2022 update to The CarbonNeutral Protocol is released, following landmark year of voluntary climate action

Published 18th January 2022

The latest edition of The CarbonNeutral Protocol is released today, providing the most credible framework carbon neutral action by the private sector.

Action to reduce carbon emissions now, both within companies’ operations and supply chains as well as across the globe, is essential to achieving global climate goals. In the past year the number of companies committed to net zero targets has tripled. But most of those targets are set for well beyond 2030, a crucial milestone to limit average global temperature warming to below 1.5°. As private sector climate action grows rapidly – with growing numbers of companies using carbon neutrality to help to close the gap in finance for a global net zero transition and raise ambition beyond current country policies – The CarbonNeutral Protocol provides the leading framework to ensure those programmes are clear, transparent, and of the highest quality.

CarbonNeutral® certification was launched in 2002 and the CarbonNeutral Protocol that underpins it is updated annually to reflect the latest industry and scientific best practice in carbon accounting and the voluntary carbon market. Through this annual process of revisions, we keep it at the leading edge of market developments, providing companies with the global standard for high-integrity claims of carbon neutrality, offering companies a blueprint for climate action that is fit for the times.

Revisions to the 2022 Protocol include placing yet greater emphasis on internal abatement strategies and/or targets alongside CarbonNeutral certification. As public pressure for action on climate change grows, so does scrutiny of companies’ climate action. This revision ensures The Protocol stays one step ahead of expectations of carbon neutral programmes.

Another revision responds to the growth of carbon accounting services to more clearly specify the requirements of those organisations tasked with accurate and conservative calculations of greenhouse gas footprints.

A third key revision further standardises the emissions required for CarbonNeutral product certifications around cradle-to-grave emissions. This further cements the notion that the footprint must be calculated from the best available evidence of what, on aggregate, actual consumer behaviour is when using or disposing of the product, not on the basis of one low- or zero-emission option available to the consumer. A new CarbonNeutral product (not including use) certification gives an option to entities that can only currently take climate action on the emissions associated with the creation and manufacture of the product but not (yet) on the emissions of the use and disposal of the product.

Last year the voluntary carbon market hit record levels and that’s very important, because it provides critical finance to the global effort to reach net zero,” says Saskia Feast, Natural Capital Partners’ Managing Director, Global Client Solutions. “Our CarbonNeutral certification stands ready as ever to serve those companies looking to build rigorous carbon neutral programmes around that financing of reduction and removal projects.”

As we navigate the rapids of an evolving landscape of corporate climate action, The Protocol charts a steady and reassuring course amid the exciting developments set to play out over the coming years,” Jonathan Shopley, Natural Capital Partners’ Managing Director, External Affairs commented. Adding: “It was also great to see the Science Based Targets initiative highlighting those projects that reduce emissions around the world as an important element of companies’ progress towards net zero.”

View the updated Protocol:

PDF - download The CarbonNeutral Protocol in PDF form

Website - view The CarbonNeutral Protocol in its web version

You can read a more detailed summary of the new requirements and updates made in this year’s version on page 9 of the PDF or the webpage version of the list of changes


This revision ensures The Protocol stays one step ahead of expectations of carbon neutral programmes.

2002 CarbonNeutral® certification launched

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