The Greenhouse Gas Protocol now requires nitrogen trifluoride (NF3), a chemical released in some high-tech industries including electronics manufacturing, to be included in GHG inventories under the Corporate Standard, Value Chain (Scope 3) Standard, and Product Standard.
The amendment keeps the GHG Protocol’s reporting requirements aligned with those of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to ensure consistency between national, corporate and product life cycle inventories, the GHG Protocol says.
NF3 is now considered a potent contributor to climate change and is therefore mandated to be included in national inventories under the UNFCCC. NF3 has a 100-year global warming potential of 17,200, meaning that it is 17,200 times more powerful than CO2 in trapping atmospheric heat over a 100-year timespan, UNFCCC says.
NF3 is primarily produced in the manufacture of semiconductors and LCD (liquid crystal display) panels, and certain types of solar panels and chemical lasers. Companies that employ these processes in their direct operations or value chain may need to report NF3 emissions in future inventories to ensure conformance with GHG Protocol standards.
Until recently, it was not possible to directly measure the atmospheric concentration of NF3 and scientists had assumed that only a small percentage of the NF3 used in industry escaped into the atmosphere, the GHG Protocol says.
New measurement techniques have revealed much higher atmospheric concentrations of NF3 than expected, which can be partially attributed to the fact that industrial losses of the gas had been underestimated. Rates of NF3 industrial production increased 40-fold between 1992 and 2007.
Properly managing value chain, or Scope 3, emissions is a critical survival tool companies must use to gain competitive advantage in a resource-constrained future, says the Carbon Trust, which which helped the GHG Protocol develop the Scope 3 Calculation Guidance.