GHG Protocol Agriculture Guidance


The agricultural sector contributes over 13% of global man-made greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions1. It is also a major driver of indirect emissions through the conversion of forests and other natural systems to farmland. As interest has grown amongst agricultural companies in reporting these emissions, so has awareness of the associated challenges. These challenges include:

  1. Accounting for changes in the management and ownership of the carbon stored in soils and biomass, particularly those changes resulting from land use change.
  2. The high level of variability in emissions rates over both space and time, affecting the ability to set and track progress toward GHG emissions reduction targets.
  3. The difficulty in separating natural from human causes of emissions, affecting the usefulness of inventories as management tools.
  4. The large uncertainties of many estimates of agricultural emissions.

To help address these challenges and harmonize GHG accounting practices worldwide, the GHG Protocol has developed an international supplement to its Corporate Standard – the Agriculture Guidance. This Guidance lays out principles and methods for including agricultural emissions in corporate inventories of scope one and two emissions. The Guidance covers all agricultural and horticultural subsectors, including livestock and crop production.

Intended Audience

  • Companies that own or control agricultural operations.
  • GHG reporting programs.
  • Governmental and non-governmental initiatives seeking to develop tools or metrics for assessing the GHG emissions from agriculture.

Development Process

The Guidance has been developed and will be posted online shortly. It is the culmination of a three-year stakeholder consultation process that involved over 150 Technical Working Group (TWG) members internationally. Milestones include:

  • January, 2011: Publication of WRI Working Paper.
  • March, 2011: Formation of TWG
  • January, 2012: First draft of Guidance
  • April, 2012: Stakeholder workshop in Washington, DC
  • August, 2012: Second draft of Guidance
  • September, 2012: TWG workshop in Sao Paulo
  • January, 2013: TWG workshop in Sao Paulo
  • March – August, 2013: Road testing and public open comment period
  • October, 2013: Third draft of Guidance

Special Initiatives in Brazil

Brazil stands out in terms of the importance of the GHG emissions from land use. About 35 percent and 20 percent of Brazil’s GHG emissions result from agriculture and land use, respectively. To facilitate adoption of the Guidance in Brazil, GHG Protocol customized the Guidance to the Brazilian context and also developed an accompanying GHG emissions calculation tool. For more information about our work in Brazil, please go here:


Document Date
Questionnaire Oct 12
Draft - Agriculture Guidance Oct 12
Working Paper Feb 11
Background Information  
Project Overview Jan 12
April 4, 2012 Stakeholder Workshop - Washington, D.C.  
Workshop Agenda April 2012
Presentation: Introduction to the GHG Protocol April 2012
Presentation: Overview of GHG Protocol's Work on Agricultural Emissions April 2012
Presentation: Boundaries and Base Years April 2012
Presentation: Accounting for Carbon Stocks April 2012
Presentation: Overview of the Scope 3 Standard April 2012
September 25, 2012 Stakeholder Workshop – Sao Paulo  
Workshop Summary September 2012
Workshop Agenda September 2012
Overview of the GHG Protocol September 2012
Overview of the Project September 2012
Carbon Stocks September 2012


If you would like to remain informed about the latest developments in this project, please join the mailing list using the form below. For specific questions or comments, please contact Stephen Russell at: Email: Tel: 1 202 729-7702
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