It is clear that the trend toward measuring and managing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on a global scale is not slowing, even though different countries and geographic regions are approaching the issue with different points of view and different levels of vigor. Along with an increase in measuring and managing GHG emissions, enterprises around the world should expect to see a higher level of independent assurance and audit reporting needed. The purpose of this paper is to identify and discuss the challenges and opportunities that accompany GHG emissions accounting and auditing, as well as the supply chain and operational dependencies that are different from traditional financial auditing.
This paper explores the challenges and opportunities from measuring and auditing GHG emissions, and contrasts audits of sustainability information with more traditional financial auditing. It also explores some of the issues in supply chain and operational dependencies that are important in measuring and auditing GHG emissions and are different from more traditional accounting practices.
With the importance of processes to independently audit GHG emissions and natural resource consumption expected to grow in the future, it is important to understand how past experience with financial accounting and auditing can play a role in shaping the future for environmental stewardship. This paper shows that there are a number of key differences between financial and carbon auditing, which must be considered as enterprises begin to consider how to best support increasingly important sustainability reporting. As more publicly traded firms voluntarily issue sustainability reports and new legislation drives a greater need for standardized carbon accounting, so too will the need for auditing GHG emissions grow. This paper explains that GHG auditing will require cross‐functional skills with operational and process knowledge, accounting capabilities and an understanding of how operational data correlates with estimates for GHG emissions.
Much existing work addresses why, where, how, and who should be measuring and managing GHG emissions, but little attention is being given to the unique challenges that must be overcome in order to achieve reporting transparency. Independent auditing of GHG emissions has maintained a low profile while reporting is voluntary and standards are not fully agreed upon. However, with the possibility of legally binding legislation on the horizon, enterprises that are prepared to audit their GHG emissions and resolve issues early will be well positioned from both a compliance and market‐competition perspective.
Olson, E. (2010), "Challenges and opportunities from greenhouse gas emissions reporting and independent auditing", Managerial Auditing Journal, Vol. 25 No. 9, pp. 934-942. https://doi.org/10.1108/02686901011080071Download as .RIS
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