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Horizon Zero

Horizon Zero enables companies to better understand and reduce their supply chain greenhouse gas emissions

Horizon Zero’s current work focuses on product-level greenhouse gas accounting and a technical architecture to digitally track emissions.

Product-Level GHG Accounting: By utilizing a harmonized GHG accounting framework — one that can be compared across supply chains and products — companies will be able to calculate the emissions impact of the products they purchase or sell. This is essential in creating climate differentiated markets where actors can make informed decisions about their purchases and investments.

Technology Enablement: To promote the exchange of product-level GHG information, we are developing open-source technologies to improve product-level data exchange. By digitizing supply chain emissions reporting in this way, emissions information can follow products from raw materials sourcing to final products, allowing for total product-level emissions visibility across sectors and stages of a product’s life cycle.

The product-level GHG data and the technical architecture to disseminate it will enable us to develop green product procurement practices. From there, we’ll have the necessary elements to build climate-differentiated markets where companies are equipped to decarbonize their supply chains through informed purchases and investments.

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Why Now?

We have entered the decisive decade that will determine our ability to decarbonize the economy and ensure the planet can maintain a livable climate. To hit ambitious decarbonization targets, we need to quickly develop systems to make greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions visible and traceable across supply chains—starting with the highest-emitting industrial sectors. Getting GHG disclosures right will accelerate the transition to zero-carbon production, and early adopters will reap the benefits from an increasingly climate-conscious customer base. Companies urgently need better disclosures to satisfy customers and investors without getting bogged down by spreadsheets and painstaking calculations. Consumers are demanding to know the carbon footprint of the products they buy so they can support brands taking bold steps to protect the planet. And policymakers need trustworthy metrics to underpin carbon pricing measures.

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The Right Technology Gets Us to Net Zero Faster

Making greenhouse gas emissions data comparable, interoperable, and machine-readable is necessary to reduce emissions. Learn more about the technology ecosystem necessary for swift, successful, and measurable emissions mitigation.

Read the Complete Brief: Toward a Technology Ecosystem for Carbon Accounting
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Simplifying and Improving Carbon Accounting

In the wake of a growing number of net-zero commitments, it is important to focus on impact. Making progress toward ambitious goals requires a system for clearly measuring emissions reductions. Anyone who has run the gauntlet of current carbon accounting frameworks knows it is notoriously difficult to quantify primary GHG emissions and demonstrate meaningful change. Here's how we can change that.

Read the complete carbon accounting briefing

Greenhouse Gas Accounting by Sector

Horizon Zero is developing sector-specific guidance to decarbonize global supply chains.
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Steel production accounts for roughly 7% of global energy emissions and is on track to consume 25 percent of the total remaining 1.5°C carbon budget by 2050.

Horizon Zero's Steel Accounting Guidance outlines clear decarbonization pathways for this critical sector.

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Decarbonizing the aluminum sector relies heavily on low-carbon primary production technology, electricity decarbonization, and end-of-life scrap collection and sorting.

Horizon Zero will enable reliable tracking of aluminum life-cycle data, from raw material to final product, to accelerate decarbonization.

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Sustainable Aviation Fuel

Aviation accounts for ~2% of global CO2 emissions annually.

Horizon Zero is developing aviation fuel accounting guidance in collaboration with the World Economic Forum's Clean Skies for Tomorrow Sustainable Aviation Fuel Certificate (SAFc) framework to decarbonize the way we travel.

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Natural Gas

In partnership with MiQ, Horizon Zero is working to drive market differentiation of lower-emissions natural gas by tracking emissions throughout the value chain. With a global warming potential over 80x more powerful than CO2 over a 20-year timeframe, methane must be addressed now.

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The transformation of crude oil and natural gas into intermediate chemical products is a highly emissions-intensive segment of the oil and gas value chain.

By targeting Plastics production, Horizon Zero aims to reduce total oil and gas supply chain emissions.

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Renewable Energy

Not all energy attribute certificates (renewable energy certificates and Guarantees of Origin) are created equally.

The Renewable Energy Emissions Score quantifies their material emissions impact relative to operational emissions.

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Horizon Zero Frequently Asked Questions

What is Horizon Zero?

Horizon Zero is a project from RMI’s Climate Intelligence program that seeks to accelerate the decarbonization of supply chains by making it possible to understand the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions impact of what companies are purchasing and selling.

Horizon Zero’s current work focuses on product-level greenhouse gas accounting and technical enablement to promote the exchange of GHG information.

The product-level GHG data and the technical architecture to disseminate it will enable us to develop green product procurement practices. From there, we’ll have the necessary elements to build climate-differentiated markets where companies are equipped to decarbonize their supply chains through informed purchases and investments.

How can Horizon Zero help producers report emissions?

Horizon Zero enables organizations to report emissions to their buyers by:

  • Demonstrating emissions reductions actions: Horizon Zero’s accounting methodologies employ fixed system boundaries to increase transparency and comparability at the product level, making it easier for organizations to demonstrate specific decarbonization efforts like low-emissions technology deployments or investments in renewable energy sources.
  • Facilitating seamless transmission of data: The use of common data standards for emissions data exchange increases interoperability between various emissions software platforms, making it easier for suppliers to send buyers the information they are requesting and for buyers to integrate that data into their own systems.

What is Horizon Zero’s unique value?

Horizon Zero complements the existing work on emissions transparency and traceability by providing product-level, sector-specific solutions in carbon accounting methodology and emissions reporting digitization. The below graphic highlights the unique, complementary value we provide to existing initiatives.

Emissions Accounting and Reporting
What are the key principles of Horizon Zero’s accounting methodology?

Horizon Zero’s emissions accounting methodology is founded on three key principles:

  1. Product-level disclosures which increase the transparency of a product’s emissions and can drive low carbon purchasing decisions.
  2. A fixed reporting boundary that encompasses all the high emission processes required to make a product, not just those with an organization’s scope. This creates bounds for comparison, allowing like products to be compared on an emissions basis.
  3. Encouraging the use of primary emissions data to increase the accuracy and reliability of reporting, instead of emissions factors that rely on averages and assumptions.

How is Horizon Zero different from other carbon accounting and transparency efforts that already exist?

Rather than creating new accounting standards, Horizon Zero aims to harmonize methodologies and standards where adequate options exist. For international reporting and standards organizations such as the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, the International Standards Organization, and World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s (WBCSD) Pathfinder Framework, our work complements theirs by providing sector specific methodologies and guidance for reporting on additional information that they do not require, with the goal of increasing transparency and comparability.

For industry associations creating sector specific guidance, such as the International Aluminum Institute (IAI), World Steel, ResponsibleSteel, and Together for Sustainability (TfS), there are several paths through which Horizon Zero can complement existing efforts. If the guidance for a given sector does not include product-level disclosures, Horizon Zero provides product-level reporting guidance as an extension of the corporate-level reporting standards for the sector. If the guidance for a given sector does include product-level disclosures, Horizon Zero expands on that effort by providing more granular details and transparency or by providing guidance upstream or downstream of the production boundary.

Technology Enablement
How does Horizon Zero use technology to increase the visibility and accessibility of GHG data?

Horizon Zero’s technology work is comprised of three core tenets to increase the visibility and accessibility of GHG emissions data:

  • Data Standards: Describe product-level emissions using a defined, agreed-upon, and machine-readable schema.
  • Interoperability: Enable seamless communication between carbon management and other software systems; vendors can use a single data format for multiple customers, and buyers receive data in a single format, produced using a common methodology, from all vendors, making comparisons possible.
  • Track & Trace: Standardized data, able to flow from node to node in a supply chain, becomes the foundation for being able to track and trace emissions across multiple supply chain tiers.

Is Horizon Zero creating a new software platform for carbon accounting?

Horizon Zero is not a software platform. Our approach is to leverage existing solutions and work with buyers, vendors, and software providers to increase interoperability between systems, reducing the reporting burden of producers and facilitating access to emissions data.

How can I get involved?

We are always looking for partners both on a project and sector level to help us refine our accounting methodologies, pilot test our solutions, and drive adoption of our principles. For more information, please reach out to Nicole Labutong, Horizon Zero principal, or Hao Wu, market activation manager

Additional Resources

Pilot Case Study Hub Page

Case Studies

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Why We Need Transparency in Metals Recycling to Reach Climate Goals


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Delivering a Net-Zero Future for Aluminum


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Pilot Study Proves Value of RMI’s Steel Industry Guidance


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Toward a Technology Ecosystem for Carbon Accounting


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Decarbonizing Hard-to-Abate Industries: The Importance of a New Accounting Method


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Corporate GHG Emissions Need to Move Beyond “Best-Guess” Territory


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