BEE Technical Documentation
Last Updated: July 2022
This methodology document is maintained by Isabella Todaro, Director of Carbon Measurement, Climate Neutral, and other members of the Climate Neutral team. Current and past technical advisors include: Gregory Norris, NewEarthB; Maxime Agez, CIRAIG; Pascal Lesage, CIRAIG; Yurika Nishioka, MIT.
It is a living document.
The Brand Emissions Estimator (the BEE) simplifies the carbon measurement process for companies. It is built and maintained to support Climate Neutral’s impact goal of eliminating one gigatonne of emissions by 2030. By creating a single online platform, Climate Neutral has taken carbon accounting from wonky to workable, greatly reducing the time and expertise it requires to complete a carbon inventory.
All companies must measure their cradle-to-customer emissions in order to become Climate Neutral Certified. This includes all product level emissions, plus emissions tied to corporate overhead and operations. A highly credible, and easy to use, tool is fundamental to Climate Neutral’s ability to increase the scale of its impact.
A user begins work in the BEE by inputting high-level financial information, then specifying a list of products and services by geography. With these simple initial inputs, the BEE produces an estimate in just minutes.
In the backend, the user’s data goes through an economic input / output (IO) model, which runs on a dataset called Exiobase.
Users can then refine the initial estimate by replacing the tool’s estimates with real operational data (physical or monetary). This process is known as “refinement.” It uses data from multiple sources including: Ecoinvent, Exiobase, IPCC and EPA eGrid. The Ecoinvent dataset, which supports most calculations of purchased materials, has been hybridized to capture full lifecycle emissions.
The initial use of IO modeling begins every inventory process with a comprehensive estimate. The subsequent refinement steps help users add relevance and specificity to their initial estimates. If operational data aren’t available, estimated data can suffice.
The amount of work conducted during refinement varies based on a user’s goals and access to data. If they are pursuing Climate Neutral certification, the certification standards outline minimum requirements. In general, it is recommended that users refine as much data as possible so that finished inventories have maximum usefulness as a baseline. Estimated data provide a conservatively high approximation that offers good general insights, but is reflective of industry averages rather than firm specifics.
The BEE can support carbon inventories for emissions within “cradle to customer” boundaries. Users not seeking certification can choose as many categories to calculate as they wish. Users undergoing certification must meet the requirements of the Climate Neutral Standards.
“Cradle to customer” aligns with the following scopes and categories as defined by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHGP):