Over at JustMeans, Dave Stanis, of the Campbell Soup Company, speculated that based on current trends,  carbon accounting will be a growing, in demand, career specialty.  He recommends taking classes in carbon accounting.  I think he is on to something because Groom Energy has declared 2009 the Year of Enterprise Carbon Accounting, and a recent Greenhouse Gas Management Institute study revealed that the industry is suffering from a profound skills shortage.

For those of you who have never heard of carbon accounting, it is the accounting undertaken to measure the amount of carbon dioxide equivalents that will not be released into the atmosphere as a result of Flexible Mechanisms projects under the Kyoto Treaty.    Carbon emissions accounting has become an activity of international importance, as it is the means by which nations’ compliance with the Kyoto Protocol is documented.  The treaty has now catalyzed markets in carbon offsets, which also include buyers and sellers not bound by the Protocol.

An estimated 3,000 companies worldwide track and report GHG emissions. In much the same way that businesses use financial reporting to judge operational performance, many organizations use GHG emissions reporting to measure their sustainability performance –this new category is called:  Enterprise Carbon Accounting (ECA).  President Obama’s stated commitment to sustainability and his investment in it, are leading many firms to  prepare for increased pressure to improve and report on their sustainability efforts, so the demand for  Enterprise Carbon Accounting is increasing.

The 2009 Greenhouse Gas and Climate Change Workforce Needs Assessment Survey, which was prepared by GHG Management Institute and Sequence Staffing, revealed that most respondents believe there is a shortage of experts who have the skills that are necessary to address climate change, including measuring and mitigating greenhouse gases.  Additional key finding include:

1. More than 3/4 believe there is a  risk that carbon markets will suffer from problems similar to those symbolized by the Enron, WorldCom and Tyco accounting scandals.

2.   Greenhouse gas accounting is critical to any climate change response.

3.   The majority of respondents  foresee that more “green” jobs will be welcomed in the years to come.

4.   Universities and other educational organizations need to provide adequate training for greenhouse gas accounting and management skills.

According to a research study released recently by Groom Energy and Pure Strategies the number of companies disclosing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) will triple in the next two years, and the number of firms using commercial GHG software will quadruple in the same time period.

‘Enterprise Carbon Accounting: An Analysis of Organizational-Level Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Reporting and a Review of Emerging GHG Software Products,’ was created as a guide for organizations considering calculating or currently tracking and reporting GHG emissions.

Key findings

  • 1. Organizations expect increased carbon regulation, especially in the U.S. with a new presidential administration
  • 2. Carbon reporting at the organizational-level has become mainstream and participation in voluntary carbon registry programs is expected to triple in 2 years.
  • 3. Approximately 3,000 large and small organizations worldwide have calculated carbon emission;
  • 4. The number of organizations using ECA software is expected to quadruple in the next two years, driven by businesses that have not traditionally invested in environmental software.

5. In order to meet the needs of customers, consumers, shareholders, and other stakeholders. the number of companies who wish to measure, identify and disclose their GHG emissions is rapidly increasing.

To find out what’s involved in a carbon accounting course, you might want to check out Gavin’s blog post on his experience with his course.

Where you can get training:

1. Greenhouse Gas Management Institute offers online courses and certificate programs for greenhouse gas accounting and management training and education.

2. Greentech Media and Groom Energy have partnered to present, Enterprise Carbon Accounting Symposium on May 14, in San Francisco, CA.

3. Supply Chain Consulting and the University of East London are piloting a new one day course called,  Dummies Guide to the Carbon Economy and getting a Job or What do you need to know about carbon in your first job. on April 9.

If you are a carbon accountant and would like to share your experiences with us, drop us a line.

© 2009, Tracey de Morsella. All rights reserved. Do not republish.

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Author: Tracey de Morsella (323 Articles)

Tracey de Morsella started her career working as an editor for US Technology Magazine. She used that experience to launch Delaware Valley Network, a publication for professionals in the Greater Philadelphia area. Years later, she used the contacts and resources she acquired to work in executive search specializing in technical and diversity recruitment. She has conducted recruitment training seminars for Wachovia Bank, the Department of Interior and the US Postal Service. During this time, she also created a diversity portal called The Multicultural Advantage and published the Diversity Recruitment Advertising Toolkit, a directory of recruiting resources for human resources professionals. Her career and recruitment articles have appeared in numerous publications and web portals including Woman Engineer Magazine, Monster.com, About.com Job Search Channel, Workplace Diversity Magazine, Society for Human Resource Management web site, NSBE Engineering Magazine, HR.com, and Human Resource Consultants Association Newsletter. Her work with technology professionals drew her to pursuing training and work in web development, which led to a stint at Merrill Lynch as an Intranet Manager. In March, she decided to combine her technical and career management expertise with her passion for the environment, and with her husband, launched The Green Economy Post, a blog providing green career information and covering the impact of the environment, sustainable building, cleantech and renewable energy on the US economy. Her sustainability articles have appeared on Industrial Maintenance & Plant Operation, Chem.Info,FastCompany and CleanTechies.

  • http://www.greencareercentral.com Carol McClelland of Green Career Central

    I’ve also seen more and more indications that the field of Carbon Accounting is one of the upcoming waves for the green economy.

    I met the founder of the Greenhouse Gas Management Institute at the Good Jobs, Green Jobs Conference in Washington, DC in early February. I was very impressed by what this institute is doing. Finding their Institute was one of the high points of my trip.

    I also agree that education is the key to getting into this field. Get the training you need and you are likely to be on the cutting edge of a very important industry.

  • http://www.costingagreenfuture.com/blog Eric Novinson

    I’m definitely interested in taking carbon accounting courses for CPE. Definitely looks like a good field, after hearing that the SEC is making the effects of climate change a mandatory report topic for public companies.