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Last edited 21 Sep 2021
Publicly Available Specifications (PAS) are fast-track standards, specifications, codes of practice or guidelines developed by sponsoring organisations to meet an immediate market need following guidelines set out by BSI (British Standards Institution). Normally, within two years they are reviewed to assess whether they should be revised, withdrawn, or become formal British Standards or international standards.
PAS 2060 Specification for the demonstration of carbon neutrality ensures a consistent and comparable approach to carbon neutrality claims. It was announced in October 2009 after collaboration between government, professional, commercial and educational institutions. Participants in the steering group included the Department of Energy and Climate Change, BREEAM (BRE Environmental Assessment Method), the Association of British Certification Bodies, The Carbon Trust, the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment and other commercial and academic entities.
BSI officially introduced PAS 2060 in April 2010; the current version is PAS 2060:2014.
The primary purpose of PAS 2060 is to restore consumers’ confidence in the credibility of carbon neutrality claims and to encourage increased action on climate change. It builds on existing environmental standards such as the ISO 14000 series and PAS 2050. By including reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as an essential element in carbon neutrality, PAS 2060 encourages increased action on climate change and improvements in carbon reduction management.
The specification is applicable to any type of entity (such as businesses, regional and local government, communities, academic institutions, clubs and social groups, families and individuals) and any of its subjects, which can include activities, towns or cities, buildings or products. To claim compliance with the PAS, the organisation or individual concerned must satisfy all the requirements of the specification. Compliance allows entities to promote their environmental credentials based on an established and accepted benchmark.
 Step 1: Measurement
The first step of the process is to measure the carbon footprint of the product or organisation using an approved methodology. Organisations should either use ISO 14064-1 or GHG Corporate Protocol. For products and services, measurement should be based on a PAS 2050 life cycle assessment.
The footprint measurements should include 100% of Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions plus all Scope 3 emissions that contribute more than 1% of the total footprint. These three emission scopes are defined as:
- Direct emissions (Scope 1) - emissions from greenhouse gas sources owned or controlled by the organisation.
- Energy indirect emissions (Scope 2) - emissions from the generation of imported electricity, heat or steam consumed by the organisation .
- Other indirect emissions (Scope 3) - emissions which are consequences of an organisation’s activities but arise from sources that are owned or controlled by other organisations. This includes the consumption of the product or service and the disposal of the product at the end of use.
Although the standard requires substantial footprint measurement, there is some degree of flexibility on the basis that it may not be practical (either logistically or economically) to capture accurate emission measurements from all sources. These sources in question can be omitted from the footprint if their removal is justified and reported.
Organisations pursuing PAS 2060 are required to create a carbon management plan. This plan includes the organisation’s public commitment to carbon neutrality along with specific aspects of the reduction strategy, including:
- Time scale.
- Targets for reductions.
- Plans for achieving reductions.
- Strategy for offsetting residual emissions.
 Step 3: Offsetting
- Come from the Clean Development Mechanism, Joint Implementation, Voluntary Carbon Standard or other PAS 2060 approved schemes.
- Would not have happened without PAS 2060 and are genuinely additional.
- Have been verified by an independent third party for permanence, integrity and accuracy.
- Will be retired to a credible registry after a maximum of one year.
 Step 4: Documentation and verification
 How to decide whether or not to pursue PAS 2060
There are three paths to PAS 2060 implementation:
- Route 1 allows the organisation to declare its commitment to carbon neutrality from the beginning of the process. The declaration of achievement is made at the end of the first year once a carbon management plan is in place and reductions are achieved. This process continues as long as the organisation is committed to maintaining carbon neutrality.
- Route 2 is suitable for organisations that may already have a carbon management plan or other measures in place. Declaration of achievement may be possible at the beginning of the process, with additional first year emissions offset by the end of the period.
- Route 3 allows organisations with no history of carbon emissions to declare their carbon neutrality in their first year of operations through 100% offsetting. Subsequent requirements to demonstrate carbon reductions apply in the second year and beyond.
In 2014, PAS 2060 was updated to reflect changes in the understanding of greenhouse gas emissions assessments, reductions and offsetting actions that took place over the first two years of its availability.
These changes include:
- Additional insight and guidance on events and event planning.
- Provisions for how advertising or other promotional claims are made. Claims and declarations are still required but may now be included in the QES.
- Simplified text for an equivalent “representative statement” for use in promotional material.
PAS 2060:2014 is available to download for a fee from the BSI website.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- British Standards Institution BSI.
- Carbon terminology.
- Greenhouse gases.
- ISO 14001:2004 Environmental management system -- Requirements with guidance for use.
- Life cycle assessment.
- PAS 2080 Carbon management in Infrastructure.
- Publicly Available Specification PAS.
- Qualifying Explanatory Statement QES.
- The Carbon Project: improving carbon emission data.
- Wood and carbon.
- BSI, Carbon neutrality.
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