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Partnership for Carbon Transparency Releases Updated Technical Specifications for Standardized Exchange of Emissions Data

Partnership for Carbon Transparency Releases Updated Technical Specifications for Standardized Exchange of Emissions Data

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New specifications enable companies worldwide to exchange Product Carbon Footprint information, setting a foundation for supply chain decarbonization at scale. 

The Partnership for Carbon Transparency (PACT), hosted by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), has released updated technical specifications to help organizations exchange Product Carbon Footprint (PCF) information. Technology solutions, ranging from procurement and supplier management systems to carbon management software, can now exchange product-related carbon emissions data using the same standardized technical language. Enabling such data sharing represents a significant step towards carbon transparency and supply chain decarbonization at scale. 

Organizations increasingly recognize that the majority of their emissions are caused upstream from business operations, emitted during the production and transportation of purchased products and services. For companies to meet their decarbonization targets, these Scope 3 emissions must be accurately measured, managed, and ultimately reduced. The latest specifications enable technical systems to “speak the same language”, accelerating the exchange of product-related carbon emissions data across value chains. 

With the aim of enhancing the comparability of shared data, the specifications come in line with updates to the latest version of the Pathfinder Framework, released in January 2023. The specifications include:

  • data model to exchange Product Carbon Footprint information between systems, which defines which data elements must be shared, in what format, and how these must be defined. 
  • The data quality of Product Carbon Footprint information, enabling organizations to understand the accuracy of the emissions information provided. 
  • Information related to the assurance and verification of the Product Carbon Footprint, providing the necessary confidence to trust the data. 

See related article: India, UK, US Team with WBCSD to Support Transition to Zero-Emission Vehicles in India

By design, PACT aims to drive emissions transparency across all industries and sectors. Although the specification is industry-agnostic, its data model can be extended to include data unique to a given industry or type of product. The Smart Freight Centre, for example, is currently developing such a data model extension for the logistics sector.  In this way, all industries can use a common language to exchange Product Carbon Footprint related information, in addition to specific information unique to that industry. 

An initial exchange of data using the first version of the specifications was realized last year. The updated version will be used for extensive testing and large-scale exchanges of real Product Carbon Footprint data throughout 2023, demonstrating the growing community of collaborators that are aligning around the common mission of carbon transparency. 

Technology companies ranging from startups to multi-nationals are already coming together to implement software conforming with the specifications. Organizations seeking to drive Scope 3 transparency are themselves building in-house solutions or working closely with software providers, building processes and technologies to engage their suppliers on the journey to decarbonization. Any organization interested in testing the specification and providing feedback is encouraged to get in touch with the PACT team. PACT is supported by the SINE Foundation as its technology partner and McKinsey Sustainability as its knowledge partner. 

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