Mandatory Emissions Reporting for UK Companies

Defra has published draft guidelines for UK companies for the upcoming mandatory emissions requirements, after the announcement at the Rio+20 Summit. So what does this mean?

Logo for Defra

What needs to be reported?

A company’s total emissions in tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) of all the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that they are  is responsible for.

Image of chimmney with smoke coming out to represent carbon emissions

The CO2e must include includes carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6).

Where are emissions need reporting?

There are many ways emissions can be produced within a company. These include:

  • Combustion of fuel
  • Operation of any facility
  • Process emissions
  • Fugitive, or unintentional emissions

What about the supply chain?

There is currently no requirement to report on emissions produced by your suppliers, or emissions produced by products during their use by customers. This can be reported on a voluntary basis.

When does this start?

In the same period as  2013 financial reports do. (Check Defra’s guidelines if you need more detail)

What has it got to do with SMEs?

Currently nothing. Only UK companies listed on the Stock Exchange need to report.

However, this does not mean that SMEs will have to do something in the future. Also, if you are a supplier to large companies, they may wish to report their suppliers emissions (that is you).  It is a good idea to keep abreast of your emissions and minimise them wherever possible. Look out for green business networks in your area, or online business supports such as .

Check out Defra’s small business guide

Guide to carbon reporting for small business

Defra’s Guide for small business carbon reporting

What methods can be used to quantify emissions?

The current regulations do not require a company to use a particular method. The use of acceptable methodologies are recommended such as:

GRI is the most widely used standard  and accepted world-wide. Here is a brief intro below

For more details, go to Defra’s website here 

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