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Organization of the GHG Reporting Effort


Most large organizations will have a hierarchical approach to their GHG inventory and the number of people involved may range up to thousands since information from each of thousands of facilities may be required to complete the inventory. We describe below typical organizational structures for this effort.

Although the responsibility lies at the Departmental level, EO13514 requires each Department to designate a Senior Sustainability Officer (SSO) who has primary responsibility for GHG inventory reports. Each Department has already designated an SSO, so the steps listed below for Departments are included simply for completeness.

Department Actions

  1. Identify SSO
  2. Convey SSO assignment to CEQ
  3. Notify CEQ of changes in SSO status

An early effort on the part of the SSO will be to designate a lead individual (GHG Lead) who is responsible for developing the Departmental GHG inventory. That person will develop the detailed process for the Department and identify all POCs for the next level of organization within the Department. Each of those POCs in turn must identify their reporting contacts at the next lower level and the process continues until those who actually collect, analyze, and report the information (GHG Data Collectors) are known throughout the Department.

See below for an overview of the roles of these three actors (SSO, GHG Lead, and GHG Data Collector).


Roles of the Actors

SSO – The SSO has overall organizational responsibility for completing the agency GHG inventory called for in EO13514, section 9. The SSO may choose to delegate responsibility for various actions required to complete the GHG inventory. For details on the actions to be taken by the SSO click here.

GHG Lead – We use the term GHG Lead to identify the person within any level of the organization who has delegated responsibility to organize, execute and oversee production of the GHG inventory. There may be a GHG Lead at the level of the Department who works directly under the SSO. Within each bureau (or other high-level organization within the Department) there may be a GHG Lead who is responsible for the GHG inventory of that bureau. Below the bureau level there may be other GHG leads who report to the bureau GHG lead, and so forth. For details on the actions to be taken by the GHG Lead click here.

GHG Data Collector – Supporting the effort of the Department to complete the GHG inventory there may be many individuals with direct access to, and knowledge of, the various and disparate sources of data that must be accessed to calculate emissions. These individuals may have no direct background in GHG inventories and may maintain databases originally designed for quite different applications. For details on the actions to be taken by the GHG Data Collector click here.

To see the relations between these actors in a typical organization refer to this figure. To see an example of the GHG reporting organization of (part of) one Department, refer to this figure.

Organizational Diagram

For most Departments, execution of the GHG inventory and reporting is beyond the direct efforts of the SSO and will involve scores, hundreds or even more staff. Responsibilities at each level must be clear and lines of communication must be known so that the process is completed efficiently. Figure 1 depicts a typical structure Departments could use to organize the effort. For an example of how one Department is implementing this structure, see Figure 2.

Figure 1. Typical organization of Department GHG reporting effort.

Example Organizational Diagram, Department of Commerce

Figure 2 shows some parts of the GHG reporting organizational structure for one example, the Department of Commerce.

Figure 2. Specific organization of GHG reporting effort within the Department of Commerce (partial example).

The Department of Commerce is comprised of 12 bureaus including the Bureau of Economic Affairs (BEA), the National Technical Information Service (NTIS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Patent and Trademark, and International Trade Administration (ITA), among others. Each bureau will have a GHG lead and some of the larger bureaus will have sub-bureau level GHG leads. Figure 2 shows two of the sub-bureau level organizations within NOAA. Both the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) and the National Weather Service (NWS) have designated GHG Leads.