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12 training resources for measuring and managing greenhouse gas emissions

Greenhouse gas accounting is the foundation upon which all other organizational climate work rests.

Concept of a CO2 emissions meter.

Concept of a CO2 emissions meter. Source: Shutterstock/Roland Art

Editor’s note: This is part of a series on closing the sustainability skills gap with the resources we have available right now. Read the previous articles in this series, which cover training on climate literacy, scaling corporate climate literacy, sustainability strategy and climate and net-zero strategy.

Today’s installment in the series provides 12 training offerings that can help you to develop the skills to calculate and manage your company’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, often referred to as your carbon footprint. 

If you’re new to the world of GHG accounting, it’s important to know that calculating your carbon footprint is just the first step in your organization’s climate journey. A critical-but-often-overlooked next step is establishing a robust collection and management process for your emissions data, which is becoming increasingly important as reporting regulations around the world mature and stakeholders demand more verifiable data. The last two steps are developing and implementing an emissions reduction strategy (Sounds easy, right?).

The World Resources Institute’s Greenhouse Gas Protocol is considered the global standard for measuring and managing an organization’s GHG emissions. The shorter courses below cover the basics of the WRI GHG Protocol, including emissions calculations and boundaries, and the longer courses provide more guidance on topics such as Scope 3 and how to manage the reporting process over time. Once you’ve got a handle on the current state of your organization’s emissions, be sure to check out the previous article in this series that covers how to develop strategies for reducing those emissions

As is often the case with these types of lists, I’m sure I've missed some. If your favorite offering isn't listed here, I warmly invite you to join the conversation on LinkedIn to tell me and your fellow readers about it. Thanks in advance for your help with bringing these resources out into the open so that more people can get to work on advancing sustainable business practices. 

GHG accounting 

Fundamentals of Greenhouse Gas Accounting from Arizona State University 

This course is part of a collection of free micro-courses for small businesses and professionals from Sustainable Earth, a resource developed through a collaboration of students, staff and faculty at Arizona State University. 

  • Cost: Free
  • Time to complete: 1 to 2 hours
  • Training format: On-demand video, reading, optional worksheet
  • Key topics covered: What is GHG accounting; frameworks and inventories; emissions boundaries; boundary distinctions and avoiding double-counting
Taking action on greenhouse gas emissions: Scopes 1, 2 and 3 from the UN Global Compact Academy

This course is part of the U.N. Global Compact Academy, a thoughtful, actionable collection of learning experiences designed to advance the sustainable development goals. Access to the full course catalog is free to employees of the 7,700-plus member companies of the United Nations Global Compact — check to see if your organization is a member.

  • Cost: Free to employees of member companies
  • Time to complete: 2 hours
  • Training format: E-learning, quizzes
  • Key topics covered: Foundational concepts of GHG accounting; techniques for calculating Scopes 1, 2 and 3; how to measure, manage and reduce emissions
Basics of GHG Accounting, Reporting & Disclosing GHG Emissions from the Association of Climate Change Officers

This course can be taken individually or as part of the ACCO’s two-month live online cohort-based training that prepares students to take the exams required to earn the Certified Climate Change Professional (CC-P) credential.

  • Cost: $19.99 for the stand-alone course
  • Time to complete: 3 hours
  • Training format: On-demand video
  • Key topics covered: The value of a GHG inventory; common protocols; regulatory and voluntary frameworks; establishing boundaries; collecting, measuring, reporting and disclosing GHG emissions; leveraging inventories to drive improvements; verifying and improving accuracy
Carbon Accounting and Measuring Pathway from Sustainability Unlocked

This pathway is part of a collection of 1,000-plus video modules on the Sustainability Unlocked learning platform, which covers topics such as climate and biodiversity, corporate governance, ESG financial markets, net-zero innovation, sector transition, social responsibility, the sustainable workplace, and targets and disclosure.

  • Cost: Included with paid subscription to Sustainability Unlocked, $150/year, less for team and enterprise members
  • Time to complete: About 1 hour across five videos
  • Training format: On-demand video
  • Key topics covered: Introduction to carbon accounting; how to select carbon credits; Scope 3 emissions; introduction to Science-Based Targets; using carbon footprinting to inform strategy
Basics of Organizational GHG Accounting from the Greenhouse Gas Management Institute, in partnership with WRI and The Climate Registry

This course is part of a full suite of emissions management training offerings developed by the Greenhouse Gas Management Institute in partnership with WRI and The Climate Registry. 

  • Cost: $300
  • Time to complete: 16 to 20 hours
  • Training format: On-demand video, e-learning
  • Key topics covered: Business applications; organizational and operational boundaries; tracking, calculating, reporting and managing; inventory quality management; GHG inventory reports
Greenhouse Gas Protocol training from WRI’s Greenhouse Gas Protocol

The GHG Protocol launched a new e-learning platform in March. These courses are part of a larger curriculum designed to provide learners with a better understanding of the standards and guidance published by the GHG Protocol. 

  • Cost: 
    • Corporate standard and Scope 2: Free
    • Scope 3: $325
  • Time to complete: 
  • Training format:
    • Corporate standard and Scope 2: On-demand video
    • Scope 3: E-learning
  • Key topics covered: 
    • Corporate standard: Organizational and operational boundaries; tracking over time; calculating emissions; reporting
    • Scope 2: Accounting for corporate emissions from purchased energy
    • Scope 3: Benefits of Scope 3 inventories; how to identify and categorize Scope 3 emissions; how to collect data and calculate emissions; how to set Scope 3 targets & credibly report performance; practical implementation
Greenhouse Gas Accounting from the Corporate Finance Institute

This course can be taken individually or as part of CFI’s ESG Certificate Program and was developed with the needs of investment professionals, management consultants and financial analysts in mind.

  • Cost: Included with paid subscription to CFI Self-Study, $347.90/year
  • Time to complete: 2 hours
  • Training format: On-demand video, e-learning, quizzes
  • Key topics covered: GHG’s impact on business; Scopes 1, 2 and 3; carbon accounting methodologies and best practices
GHG Management & Climate Action Planning Masterclass from Earth Academy 

This master class is a highly interactive group experience for professionals who want to lead GHG inventory and climate action planning for their organizations.

  • Cost: $930
  • Next start date: Oct. 18
  • Time to complete: 2 days, about 4 hours per day
  • Training format: Live online classes
  • Key topics covered: Scopes 1, 2 and 3; converting to carbon equivalents; institutional steps to reduce GHG emissions; setting emissions targets; climate action plan implementation; nature based solutions; issues of permanence; impacts on biodiversity and communities; offsets; climate action planning 
The Carbon Economy: Calculating, Managing and Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from the Harvard University Extension School

This course is available individually or can be taken as part of several sustainability-focused graduate and certificate programs available through the Harvard University Extension School. 

  • Cost: $1,500 
  • Next start date: Jan. 22
  • Time to complete: 2 hours per week for 15 weeks
  • Training format: Live online classes with homework and a final project
  • Key topics covered: How to measure, report and reduce GHG emissions; understanding exposure to climate-related risks; best practices for adapting to new carbon regulation; deploying sustainable energy practices
GHG Accounting Certificate from Northern Arizona University 

This four-course certificate program from Northern Arizona University is available to working professionals on a non-credit basis or as part of a master’s or Ph.D. program from NAU’s School of Earth and Sustainability. 

  • Cost: $1,996
  • Time to complete: The four courses take about 4 to 8 months to complete in total
  • Training format: On-demand e-learning
  • Key topics covered: How to generate GHG emissions inventories; reporting and verifying Scopes 1 and 2; market-based approaches for Scope 2 emissions; accounting and estimation approaches when gaps in activity data exist; how to quantify Scope 3 emissions; how to quantify the life-cycle emissions of a product; designing emission reduction goals; evaluating the business case for GHG mitigation projects; assessing GHG projects to ensure they are achieving intended goals

GHG data management and verification

GHG Information Management Systems from the Greenhouse Gas Management Institute

This course provides learners with the tools for selecting and implementing a GHG Information Management System that can support a verifiable and auditable inventory, institutionalize processes, enhance data quality and streamline reporting and analytics. 

  • Cost: $300
  • Time to complete: 16 to 20 hours
  • Training format: On-demand video and e-learning
  • Key topics covered: Overview of GHG information management systems; data collection and calculation; inventory quality management; system evaluation, design and implementation; system deployment 
GHG Verification for Inventories and Projects from the Greenhouse Gas Management Institute 

This course provides an overview of existing GHG verification approaches and a step-by-step process to planning, executing and completing a GHG verification.

  • Cost: $400
  • Time to complete: 50 to 60 hours
  • Training format: On-demand video and e-learning
  • Key topics covered: Comparison of verification standards and approaches; verifier requirements; reviewing and assessing documentation, controls and data; uncertainty assessment; assessing risk

Join the conversation 

I hope this article has helped you find at least one great new resource to help you develop expertise in greenhouse gas accounting. Be sure to keep an eye out for future articles in this series and remember, if I’ve missed one of your favorites or if you want to share a resource that could be relevant to a future article, please join the conversation on LinkedIn. Until next time!

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