Action Guide

Build a Greenhouse Gas Inventory

Environmental Defense Fund

Developing a greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory is essential for understanding and managing your company's emissions. Accurate and credible GHG inventories serve as the foundation of effective emissions management, reporting, and climate action.

Overview of the Greenhouse Gas Inventory Development Process

  1. Planning: The first step in developing a greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory is planning. You should develop a plan that includes identifying data sources, determining the inventory boundary, and selecting the appropriate calculation methodology. The inventory boundary defines the organizational and operational boundaries (Scope 1, Scope 2, Scope 3) of the inventory, which is critical to determining what emissions sources to include.  
  2. Data Collection and Calculation of Emissions: Once the inventory boundary is defined, you can begin gathering emissions data on your company’s operations, as well as upstream and downstream emissions. After data is collected, you can use available calculation methods to determine the company’s GHG emissions. Several factors, such as the concentration of GHGs, determine the total impact of a company’s emissions on the environment. These factors are calculated using established parameters such as Global Warming Potential. The listed resources provide detailed guidance on how to use these methods to calculate emissions. 
  3. Verification: Once emissions are calculated, your company should verify the inventory to ensure its accuracy and credibility. Verification involves hiring a third party to complete an independent review of the inventory. The verification process provides assurance that the inventory is accurate and complies with relevant standards. 
  4. Reporting: After verification, you can report the inventory to stakeholders, including customers, investors, and regulatory agencies. You can also use the GHG inventory to track progress over time and set goals for reducing emissions. Reviewing your GHG inventory can help your company identify opportunities for emissions reductions and improvements in sustainability.