Carbon Emissions Reporting

By: Phillipa Grant

Date Published: January 31, 2023

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The carbon emissions reporting landscape has changed radically over the last decade, with the UK stepping up its regulatory efforts to align corporate activities with the national net zero carbon strategy. 

Since the enforcement of the UK Climate Change Act in 2008, reporting on greenhouse gas (GHG) and in particular carbon emissions by the private sector has been mandated to varying degrees across the UK and Europe. The latest update of the UK regulations, adopting the Streamlined Energy & Carbon Reporting (SECR) policy, has extended the minimum reporting requirements of quoted companies as well as requiring additional reporting from large, unquoted companies. The EU has similarly enforced the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive as of January 2023, extending their reporting requirements to additional companies beyond their original 2014 directive.

Figure 1: UK Companies Required to Report Emissions under SECR, as of April 2019

*Quoted company defined in the SECR as a “company that is UK incorporated and whose equity share capital is listed on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange UK or in an EEA State, or admitted to trading on the New York Stock Exchange or Nasdaq.”

In addition to regulatory requirements, carbon emissions reporting is a cornerstone of almost all ESG corporate benchmarks. There is a notable shift towards transparent reporting, utilising tangible data with standardised metrics to tackle issues relating to greenwashing.

While there are still challenges associated with the varying methodologies lacking a standardised approach, real estate sustainability benchmarks (including the following) aim to provide simplified ESG ratings.

Figure 2: Real Estate ESG Benchmarking Including Carbon Emissions Reporting

To begin assessing and reporting on your corporate carbon emissions, the following steps should be taken:

  1. Define organisational boundary – the GHG Protocol is referred to globally as the international standard for GHG reporting. The protocol defines the scope boundaries for reporting of emissions across direct and indirect emissions, through Scopes 1 to 3. The organisational boundary for reporting should be established at the outset to ensure consistent and comparable reporting year on year.
  2. Stakeholder engagement – engagement with all relevant stakeholders is a critical step to establish data collection and reporting mechanisms across all organisational activities. Clear roles and responsibilities should be established at this stage.
  3. Data collection – collection of data may be manual or automated, the development of a digital data collection platform can help standardise annual reporting, improve efficiencies and help to mitigate risk of missing or inaccurate datasets.
  4. Establish reporting baseline – a baseline year should be set against which future emissions can be assessed and reported against. 
  5. Carbon emissions calculations – emissions are then calculated for the applicable year, calculations and reporting can be aligned to either the calendar or financial year, however the financial year is commonly used when aligning with regulations.
  6. Reporting – reporting should clearly narrate the approach and methodology used for calculations and results, providing explanations as to the defined organisational boundary as well as any scope categories excluded from the calculations.
  7. Third party verification – a third party may be engaged to audit and verify the emissions report, providing an additional layer of legitimacy for benchmarking purposes. This step may result in a limited or reasonable assurance statement.

AESG’s dedicated team of energy and climate change advisory experts support our clients in the establishment of carbon emissions baselines, carbon accounting, forecasting and reporting. We also have qualified auditors to provide third party verification and assurance services for completed carbon assessments. If you need support with your upcoming emissions calculations, reporting or third party verification then reach out via the below contacts and we will be happy to help.

How can AESG help?

AESG is a specialist consultancy, engineering and advisory firm with offices in London, Dubai. Riyadh and Singapore working on projects throughout Europe, Asia and Middle East. We pride ourselves as industry leaders in each of the services that we offer. We have one of the largest dedicated teams with decades of cumulative experience in sustainable design, fire and life safety, façade engineering, building commissioning and digital asset management, waste management, environmental consultancy, strategy and advisory, acoustics, cost management and carbon management.

Phillipa Grant

Partner and Global Sustainability Director, AESG

Phillipa is AESG’s Partner and Global Director of Sustainability. Having worked on some of the most complex and prestigious sustainability projects in AESG’s portfolio, including the development and implementation of Dubai’s Demand Side Management programs and multiple pavilions at Dubai EXPO 2020, Phillipa has gained a broad and thorough understanding of the energy and sustainability sector, both locally and internationally, and is passionate about furthering the global Sustainable Development Goals. Phillipa leads all of AESG’s energy and sustainability related strategic advisory projects, including the development of government policies and programs as well as sustainable development guidelines for low-income housing.

In 2018 Phillipa was recognised for her performance by the AESG Sustainable Business Leadership Awards and was awarded “Sustainability Manager of the Year”. In 2019 Phillipa was awarded as ‘Highly Commended Engineer of the Year’ at the Construction Week Awards 2019.

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