What third party verification standards are appropriate when reporting to CDP?

To ensure that the third party verification activities undertaken by companies are broadly comparable, CDP requires verification to be completed in accordance with recognized verification standards. These standards must have a common set of attributes which are set out in the criteria below. Any third party verification standard referenced in a company’s submission to CDP will be assessed against these criteria to determine acceptability. Note that “Agreed upon procedures”, “pre-assurance” or internal verification is not accepted as verification under the CDP scoring methodology.

Given the diversity of geographies and industries amongst CDP responders, and the evolution of standards, it is not possible to provide an exhaustive list of all standards that meet these criteria. However, to support companies in their disclosure process, CDP has produced a list of standards that have already been considered against the criteria and deemed suitable for CDP reporting and a list of standards that have been evaluated and are not considered appropriate. A third list includes those that are currently under review – CDP will endeavour to confirm whether these standards meet the criteria as soon as possible. All three lists will be kept updated over the coming months and throughout the reporting period in 2013.

If you are using a standard that is not included on any of the lists, please email verification@cdp.net with the name of the standard and if possible, a web link/contact information to allow us to access and review it.

The criteria for third party verification standards are:

  • Relevance: The standard should specify that it relates to a 3rd party audit or verification process; for a program related standard, 3rd party verification should be specified as part of the program compliance.
  • Competency: The standard should include a statement regarding competency of verifiers; where it is a program and verification parties are stipulated, competency is assumed to be determined by the 2nd party and therefore need not be explicit in the standard.
  • Independence: The standard should contain a requirement that ensures that impartiality is maintained in cases where the same external organization compiles and verifies a responding company’s inventory.
  • Terminology: The standard should specify the meaning of any terms used for the level of the finding (e.g. limited assurance; reasonable assurance).
  • Methodology: The standard should describe a methodology for the verification that includes the verification of the process and/or system controls and the data.
  • Availability: The standard should be available for scrutiny.

Verification standards
(accepted by CDP; see footnotes)

Advanced technologies promotion Subsidy Scheme with Emission reduction Target (ASSET)
Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) des Airports Council International Europe
Alberta Specified Gas Emitters Regulation
Attestation Standards established by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants/AICPA (AT1011)
Australia National Greenhouse and Energy Regulations2 (NGER Act)
California Mandatory GHG Reporting Regulations (also known as Californian Air Resources Board regulations)
Note: Verification under this regulation can be annual, biennial or triennial. If a company is in the process of having the current reporting year's emissions verified, they should report "third party verification or assurance underway - last year's statement attached" and attach the most recent statement from within the three years prior to the current reporting year. This guidance was updated in January 2013.
Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) Handbook: Assurance Section 5025
Note: Only High levels of assurance are accepted, as Moderate is a 'review', rather than a full verification process.
Carbon Trust Standard
Note: Companies should attach the certification letter AND certificate. Verification of GHG emissions as part of CTS certification can be annual or biennial. If a company is in the process of having the current reporting year's emissions verified, they should report "third party verification or assurance underway - last year's statement attached" and attach documentation from the most recent year with verification but no earlier than two years prior to the current reporting year. This guidance was updated in January 2013.
CEMARS (Certified Emissions Measurement and Reduction Scheme)
Chicago Climate Exchange verification standard
The Climate Registry's General Verification Protocol (also known as California Climate Action Registry (CCAR))
Compagnie Nationale des Commissaires aux Comptes (CNCC)
National Company of Auditors (Pratique professionnelle relative au rapport du Commissaire aux Comptes sur certaines données ou informations environnementales et sociales ou sur les procédures d’établissement de ces données ou informations, contenues dans le rapport rendant compte en matière de « développement durable.)
Corporate GHG Verification Guidelines from ERT
Note: Only Tier III and Tier II where it is clear that the verification has been performed by an independent third party.
DNV Verisustain Protocol/ Verification Protocol for Sustainability Reporting
Note: This standard is only acceptable where the verification statement clearly confirms the independence of the verifier from the reporting organization and/or the data collection process.
ERM GHG Performance Data Assurance Methodology
ISAE 30001
ISAE 3410, Assurance Engagements on Greenhouse Gas Statements1
Note: This standard is valid for assurance reports covering periods ending on or after 30th September 2013.
JVETS (Japanese Voluntary Emissions Trading Scheme) Guideline for verification
Korean GHG and energy target management system
RevR 6 Bestyrkande av hållbarhetsredovisning (RevR 6 Assurance of Sustainability)
RevR6 Procedure for assurance of sustainability report from Far, the Swedish auditors professional body
Saitama Prefecture Target-Setting Emissions Trading Program
Standard 3410N Assurance engagements relating to sustainability reports of the Royal Netherlands Institute of Registered Accountants
SGS Sustainability Report Assurance
Note: This service is only acceptable where the verification statement clearly confirms that the assurance is provided in accordance with ISO 14064-3 or AA1000AS.
Spanish Institute of Registered Auditors (ICJCE)
Note: This guidance covers two processes, for CDP purposes we would only accept the process A. Emissions inventory of companies and organizations that report to the Israeli Voluntary GHG Registry; and not process B.
Tokyo Emissions Trading Scheme
Verification under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) Directive and EU ETS related national implementation laws


Standards under review

There are no standards currently under review.


Non verification standards
(includes climate reporting/environmental management standards, verification services)

Australian Government's National Carbon Offset Standard
Note: This is not a verification standard. All verification undertaken for this program is done in accordance with another verification standard (such as ASAE3000 or ISO14064-3).
The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)
Note: This follows a different GHG accounting method (Project Accounting) compared to the one requested by CDP (Corporate Inventory Accounting) which means that the verification process under CDM does not verify the figures submitted to CDP.
EN 45011
Note: This is a standard for companies who are providing product certification.
EPA Climate Leaders Review
Note: This applies to the “review” only. EPA does not regard the “review” as independent third party verification. However, some companies separately contract verifiers or assurers to verify/assure their EPA Climate Leaders inventory. Statements from this process are not “reviews” and should be completed using a standard that meets CDP’s criteria to be accepted.
EPA Part 75
Note: This is a second party check i.e. by the recipient of the data. The CDP guidance document specifies a third party check.
The GHG Protocol Corporate Reporting & Accounting Standard
Note: This is a corporate GHG inventory reporting standard.
Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)
Note: This is not a verification standard, but a reporting platform.
ISO 14001
Note: This is a standard for the verification of environmental management systems i.e. of processes not resulting data and does not guide a full verification process.
ISO 14040-49
Note: This is a life cycle assessment standard series which does not cover verification by third party procedures.
ISO 14064-1
Note: This is a corporate GHG inventory reporting standard.
ISO 14065
Note: This is a standard for companies who are providing GHG verification, not a standard on how to conduct verification of GHG emissions.
ISO/EC 17021
Note: This is a standard for companies who are providing verification of management systems, and is not a standard on how to conduct verification of GHG emissions.
ISO 19011
Note: This is a protocol for auditing management systems, i.e. of processes not resulting data and does not guide a full verification process.
Note: This is not a verification standard itself, but statements may be produced that mention a verification standard that is on the CDP list.
PAS 2050
Note: PAS 2050 is a life-cycle GHG reporting standard for products and services.
Note: This is a GHG reporting standard. If they have verified data against this, ISO 14064-3 will be stated in the statement.
VfU (Verein fur Umweltmanagement) Indicators
Note: VfU is a corporate GHG inventory reporting standard. Note that the latest VfU methodology states it is compliant with CDP, which is true for calculating emissions figures but not for verification.
VfU (Verein fur Umweltmanagement) Indicators Standard
Note: These are environmental performance indicators for the financial industry and are not a verification standard.

1.The assurance provider needs to be subject to Parts A and B of the Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants issued by the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (the IESBA Code), or professional requirements, or requirements in laws or regulations, that are at least as demanding and/or clearly demonstrates equivalent independence in the assurance statement.

2. Only assurance engagements that state that they are in accordance with the regulations and NGER (audit) determination 2009. Verification engagements do not give an opinion and therefore will not meet our criteria for the statement. Submitting data under NGER does not automatically confer to achieving an appropriate level of verification unless the condition stipulated previously is met.

Want to know more?

Webinar recordings

1) Verification of Climate Data: benefits and importance of verification.

> Watch the webinar
> Download the accompanying notes

2) Understand CDP’s verification requirements and how to meet them: Find out about CDP’s 2012 verification requirements, why the right standard is a fundamental tool for your company and what guidance is available from CDP.

> Watch the webinar
> Download the accompanying notes

CDP white paper

Want to find out more about verification? Read the CDP paper, Verification of climate data. This paper provides an insight into verification and assurance, why third party verification is important and how it can benefit companies, along with practical guidance on the topic.

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