CarbonCloud Verification Methodology

This page details requirements for verifying climate footprints calculated with the CarbonCloud calculation tool. It is to be applied for third-party verification done by a verifier from CarbonCloud. The document provides a methodology for the verification, and requirements and guidance for the persons performing the verification. The document applies to verification at a reasonable level of assurance.

Terms and definitions

Calculation tool: CarbonCloud’s proprietary tool for climate footprint calculations made available on a software-as-a-service (SaaS) basis.

Client: the legal entity entering into an agreement with CarbonCloud to access and use the Calculation tool and obtain verification by CarbonCloud.

Climate footprint of a product: the sum of GHG emissions and GHG removals in a product system, expressed as CO2 equivalents and based on a life cycle assessment using the single impact category of climate change.

Criteria: A policy, procedure, or requirement used as a reference against which the climate footprint assessment is evaluated.

Level of assurance: the degree of confidence in the climate footprint.

Verifier: is a competent and impartial person with the responsibility of performing and reporting on a verification.

Competency of the verifier

The verifier must have applicable sector knowledge and skills and the ability to apply these to achieve the intended results.

Sector knowledge includes knowledge of the relevant GHG sources that are present in the food and beverage industry. Applicable skills include the ability to understand the meaning and interpretation of information stored by the client in the Calculation tool, the ability to think critically and analyze multiple inputs, and the ability to evaluate the information, data, and assumptions. The verifier must also make professional judgments, meaning that the verifier must be able to draw meaningful and accurate conclusions and have a critical and investigative attitude in their assessment of the evidence.

Impartiality of the verifier

The verifier cannot have any conflicts of interest. A conflict of interest exists if the verifier or their firm has a relationship with another person, entity, product, or service that could be viewed by the verifier, client, or other appropriate parties as impairing the verifier’s objectivity.

Verification criteria

The climate footprint is verified in reference to the CarbonCloud methodology for climate footprint assessment. The criteria for assurance are:

  • Completeness: All stages of the life cycle shall be included from cradle to gate. All applicable mechanisms related to agriculture, packaging, transportation and processing shall be included as specified in the CarbonCloud methodology for climate footprint assessment.
  • Greenhouse gas coverage: The climate footprint shall include emissions and uptake of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).
  • Time relevance: All life cycle inventory data shall follow the time boundary for data according to the CarbonCloud methodology for climate footprint assessment.
  • Correct allocation: Economic allocation for by-productions shall be used.
  • Foreground data collection and quality are aligned with the CarbonCloud methodology for climate footprint assessment. If primary data is not available, proxy data shall be used conservatively.
  • Background data that is current and reliable.
  • Embedded carbon in products is accounted for according to the CarbonCloud methodology for climate footprint assessment. This applies to both biogenic and fossil carbon.
  • Mathematical correctness of all calculations.
  • Documentation: Each piece of input data shall be complemented with a comment including a motivation.

Verification activities

The verification is carried out through a review of the client’s models in the CarbonCloud calculation tool against the CarbonCloud criteria. The verification includes a check for reasonability. Energy and material flows are examined to see if they fall in the typical ranges for that activity within the industry. Examples include energy requirements for a pasteurization process, or transport routes and modes for produce imports. Several of the criteria are verified automatically since they are integrated into the Calculation tool. The models are also critically examined manually by the verifier.

When any non-conformity or reason for questioning is identified, it is followed up with a request to the client for clarification or adjustment. The clarification and adjustment process is documented to ensure the establishment of the basis for the conclusion and conformity with the criteria.

Reaching a conclusion

After conducting the verification activities, the verifier shall reach a conclusion.  If the verifier concludes that a reasonable level of assurance can be provided, the corresponding model in the CarbonCloud calculation tool is approved by the verifier. This allows the customer to publish the climate footprint on CarbonCloud’s ClimateHub, and to access and publish their climate footprint reports.