SECR aims to make energy and carbon reporting simpler, with a view to reducing the cost of compliance and improving the overall energy efficiency of UK PLC. We welcomed this change, which is part of the UK Government’s Clean Growth Strategy—but with the government’s announcement that they intend to amend the Climate Change Act and set a formal target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, it’s taken on even more importance. Here’s a brief recap on SECR, and an update on how the framework has developed over the last few months.
The scope of SECR will be wider than previous legislation (the Carbon Reduction Commitment) making it applicable to all quoted companies and large UK incorporated unquoted companies with at least 250 employees or annual turnover greater than £36,000,000 and annual balance sheet total greater than £18,000,000.
While an opt-out option exists for organisations that use less than 40,000 kWh per annum, we expect the number of companies falling under the scheme to jump up to around 12,000, from approximately 1,200 which are currently required to report similar data under the Greenhouse Gas Emission reporting scheme.
We now know that the regulator won’t specify the exact procedures that should be used for energy and carbon reporting in the annual reports, nor will they specify which intensity metrics to use. They will, however, publish guidance on good practice in the coming months to help guide organisations through to compliance.
One other thing that’s been clarified is the rules around reporting at group level. It’s been confirmed that companies should take into account not only their own information, but the information of any subsidiaries—which are quoted companies, unquoted companies, or LLPs in their own right—although the option does exist to exclude any energy and carbon information relating to a subsidiary which the subsidiary would not itself be obliged to include if reporting on its own account. In effect, this means that any UK-based subsidiaries that qualify for SECR in their own right can submit via the parent group report.
The impacts of the new legislation will vary depending on your current situation, but if you’re already working with Boxfish on compliance with existing carbon reporting regulations, not much will change—we’ll be there to guide you through all aspects of the new reporting requirements.
For those not currently familiar will carbon and energy legislation, SECR may present a challenge—but it’s also a great opportunity to improve sustainability, drive down emissions, and enhance your bottom line. For some larger global businesses not currently reporting, it might also act as a subtle mechanism to ensure best practice is applied to all its UK operations too.
Either way, our team of energy industry experts can provide end-to-end compliance support, outsourcing your SECR obligations; creating a first submission template that fits your site and sector-specific reporting needs; calculating emissions and intensity metrics; identifying real-world efficiency improvement measures; and providing all necessary documentation for the annual report.
The first round of annual SECR submissions aren’t due until April 2020 at the earliest. However, now is the time to start, as the reports will be open to public scrutiny.
Is your organisation on top of its corporate sustainability obligations? Have you addressed energy efficiency across all aspects of your operations? Are you clear on your carbon footprint? Asking these questions now should make the whole process of achieving compliance quicker, easier, and cheaper.