Miner, Reid (NCASI, P.O.Box 13318, Durham, NC, 27709; Phone: 919-941-6407; Fax: 919-941-6401; Email: rminer@ncasi.org)


The 100-Year Method for Corporate Accounting of Carbon Stored in Products-In-Use


R. Miner*


A large amount of carbon removed from the atmosphere by trees is stored in wood and paper products. In 2003, IPCC experts estimated that carbon stocks in products-in-use were growing globally at a rate of 40 Tg/year (million metric tons per year). The U.S. government has estimated that, in 2002, carbon stocks in products-in-use in the United States were increasing at a rate of 16 Tg C/year.  With global population and standards of living growing, the amounts of carbon stored in forest products will continue to increase. Clearly, if one wants to correctly characterize the carbon profile of the forest products industry, it is critical to estimate the amounts of carbon stored in products. Methods are available for characterizing carbon storage in products for national greenhouse gas inventories. The methods used for national accounting, however, are not suitable for corporate or value chain accounting.  This is partly due to the practical difficulties that companies face in assembling the historical production data and other information required by the methods.  In addition, national accounting methods generate results that are heavily influenced by historical data and past practices.  As a result, these methods provide little insight into opportunities for improvement. In this presentation, a method is described for corporate and value chain accounting of carbon in forest products that avoids many of the difficulties associated with national accounting methods.  The method, which is gaining acceptance by the global forest products industry (as represented by the International Council of Forest and Paper Associations), focuses on the long-term effects of current production on future stocks of carbon sequestered in forest products. It estimates the amount of carbon in products expected to remain in use for at least 100 years and, therefore, the method is called the 100-year method. This presentation will examine the need for the 100-year method and will include a demonstration of the method on a hypothetical but representative forest Products Company.  The demonstration will illustrate the use of the method and the importance of carbon in products to the overall carbon profile of a forest products company.