Becoming Carbon Neutral Local Government


(for 2019 reporting year) 

Reporting Requirements

Local governments are required to report on their progress in achieving their carbon neutral goal under the Climate Action Charter
. In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and in response to a high volume of requests from local governments, CARIP reporting requirements are waived for the 2019 reporting year.

Online Survey Instructions

While there are no reporting requirements for the 2019 reporting year, the Ministry would be pleased to receive surveys on a voluntary basis. If a sufficient number are received by October 1, 2020, an abridged 2019 Annual CARIP Report may be prepared. 

Program Guide

For more detailed guidance about the Program, including how to complete the Carbon Tax Calculation Form, please see the CARIP Program Guide for 2019 Claims

(for 2019 reporting year) 

Please note this page contains several downloadable guidebooks, templates and interactive tools. If you experience any technical difficulties with the downloads you can also request the documents directly by emailing


The Workbook

The Joint Provincial-UBCM Green Communities Committee’s Workbook – Helping local Governments Understand How to be Carbon Neutral in Their Corporate Operations is intended to provide guidance to local governments on what is in scope to measure and offset within the boundaries of their corporate emissions. This version is newly revised based on feedback of the Draft from local governments.

Download the Workbook here.

The 'Carbon Neutral Workbook' provides initial guidance to local governments on the 4-step process to become carbon neutral and focuses on how to get started on measuring corporate emissions that occur within the local government “traditional services” boundary. 

For the next level of guidance for local governments on how to become carbon neutral, including step-by-step guidance on how to balance corporate emissions to zero by investing on GHG reduction projects and / or through purchased offsets read the 'Becoming Carbon Neutral Guidebook.'

The Workbook provides:

  • an explanation as to what carbon neutrality is,
  • a description of which corporate operations, referred to as “traditional services”, will be included in the carbon neutral commitment,
  • advice on data collection; and
  • examples of energy statements and how the information can be used to interpret a local government’s energy consumption and carbon footprint.

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Contracted Out Services

If a local government has a contractual or partnership arrangement to deliver traditional services, some of the emissions from those services need to be included as part of the local government’s corporate inventory.
The Green Communities Committee, in partnership with local governments, has recently developed a step-by-step guidebook for local governments on how to account for emissions that are generated in the delivery of contracted traditional services. 
The  ‘Guidance on Including Contracted Emissions in Local Government Corporate Inventories (Contracted Emissions Guidance) describes:
  • what contracts should be included in corporate inventories, 
  • what emissions data needs to be collected, and 
  • the steps that a local government can undertake to achieve this. 
The new Contracted Emissions Guidance applies to new contracts and upon renewal of existing contracts as of June 1, 2012. This time frame is designed to provide local governments with some lead time to establish any new policies and administrative procedures that may be required.
The Contracted Emissions Guidance includes options for local governments to estimate fuel consumption from contracted services. Option 2 requires the use of the ‘Contracted Services Calculator,’ which can be accessed below.
The Interactive Contracted Emissions Reporting Template can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

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Tools to Measure Emissions


SMARTTool is a web-based, carbon emissions inventory and reporting tool that provides a standardized approach to calculating and reporting an organization’s corporate greenhouse gas emissions. The tool was originally developed to help provincial public sector organizations meet their legislated requirements to be carbon neutral by 2010.

As part of their work supporting local government signatories to the Climate Action Charter meet their carbon neutral commitments the Green Communities Committee (GCC) is pleased to be able to recommend SMARTTool for use by local governments.

Communities using SMARTTool (or an alternative tool) must also complete a Self Certification Business Process Checklist (Checklist), for the purposes of meeting their carbon neutral commitment under the Climate Action Charter.

The purpose of the Checklist is to ensure consistency, completeness and accuracy in the reporting of local government corporate GHG emissions regardless of which carbon inventory tool they choose to use. Download the interactive version of the Checklist at the bottom of the page.

Example of communities using SMARTTool: Valemount, Burns Lake. 

Other Inventory and Reporting Tools

The use of other inventory and reporting tools will be enabled under the Carbon Neutral Framework.  To ensure methodology, emission factors and outputs from other tools are consistent and comparable with SMARTTool results, a local government choosing to use another inventory and reporting tool will be required to:

1. Use the same corporate boundaries as described in the Workbook – Helping Local Governments Understand How to be Carbon Neutral in Their Corporate Operations

2. Use the same emission factors and methodologies employed by SMARTTool as detailed in the Methodology for Reporting B.C. Local Government Greenhouse Gas Emissions which will be provided to local governments

3. Complete and adhere to the Self Certification Business Process Checklist (available for download at the bottom of the page)

4. Report on annual total corporate emissions as calculated and reported by the alternative tool, broken down by fuel type, using the Alternative Tool GHG Reporting Template.

5. Provide CAO/CFO attestation that the actions outlined above were undertaken

Methodology Document

(for users of alternative tools)

*Note: We have moved to a new approach for updates to the BC Best Practices Methodology for Quantifying GHG Emissions document: (1) A two-year update cycle with the caveat that some individual factors may be updated in the second year based on the significance of their year over year change. (2) Updates will be applied to the two years ahead.

 Effective January 1, 2016, emission factors for 2016 and 2017 are in SMARTTool.

The 2016/17 B.C. Best Practices Methodology for Quantifying Greenhouse Gas Emissions replaces the 2014 Methodology for Reporting B.C. Local Government Greenhouse Gas Emissions and has been developed for use by those local governments who are using or considering using a corporate emissions inventory and reporting tool other than SMARTTool.

The use of the emission factors and methodologies contained in this document are required by the Green Communities Committee as part of the common approach to carbon neutrality under the Climate Action Charter. Note that this version of the Methodology for Reporting is a consolidation of several stand alone guides developed for a range of organizations.

As a result, not all content will be relevant for local governments. Local governments should refer to pages 7-9 of the new 2016/17 B.C. Best Practices document to confirm which sections apply to their carbon neutral commitment under the Climate Action Charter.

Please note that this document will be updated periodically to reflect changes or clarifications to the emission factors, methodologies and scope. For this reason, local governments should ensure that they are using the most current version of the Methodology when they are calculating their corporate emissions. Version numbers of the Methodology will be noted on the document cover. 
Major changes and clarifications for 2016/2017 include:
  • Updates to emission factors in line with annual updates to peer-reviewed documents and national and provincial emission factor inventories;
  • Domestic purchased electricity emission factors have increased due to less favourable hydrological conditions and a further increase in reliance on thermal generation compared to prior years;
  • Further clarification on building estimate techniques vis-à-vis an updated table of fixed energy intensity units and a decision tree on emission quantification methodologies;
  • The methodology to determine carbon intensities from district energy systems (DES) has been updated. This methodology continues to incorporate the usage of a stand-alone DES calculator (XLSX) and a series of tiered emission factors in SMARTTool.
If you have any comments or questions on the Methodology please email: the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development at Please put "Methodology" in the email subject line. 

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Becoming Carbon Neutral Guidebook

The 'Becoming Carbon Neutral Guidebook' builds on the Workbook described above and provides the next level of guidance for local governments on how to become carbon neutral, including step-by-step guidance on how to balance corporate emissions to zero by investing on GHG reduction projects and / or through purchased offsets.  

Download the 'Becoming Carbon Neutral Guidebook' here.

The 'Becoming Carbon Neutral Guidebook' reviews the Carbon Neutral Framework and its four key steps to achieving carbon neutrality (i.e., measure, reduce, offset/balance and report) and focuses on options for local governments to balance their corporate emissions to zero through investments in local GHG reduction project and / or purchased offsets (i.e., step 3 of the Framework).

↑ Top **Project Profiles Included in the Guide are provided below

PLEASE NOTE: The 'Becoming Carbon Neutral Guidebook' includes five project profiles that local governments can use to measure GHG reductions resulting from these GHG reduction projects. Each of the project profiles has a spreadsheet for determining the annual emissions reductions associated with each project.  The project profiles and spreadsheets are provided below as separate documents for local governments to use.  Any work conducted in the spreadsheets needs to be saved as a separate file or as an update to the project profile document. Instructions are provided in the profile documents.

Project Profiles

*Trouble opening links? Download the profile files to your desktop directly by right-clicking on the links and using the “Save Target As...” function.

Option 1A: Project Profile Low Emission Vehicles
Option 1B: Project Profile Energy Efficient Building Retrofits and Fuel Switching
Option 1C: Project Profile Solar Thermal (Hot Water) Retrofits
Option 1D: Project Profile Household Organic Waste Composting*
Option 1E: Project Profile Avoided Forest Conversion (AFC)
Option 1F: Trenchless Technology Project Profile

May 11th, 2015 – The GCC Option 1 Project Profiles, including the emissions reductions calculators, have been updated to fall in line with the Global Warming Potentials (GWP) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 4th Assessment Report. Notable changes include increasing the GWP of methane to 25 from 21 and decreasing the GWP of nitrous oxide from 310 to 298.

April 21st, 2015 – The GCC Option 1 Organics Waste Composting Profile has been updated with clarifying language on industrial, commercial and institutional (ICI) organics. Please note ICI organics are eligible under this project profile as long as a local government can demonstrate ownership of the GHG emission reductions.

Other recent updates to Version 3.0 of the Organics Waste Composting Project Profile provide guidance on estimating the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that can be reduced from a local government’s corporate carbon footprint by diverting household organic waste into a centralized community composting system rather than sending it to a landfill.

Highlighted changes and clarifications to Version 3.0 of the project profile include: the ability to enter individual diversions for both kitchen scraps and yard waste; the inclusion of multiple inputs for different composting project types for project emissions; the ability to project potential impacts of an organics program up to 100 years; a clearer more concise user interface and clarifications on crediting periods and approaches.

Carbon Neutral Guidance Templates 
The following interactive reporting templates are available for download:

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Email Us: We Want Your Feedback

GCC is interested in hearing from local governments on the Carbon Neutral Framework and the “Becoming Carbon Neutral Guidebook” to ensure it considers and reflects the needs of all local governments. 

If you have comments or questions please email: the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development at Please put "Carbon Neutral " in the email subject line.

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BC Climate Action Toolkit hosted the latest Refresher on CARIP and Carbon Neutral Reporting webinar held in March 2019. This webinar laid out background information on the BC Climate Action Charter and the Green Communities Committee (GCC), and provided details on the Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program (CARIP) and the GCC Carbon Neutral Framework. Staff from the Ministries of Community, Sport and Cultural Development and Environment presented and answered questions on CARIP and the Carbon Neutral reporting process. 


View recording of the Refresher on CARIP and Carbon Neutral Reporting webinar on the Toolkit Vimeo channel. Download the 2019 webinar presentation slides.

The joint Provincial-UBCM Green Communities Committee  also held webinars in November 2012  to provide local governments with detailed information on the carbon neutral reporting requirements.  
The recordings of the webinar can be accessed below. The webinar cover:
  • Reporting requirements associated with each step of the carbon neutral framework (measure, reduce, offset and/or balance, report)
  • Reporting timelines
  • Where reports are submitted

Green Communities Committee Carbon Neutral Reporting Webinar from BC Climate Action Toolkit on Vimeo.

To assist local governments in learning how to measure their corporate emissions using SMARTTool  (or an equivalent measurement tool) and how to become carbon neutral in their corporate operations, the GCC held a series of free workshops and webinars throughout the Province in June. The webinar recordings are below:

Watch the webinars online:

Becoming Carbon Neutral - Small Communities Part 1 on Vimeo*.

Becoming Carbon Neutral - Small Communities Part 2 on Vimeo*.


The GCC would like to commend local governments for their leadership and action on climate change to date.  As more and more B.C. local governments adopt greener policies and practices, move toward carbon neutrality, and take steps to reduce community-wide greenhouse gas emissions, all British Columbians benefit from cleaner, healthier and more liveable, sustainable communities.

*Vimeo is a third-party viewing platform. The Green Communities Committee (GCC) makes no representations, warranties or endorsements about or its sponsored links, advertising, features, safety or its programs and services. The fact that a website is linked to this site does not imply that GCC sponsors, endorses or is affiliated or associated with the entity that owns or is responsible for the website.

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