Asset managers Robeco and Mirova have partnered with environmental consultancy firms I Care and Quantis to develop a global database of greenhouse gas emission avoidance factors. The initiative, which has garnered support from 10 supporting partners with more than two trillion dollars of assets under management (AUM), aims to offer a “standardised and transparent” calculation of the emissions that “an extensive list of low-carbon or green enabling solutions” have managed to avoid producing.

Many companies today share data on their direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions, but more metrics are needed to identify the contributions of each company and to be able to compare solutions, claimed Robeco in a statement. Having a standard for measuring not just the emissions produced, but also the emissions that were avoided due to the green efforts of these companies would be “a major step for many economic players”, enabling investments to be “channeled towards the solutions with the greatest potential for decarbonisation”.

Setting standards

The plan is to initially cover 80 “specifically defined low-carbon solutions”, such as biomass energy, recycled plastic, and low-carbon concrete. Taking into account “the various links in the value chains of these solutions”, 9,600 “distinct avoidance factors” are expected to be created during the first phase, which will end in Q4 2024.

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According to Robeco, “the development of the database and the choice of methodologies will be overseen by a scientific committee comprising the main organisations behind the current standards for avoided emissions”. Its scope will be gradually extended to cover more low-carbon or green enabling solutions.

The first version of the database will be made available to all stakeholders, who will be required to calculate avoided emissions in Q4 this year.