Budgeting for Mandatory Carbon Reporting

Yohan Hill

The details of Defra’s upcoming environmental legislation on mandatory carbon reporting are not due out until April 2013, however, most UK listed companies will already be wondering how to prepare for it in the absence of certainty concerning the precise regulatory requirements.

Key considerations at the top of mind for sustainability managers will be:

  • How does my current reporting stack up against the draft guidelines?
  • Are my data systems robust enough to pass muster?
  • And, what will it cost to get my carbon reporting up to scratch?

The last question is perhaps the most urgent as budgets for next year need to be set and agreed in advance. By the time April 2013 comes around it may be too late to initiate the projects that will ensure that the data is solid and reliable, particularly for organisations with complex and/or global operations.

Nevertheless, most UK listed companies would have already been reporting carbon voluntarily for a number of years now, via their annual reports, sustainability reports or other voluntary submissions. The advice then for those responsible for this area would be to aim, and indeed budget for, best practice.

Here is a checklist of things to consider:

  • Make sure you have the tools and systems to capture and manage your corporate carbon footprint (e.g. software solutions for data capture and analysis, automatic meter readers for electricity and gas consumption, and certified carbon management systems such as the Carbon Trust Standard).
  • Develop training and guidance documents for those involved in data capture and reporting.
  • Ensure that you’re measuring not just carbon dioxide, but all six Kyoto gases including methane, hydroflurocarbons, nitrous oxide, perfluorocarbons and sulphur hexafluoride.
  • Increase the frequency of your carbon data capture to at least quarterly, if not monthly, reporting.
  • Get your data third-party assured to a good standard.

If you possess these qualities in increasing measure, you will neither be ineffective or unproductive in managing and reporting your corporate greenhouse gas emissions, whatever happens in April 2013.

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