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  • Green Book Alliance

ONIX can help convey your book's GHG/Carbon emissions

EDItEUR has just released a new application note (PDF) for ONIX that shows how a publisher might use their ONIX metadata to convey the carbon footprint of a book.

Did you also know… that ONIX can be used to communicate the carbon footprint of a book?

Some publishers are keen to express their ‘green’ credentials and the sustainable raw materials and supply chain they use. However, independent certification of these credentials is essential. There are numerous schemes for calculating and certifying the carbon footprint or greenhouse gas emissions of an organisation and its activities, and by extension, of its products. The details of various sustainability credential schemes and certifications can be expressed on a per-product basis in ONIX using Product form feature and a type value from List 79.

For example, the snippet of ONIX below claims the publisher is certified under Part 3 of a specific sustainability scheme (the scheme is identified with the <ProductFormFeatureValue> code 100). The certificate or licence number (SBT1001924 in the example) allows this to be verified, and the calculated Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions attributable to the product are specified:


<ProductFormFeatureType>41</ProductFormFeatureType> <!-- GHG emission scheme -->

<ProductFormFeatureValue>100</ProductFormFeatureValue> <!-- from list 262 -->

<ProductFormFeatureDescription>Part 3</ProductFormFeatureDescription>



<ProductFormFeatureType>42</ProductFormFeatureType> <!-- GHG certificate no. --> <ProductFormFeatureValue>100</ProductFormFeatureValue




<ProductFormFeatureType>44</ProductFormFeatureType> <!-- GHG emissions CO₂e -->




This product has a measured and certified carbon footprint of around 2.1 Kg of CO₂e (Carbon dioxide equivalent), using the measurement protocols of the particular scheme. In some circumstances, it may be more appropriate for downstream data users to state the emissions in terms of Kg CO₂e per Kg of product, in which case the weight of the product – carried in the <Measure> composite – is also required.


Codelist Issue 62 for ONIX 3.0 has been released. Complete listings of the ONIX codelists can be downloaded from the EDItEUR website.

List 79 Product form feature type

A large selection of codes has been added to reflect Carbon/GHG emission certification schemes at the product level (not company-wide initiatives the publisher may have taken on, for example). Refer to the codelist for complete documentation for the following newly-added codes:

  • Code 41 Carbon/GHG emission certification scheme and part (Use Code List 262 below)

  • Code 42 Carbon/GHG emission certification / license number (Use Code List 262 below)

  • Code 43 Carbon/GHG emission certification URL (Use Code List 262 below)

  • Code 44 Carbon/GHG Scope 3 Carbon dioxide equivalent emission (Use Code List 262 below)

  • Code 45 Carbon/GHG Scope 2 Carbon dioxide equivalent emission

  • Code 46 Carbon/GHG Scope 1 Carbon dioxide equivalent emission

List 262 Carbon/GHG emissions certification scheme

Akin to the addition of several codes under list 79, product form feature type, list 262 adds codes for emissions certification schemes, including:

  • 101 Blue Angel Product

  • 102 Cradle to Cradle

  • 103 Nordic Swan

  • 104 Klimaneutral

  • 105 EU Ecolabel

  • 501 Vlabel

According to EDItEUR, “this initial list of certification schemes is intended to support proof-of-concept work and initial development of functionality within IT systems. Other schemes will be added to this list in issue 63 and thereafter. The list is intended to cover schemes which apply to the product (rather than to an organization), and most of these schemes will allow for a logo to be printed on the book. Many have certification numbers or license numbers that can be used to verify the certification status, and some provide methodologies for calculating the emissions of greenhouse gases on a per-copy basis.”

Expect List 262 to grow and if you're using or planning on a scheme it would be good to stay on top of global certification schemes and their inclusion in EDItEUR’s lists.

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