Since 2013, all UK quoted companies have been required to report on their annual greenhouse gas emissions. In April 2019, this was extended to large registered companies. Whilst small businesses currently remain exempt, they are encouraged to report on their greenhouse gas emissions wherever possible.
Although government guidance and support on emissions reporting exists, it can still prove a little daunting for some. And with the Government’s recent commitment to net zero targets, it is likely that emissions reporting will become mandatory for more and more organisations in the near future.
Following on from their success with a personal carbon footprint calculator (which allows users to calculate estimates of their yearly personal carbon footprints) the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) have produced a simple guide to support companies through emissions reporting.
The Emissions Possible guide, which was released in April 2021, helps to break down the legal requirements and reasons for businesses to calculate their greenhouse gas emissions, along with tips on reporting; methodologies to follow; tools to use and platforms to disclose results.
The guide is aimed at businesses who “want to better understand their impact, and to make real changes for the environment.” There is huge potential for this type of resource to debunk complex terminology and make emissions reporting more accessible.
What is emissions reporting and what are the benefits?
Emissions reporting is the process by which an organisation measures and reports the volume of greenhouse gases emitted that are associated with that company’s activities. As you use energy or resources, you are having an indirect impact on our environment. Emissions reporting is the measurement of that impact, like a carbon footprint of your business.
Calculating emissions impacts helps businesses to:
Although clear in its approach, the WWF guide is a means and not an end. However, it offers users a straightforward and organised description of the process of emissions reporting with external links, catering to different business sectors.
The WWF also urge businesses to go beyond what is mandatory; to set an example for others and remain open and honest about areas for improvement. Emissions reporting is about setting an accurate baseline from which to improve and not about ‘fudging the numbers to look good’.
Some of their top tips include:
At The Carbon Literacy Project, we are always on the lookout for useful resources that might help learners when considering their individual and group actions. Particularly where learning takes place within a workplace/organisational setting, we think this WWF guide could provide a useful resource to generate ideas and a better understanding about potential workplace-based emissions and climate impacts, enabling more focused and decisive climate action.
We encourage anyone interested in better understanding their organisational emissions to engage with this WWF resource. We would also encourage any CL trainers to review and see if it may be a relevant and useful resource to include in your training initiative. As always, if you spot a useful tool or resource that you think the Carbon Literacy community would like to know about, let us know via firstname.lastname@example.org or tag @Carbon_Literacy on Twitter, using the #CLResource thread.