The Coalition on Materials Emissions Transparency (COMET)

To further and fully understand how to plan for the decarbonization of mining value chains, we need better data on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. However, neither consumers, corporates, or financial institutions know the embodied emissions in the products they produce or sell. While methods like life-cycle assessments and environmental product declarations exist, none uses a verifiable, comparable, or widely adopted emissions reporting framework capable of sending supply chain signals. To truly reform material supply chains, new solutions for markets, capital, and policy are required.

The Coalition on Materials Emissions Transparency (COMET) has the objective of creating a harmonized GHG calculation framework applicable to all mineral and industrial supply chains. The alliance was launched at Davos in January 2020 by CCSI, RMIMIT’s Sustainable Supply Chains initiative, and the Colorado School of Mines, and joined in 2021 by the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UN Climate Change).

Addressing the Need for Accurate and Comparable Greenhouse Gas Data: The COMET Framework outlines the greatest current shortcomings of GHG accounting. It emphasizes how the lack of harmonized principles and reporting requirements between sectors and standards complicates the gathering of climate data and the formulation of strategies for emissions management. The COMET Framework would translate between different accounting methodologies so that GHG reporting can provide transparent, comparable, and actionable data. The earlier blog How Much CO2 is Embedded in a Product? Toward an Emissions Calculation Framework for the Minerals Industry discusses the various factors that make embedded emissions difficult to calculate across different minerals and processes.

Steel and aluminum production represent two of the largest industrial sources of GHG emissions, and producers of these materials have excessive leeway when it comes to the accounting of their emissions. To better understand the shortcomings of GHG accounting methodologies in the steel and aluminum industries and to propose frameworks to improve these methodologies, CCSI has published reports on the GHG accounting methods in the aluminum and steel industries, as well as studies on harmonizing product-level GHG accounting between both industries and on the necessary steps to create a green market for low-emissions-branded steel and aluminum products.

Plastics represent one of the biggest environmental challenges to society, and their ubiquity has led to an unprecedented pollution crisis. Making Plastic Emissions Transparent provides a pathway to companies to employ tailored information to gain more resolution on variations in the carbon impact of different plastic products, sheds light on how companies can use these data in the procurement process, and propagates a new mechanism that can serve to grow the market for sustainably produced plastics.

The policy brief The COMET Framework: Greenhouse Gas Data Transparency to Enable the Success of EU Climate Policy outlines policy instruments in the European Union and explains how the long-term effectiveness of the policies is dependent on the availability of comparable emissions data throughout the global economy.

Comparison Between the IPCC Reporting Framework and Country Practice examines national GHG inventories of a sample of countries prepared by Australia, China, Germany, Japan, and the United States, and highlights how these inventories—though following the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories—reflect countries’ different choices of GHG accounting methodologies and approaches, emission factors, and categories and gases reported; which in turn result in significant differences in reported GHG emissions.

Progress is underway in the financial sector to embed emissions accounting standards, but there is still a long way to go to make them universal and harmonized. Carbon Accounting by Public and Private Financial Institutions: Can We Be Sure Climate Finance Is Leading to Emissions Reductions? addresses key developments by both multilateral development banks (MDBs) and private financial institutions toward adopting and harmonizing methodologies for calculating financed emissions.

COMET submitted comments to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on the desirability of mandatory climate disclosures and later a response to the rules proposed by the SEC) on mandatory climate-related disclosures.

CCSI and the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law also provided joint comments on funding allocated to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the Inflation Reduction Act.