personalised approach from experienced verifiers
  • are undertaking voluntary reporting
  • are in the initial years of measurement and want to ensure they have a complete and accurate inventory
  • do not intend to make the marketing claim “certified” to ISO 14064-1
  • do not require a certification mark (logo) that can be used in marketing and communication materials

McHugh & Shaw does not offer certification to ISO 14064-1 and the verification completed is non-accredited. This means that McHugh & Shaw has not been accredited by JAS-ANZ to issue certificates and therefore your organisation cannot make a claim that it is “certified” to ISO 14064-1 and an ISO 14064-1 certification mark (logo) will not be issued. You can, however, make the claim that the inventory has been independently verified to ISO 14064-1. A verification statement will be provided after successful verification. The statement can be used when evidence of verification is requested by an interested party.

It is important that the decision to have a non-accredited verification considers several factors including the reason why you are seeking verification of your carbon footprint and what marketing claim you plan to make. New Zealand has specific requirements under the Fair Trading Act[1] when making environmental claims which need to be met.

If your organisation decides that it would like certification from a carbon programme that is not JAS-ANZ accredited but still has a quality system in place then the current providers in New Zealand include:

  • EKOS– provides certification including a logo that can be used for marketing purposes as well as certified carbon credits (offsets) that are generated from their own carbon forest project supply chain.

If your organisation decides that it is important for certification to be carried out by a JAS-ANZ accredited provider[2] then the current providers in New Zealand include:

  • Toitū Envirocare– provides JAS-ANZ accredited certification including a certification mark (logo) which can be used for marketing purposes.

It is also important to acknowledge that accounting firms such as Deloitte and Price Waterhouse Coopers provide verification services to ISO 14064-1 in New Zealand. The verification is completed in line with the International Standard on Assurance Engagements (New Zealand) 3410: Assurance Engagements on Greenhouse Gas Statements (‘ISAE (NZ) 3410’), issued by the New Zealand Auditing and Assurance Standards Board. This option can work well for publicly listed companies already engaged with one of the big firms for financial services.

Feel free to contact us to discuss your requirements.

Jeska McHugh
GM & Lead Verifier

Email: jeska@mchugh-shaw.co.nz

Last updated January 2021

 

[1] Information regarding your responsibility when making environmental or carbon claims under the Fair Trading Act is available at the New Zealand Commerce Commissions website. It is important to read this information before making an environmental claim. If you are making a claim outside of New Zealand then check the legal requirements for that Country. Organisational certification logos cannot be used on products.

[2] There are other accreditation bodies internationally e.g. IRCA, UKAS, ANSI etc. There could be an overseas-owned audit company holding accreditation with a provider other than JAS-ANZ.

Photo courtesy of Reed McHugh, Sunny Bight, Lake Kaniere, New Zealand.