ISO Net Zero Guidelines

Published on:

June 27, 2023

A tool for policy makers and all who work towards net zero greenhouse gas emissions for their business, group or country.

Launched at COP27, the Net Zero Guidelines tackle a major roadblock for a world where greenhouse gas emissions are reduced to the minimum and balanced by removals: the fragmented net zero governance landscape. Competing approaches and concepts for “Net Zero” sow confusion. The Guidelines provide a common reference for collective efforts, offering a global basis for harmonizing, understanding, and planning for net zero for actors at the state, regional, city and organizational level.

To support global climate action, ISO offers the Net Zero Guidelines for free download and online browsing:

A common understanding of “net zero”

The Net Zero Guidelines set a common path for:

  • the definition of “net zero” and related terms (greenhouse gas removals, offsetting, value chain, etc), clarifying the differences in scope between direct emissions, indirect emissions from purchased energy, and other indirect emissions arising from an organization’s activities.
  • high-level principles for all actors who want to achieve climate neutrality,
  • actionable guidance on getting there as soon as possible, by 2050 at the very latest, and
  • transparent communication, credible claims, and consistent reporting on emissions, reductions and removals.

The Guidelines build on the momentum of existing voluntary initiatives and increase their impact. Globally accepted “net zero” claims are easier to compare, create an ambition loop, and can be scaled through better regulation.

Broad consensus built through an open process.

More than 1,200 experts from over 100 countries contributed to make the Net Zero Guidelines an effective common reference for net zero guidance.

ISO’s International Workshop Agreement (IWA) process provided the perfect platform to facilitate broad and direct participation.

What is an ISO International Workshop Agreement?

In order to respond to urgent market requirements, International Workshop Agreements (IWAs) are prepared through a workshop mechanism outside of ISO committee structures, following a procedure that ensures the broadest range of relevant interested parties worldwide have the opportunity to participate, and are approved by consensus amongst the individual participants in the workshops. If there is an existing ISO committee whose scope covers the topic, the published International Workshop Agreement is automatically allocated to this committee for maintenance.

An International Workshop Agreement is reviewed three years after its publication and can be further processed to become a Publicly Available Specification, a Technical Specification or an International Standard, according to the market requirement. An International Workshop Agreement can exist for a maximum of six years, following which it is either withdrawn or converted into another ISO document.

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