The Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol was developed by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). It provides a standardised methodology for how to assess the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the full life cycle of a product, including emissions from raw materials, manufacturing, transportation, storage, use and disposal. It goes beyond company boundaries and users responsible for just one phase of the product life cycle and encourages cooperation in emission reduction efforts. In this way, the focus can be directed towards those phases of the life cycle where the greatest emission reductions can be achieved for the smallest financial investment. It can be considered as an important first step towards product sustainability.
The focus of the protocol is on GHG emissions, but in many cases the resulting optimisation also leads to better energy efficiency and cost savings. The standard also advises companies how to communicate about the environmental impact of their products and to respond to customer questions.