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Frequently Asked Questions

What are greenhouse gases? What is GHG management?
Greenhouse gases (GHGs) are gases that trap heat and keep the earth warm. (We have a more detailed definition of GHGs in our glossary.) Greenhouse gas management is the practice of measuring an organization’s greenhouse gas emissions and then implementing strategies to reduce them.
What is carbon neutrality? Can my company be carbon neutral?
A company is considered “carbon neutral” when they have measured their emissions, reduced them as much as possible, and then purchased offsets to balance their remaining emissions with reductions elsewhere. If you do that, then yes, you could be carbon neutral! Read more about carbon neutrality in our glossary.
What is unique about Climate Smart?
Climate Smart offers a unique combination of training, tools and technical assistance to enable small and mid-sized businesses to measure and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, to make informed decisions about carbon offsets, and to communicate compellingly about the action they’re taking on climate change. Participating in the Climate Smart Program builds enterprises’ internal capacity in greenhouse gas management. We present three training sessions designed specifically for small and mid-sized enterprises, provide a user-friendly, web-based GHG management software application, and offer up one-on-one technical support via phone and email to each participating company.
Who from my organization should attend the training sessions?

Each company or organization is invited to bring two people to each training session. It is very helpful if one of the people attending will be able to help locate emissions data (e.g., electricity, gas and fuel bills, travel records, etc.). It is also helpful if one of those attending is a leader within the organization and can be a champion of the work you’ll be doing. Of course, you will know best who should attend from your business.

How long does the process take?
The Climate Smart process typically follows a 2.5 month timeline. During this time, companies attend three half-day training sessions (at which they learn about measuring, reducing, and offsetting emissions as well as leveraging these reductions to yield PR benefits and brand lift), compile a greenhouse gas inventory, have their inventory reviewed by Climate Smart technical experts, and develop strategies for reducing emissions. Participating companies become members in Climate Smart’s network of alumni and have access to our GHG management tool for one year.
How much staff time does the process take?
In addition to the three half-day training sessions, time spent on the GHG inventory and developing reduction strategies varies widely. The average is approximately 25 person-hours.
How much does it cost to participate in Climate Smart?
The cost of participating in the Climate Smart Program varies depending on the size of your business and on what host partner subsidies may be available to you. See What You Get for more details.
Where can I attend the training sessions?
The location of the training sessions depends on the hosting arrangement. In the past, training sessions have been held in Vancouver, Tofino, Kelowna, Kamloops, Whistler, Prince George and Victoria in BC, and Portland in OR. Training sessions are confirmed in Vancouver, BC through 2015. We also work remotely over the phone and online with companies in other areas. Check our website frequently for additional dates and locations, or call us to inquire about upcoming in-person trainings or remote training.
How many other companies will I be training with?
Training sessions usually accommodate up to 15 companies, with up to two representatives from each (up to 30 individuals in total). That said, there are usually between 8 and 25 attendees at any given training session.
What is the range of company sizes that participates in Climate Smart?
Climate Smart is best suited to businesses with staffs of five to 500. The median annual carbon footprint of a Climate Smart Business is approximately 130 tonnes CO2e.
What will I learn at each session?
You can read about each training session on our How It Works page.
Who can I call if I have technical questions?
One-on-one technical assistance is provided via phone and email for each company through your designated Client Advisor at 604-CLIMATE (604-254-6283 or toll-free at 1-888-688-6283). Our Client Advisors are experienced in GHG inventorying and developing reduction strategies. Read full team bios…
What’s involved in Climate Smart’s expert data review?
Our technical team reviews each submitted greenhouse gas inventory for adherence to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHGP). The GHGP is the internationally accepted standard for greenhouse gas accounting that was co-developed by the World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. We review for the five principles of the GHGP: transparency, relevance, accuracy, completeness, and consistency. The inventory review is an iterative process in which a reviewer provides feedback, asks clarifying questions, and requests necessary inventory revisions. We review methodology and calculations, but we do not go back to primary sources such as fuel or electricity bills—this is why it is a review, but not a verification or audit.
What makes the Climate Smart team qualified to do the review?
Climate Smart’s technical support team members all have direct experience conducting GHG inventories. They have taken a selection of relevant courses through the GHG Management Institute (www.ghginstitute.org), including Basics of Organizational Accounting and Basics of Project Level Accounting.
We continue to monitor certification opportunities in the rapidly developing field of GHG accounting. We are currently evaluating qualifications such as the Canadian Standards Association’s GHG Inventory Quantifier and the GHG Management Institutes Certificates in Organizational GHG Accounting and GHG Accounting and Verification.
How do I continue measuring my emissions after my first year with Climate Smart?
Greenhouse gas management and accounting is best when done on an annual basis, just like any other accounting practice. Businesses can renew their membership with Climate Smart for future years to track your progress. Renewal includes the Climate Smart software application to compile an updated inventory, access to Client Advisors, an updated Climate Smart seal, and alumni learning events. Contact us if you’re interested in renewing your membership with Climate Smart.