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What are Net Zero guidelines issued by ISO?

The International Standards Organization, ISO, published the much-anticipated Net Zero Guidelines on 11th November 2022.

By Pallav Jain
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The International Standards Organization, ISO, published the much-anticipated Net Zero Guidelines on 11th November 2022. It will make it easier for global institutions and governments to achieve the Net Zero goal.

Who created these Net Zero Guidelines?

Over 1,200 organizations and experts from over 100 countries came together to create the guidelines for Net Zero, through the ISO platform. In a consensus process, it took just three months. These works are based on the current scenario of Net Zero standards.

This initiative was made possible through our 2050 world collaboration between ISO, the UN Race to Zero, and the UNFCCC's Global Innovation Hub, convened by the UK's national standards body, BSI.

How does ISO Net Zero guideline help?

  • These Net Zero Guidelines will support all organizations that develop policies, frameworks, standards, or other initiatives on Net Zero for others to use.
  • It will insist on a common approach across all institutions on Net Zero. These guidelines will currently be available in English, French, Spanish, and Arabic.
  • These Net Zero Guidelines are helpfully built on Race to Zero voluntary criteria and can be used as a key reference text on Net Zero to bring global actors into alignment, meet ambition and address greenwashing.
  • ISO is determined to increase positive impact around the world and ensure that our Net Zero guidelines are used with the widest possible reach.
  • The Net Zero guidelines provide a common reference point for the systems and organizations that will be subject to these transformational forces. This common reference point is expected to stimulate the development of climate and sustainability solutions that enable the satisfaction of core human needs irrespective of the value chain that aligns with the climate and sustainability goals.

This document provides common terms and definitions, guidance, and specific recommendations on:

  • — net zero guiding principles for all organizations;
  • — incorporating net-zero into strategies and policies;
  • — what net zero means at different levels and for different types of organizations;
  • — setting and aligning interim and long-term targets based on equity, latest scientific knowledge, evidence, research, and agreed good practice;
  • — actions to take to achieve these targets;
  • — greenhouse gas emission reductions within the value chain;
  • — nature protection and restoration;
  • — avoided emissions and other climate contributions beyond the value chain;
  • — removals;
  • — offsets;
  • — credits;
  • — claims;
  • — monitoring, measuring, and use of appropriate and consistent indicators;
  • — equity, empowerment, fair share, and wider impact;
  • — transparent reporting and effective communication.


"I am delighted to welcome the publication of ISO's Net Zero Guidelines and congratulate all who have worked on them. As we highlighted in the Pivot Point report earlier this year, if we are to effectively and rapidly unlock the regulatory environment needed to help governments meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, we need to be at Net Zero. There is a need for clear, consistent, and harmonized global standards."

UN Climate Change High-Level Champion, Nigel Topping

The Net Zero Guidelines were developed through the International Organization for Standardization International Workshop Agreement (IWA) process, a series of virtual workshops aimed at creating a final guideline that reflects a global approach to reaching Net Zero.

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