An official website of the United States government.

We've made some changes to EPA.gov. If the information you are looking for is not here, you may be able to find it on the EPA Web Archive or the January 19, 2017 Web Snapshot.

EPA Center for Corporate Climate Leadership

Center for Corporate Climate Leadership Greenhouse Gas Inventory Guidance

On this page

The Center for Corporate Climate Leadership’s Greenhouse Gas guidance is based on The Greenhouse Gas Protocol: A Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard (GHG Protocol) developed by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). Organizations are encouraged to consult the GHG Protocol Exit for foundational guidance on GHG accounting principles, defining inventory boundaries, identifying GHG emission sources, defining and adjusting an inventory base year, and tracking emissions over time.

The Center has developed specific GHG guidance meant to extend upon the GHG Protocol, to align more closely with EPA-specific GHG calculation methodologies and emission factors, and to support the Center’s GHG management tools and its Climate Leadership Awards initiative.

Cross-Sector Guidance

Cross-sector emissions sources are scope 1 direct sources and scope 2 indirect sources that are common to organizations across commercial and industrial sectors. The following guidance documents describe methods that organizations may use to calculate and report emissions from these sources.

What’s New? Stationary Combustion, Mobile Combustion, and Purchased Electricity Guidance Updated March, 2016

1. Included IPCC Fourth Assessment Report Global Warming Potentials.
2. Updated emission factors to be consistent with the GHG Emission Factors Hub.
3. Provided guidance on data estimation methods.
4. Updated discussion of biomass combustion to reflect recent EPA studies.
5. Included additional emissions calculation equations that can be used depending on the fuel characteristic information available (Stationary and Mobile Combustion only).
6. Updated to reflect GHG Protocol Scope 2 Guidance (Purchased Electricity only).
7. Provided guidance on combined heat and power systems (Purchased Electricity only).
8. Improved ease-of-use through clarified content and structure.

Fugitive Emissions Guidance: Updated November 14, 2014:

1. Expanded scope of guidance to include fire suppressants and purchased industrial gases.
2. Included IPCC Fourth Assessment Report Global Warming Potentials. Addresses additional emissions sources.
3. Improved ease-of-use through clarified content and structure.

Top of Page

Emission Factors Hub

In addition to these guidance documents, the GHG Emission Factors Hub provides organizations with a regularly updated and easy-to-use set of default emission factors for organizational GHG reporting.

Sector-Specific Guidance

Many industrial sectors also have process-related emissions sources that are specific to their sector. EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program provides guidance and tools that can aid in the calculation and reporting of these emissions.

Low-Emitter Guidance

EPA's Carbon Footprinting Process for Low Emitters offers a simplified framework for calculating a GHG inventory for low emitters, such as office-based organizations, suppliers, and public institutions including government agencies and universities.

Top of Page

Additional Reporting Tools

The Center has developed additional tools designed to provide credibility and promote continuous improvement in emissions accounting procedures. Organizations may utilize these tools to track emissions.

An Inventory Management Plan (IMP) describes an organization's process for completing a high-quality, corporate-wide inventory. Organizations use an IMP to institutionalize a process for collecting, calculating, and maintaining GHG data. EPA provides an IMP Checklist(1 pg, 35 K)  that includes the elements of a high-quality IMP. Organizations may choose to have a single IMP document that addresses all of the elements that go into developing their corporate inventory, or they might have an equivalent collection of procedures and other relevant information. The seven major sections of an IMP are:

  1. Organization Information: organization name, address, and inventory contact information
  2. Boundary Conditions: organizational and operational boundary descriptions
  3. Emissions Quantification: quantification methodologies and emission factors
  4. Data Management: data sources, collection process, and quality assurance
  5. Base Year: base year adjustments for structural and methodology changes
  6. Management Tools: roles and responsibilities, training, and file maintenance
  7. Auditing & Verification: auditing, management review, and corrective action

The Summary Form for Inventory Reporting and Goal Tracking(2 pp, 222 K)  provides a format to summarize GHG emissions and track emissions over time against a GHG reduction goal. This form describes emissions in terms of total CO2-equivalent at an organization level, broken out by emission source type—scope 1 direct (e.g., stationary combustion, process, mobile sources), scope 2 indirect (e.g., electricity or steam purchases), and scope 3 indirect (e.g., employee commuting, business travel, or product transport)—for both domestic and international sources. The form also includes historical totals, a performance indicator (if applicable) that is used to track progress toward a reduction goal, data on reduction sources such as offset projects (e.g., sequestration) and green power or renewable energy certificate (REC) purchases.

Please note, this file contains macros that improve the usability of the form. In order to take full advantage of the enhanced features on this form you must enable the macros when opening the file in Excel.

Top of Page