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UK opens consultation on mandatory GHG reporting

The UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has opened a three-month consultation on its planned regulation on mandatory greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting.

The regulation – which was announced at the Rio+20 conference in June – is largely as anticipated, consultants say, but offers some detail on what companies are expected to report from April 2013.

“In big picture terms, there are no surprises, but there are some interesting bits of clarity,” said Andrew Prosser, an associate director at London-based energy and environmental consultancy Verco.

The regulation will affect all UK-listed companies – estimated by Defra at around 1,100 – and they will be required to report on all six GHGs covered by the Kyoto Protocol, from all their operations worldwide – essentially covering Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions, defined in the GHG Protocol as direct emissions, and emissions associated with purchased electricity.

“This means reporting companies will have to have efficient data collection systems for gathering information from global operations, as well as a set of global emission factors,” said Matthew Brander, senior analyst at Edinburgh-based environmental software business Ecometrica.

Companies are also required to produce an “intensity ratio” of emissions per unit of production. “This is nice to see,” said Alaistair Blackmore, a consultant at sustainability performance software provider Credit360, adding that it is left to the companies to choose the most relevant indicator.

Companies will have to include GHG information in annual reports made after 6 April 2013, although the consultation does ask whether this start date should be pushed back.

“I don’t doubt that there will be calls for more time, although most already report their emissions in one shape or another,” Prosser said.

The draft regulation does allow companies to use information collected to comply with Climate Change Agreements, the EU Emissions Trading System and the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme, although Prosser cautions that such data is not likely to be sufficient to meet the new requirements.

While companies are unlikely to have to report before 2014, they will have to begin collecting data within less than a year – which for smaller companies which may not have began the process, will be a challenge.

“The first year, it is difficult,” says Prosser, “although it gets easier every year. They need to put in place clear systems and protocols on how to begin to collect the data.”

The draft regulation can be downloaded from here, and the document for the consultation, which is open to 17 October, can be found here.

By Mark Nicholls
Environmental Finance 


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