High Street sets standard for demonstration of carbon neutrality


14 October 2009

Today - World Standards Day [14 October] - BSI announces the development of PAS 2060, a new standard which will ensure a consistent and comparable approach to carbon neutrality claims. Developed in co-operation with the Department of Energy and Climate Change and household names, including Marks and Spencer, Eurostar and the Cooperative, PAS 2060 is expected to restore consumers’ confidence in the credibility of carbon neutrality claims and to encourage increased action on climate change.

Organizations wishing to enhance their environmental reputation often make claims of carbon neutrality, but with no common definition or recognized method of achieving carbon neutral status there have been inconsistencies in the term’s use, resulting in public confusion and media accusations of ‘green washing’. PAS 2060 Specification for the demonstration of carbon neutrality aims to restore integrity to the concept by establishing clear and consistent requirements for demonstrating carbon neutrality.

Once complete, the single, agreed, standard is expected to generate accurate and verifiable declarations of carbon neutrality that are not misleading, thereby enabling consumers and purchasers to make more informed choices. By including ‘reduction’ of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as an essential element in claiming carbon neutrality, PAS 2060 is also expected to encourage increased action on climate change and improvements in carbon reduction management.  

PAS 2060, which builds on existing environmental standards such as the ISO 14000 series and PAS 2050, will lay down the requirements which must be met by any entity seeking to achieve and demonstrate carbon neutrality through the quantification, reduction and offsetting of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from a uniquely identified subject. The specification, once complete, will be applicable to any type of entity (e.g. businesses ,regional and local government, communities, academic institutions, clubs and social groups, families and individuals) and any of its subjects, which can include activities, towns or cities, buildings or products. To claim compliance with the PAS, the organization or individual concerned would need to satisfy all the requirements of the specification.

Rowland Hill, Sustainability Manager at Marks & Spencer, said: "Marks & Spencer has a commitment to making its store, office and warehouse operations carbon neutral by 2012 as part of our ‘Plan A eco-plan’. We have found the term 'carbon neutral' highly effective in communicating and engaging our customers, employees and suppliers. To date, we have been working to develop robust measurements and to achieve the necessary improvements in efficiency expected by our stakeholders.  We welcome PAS 2060 as a robust and transparent means of demonstrating carbon neutrality".

Mike Low, Director, Standards, BSI, said: “PAS 2060, the latest addition to BSI’s growing portfolio of environmental standards, is a really important practical piece of work which should enhance the transparency of carbon neutrality claims by providing a common definition and recognized method of achieving carbon neutral status. The standard encourages a behaviour change to help drive society towards a low carbon economy. We are delighted to be working with some household names who can lead the way on implementing this standard once it is complete. We also encourage smaller organizations and individuals to view the draft standard and give us their feedback.”

PAS 2060 is now published. Buy a copy of the PAS 2060 standard at the BSI Shop

The announcement coincides with World Standards Day, an annual celebration of standards around the world, which this year takes the theme Tackling climate change through standards.

• The Steering Group responsible for the development of PAS 2060 includes:
Association of British Certification Bodies
BREEAM (BRE Environmental Assessment Method)
Carbon Clear (ICROA)
The Carbon Neutral Company
The Carbon Trust
Department of Energy and Climate Change
Future Conversations (Concrete Centre)
Good Energy Group
Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment
Marks and Spencer
Oxford Brookes University

A Publicly Available Specification (PAS) is a sponsored fast-track standard driven by the needs of the client organization/s and developed according to guidelines set out by BSI. Key stakeholders are brought together to collaboratively produce a BSI-endorsed PAS that has all the functionality of a British Standard for the purposes of creating management systems, product benchmarks and codes of practice. After two years the PAS is reviewed and a decision is made as to whether it should be taken forward to become a formal British Standard.

About World Standards Day
World Standards Day takes place on 14 October every year and is an international celebration of the national and international standards which facilitate trade, spread knowledge and disseminate technical advances.  2009 is the 40th World Standards Day.