What is the difference between a carbon calculation and SECR report?

A carbon emission (kgCO2e) calculation forms part of an SECR report.  A full SECR report includes this, plus the required total energy consumption (in kWh) split by consumption type and a breakdown of the the Green House Gas emissions.  In addition, the SECR report includes the required comparison against an intensity benchmark and details past/present energy saving actions.

What is SECR?

SECR is the acronym for Streamlined Energy & Carbon Reporting legislation.  The Companies Act 2006 (Strategic Report and Directors’ Report) Regulations introduced changes to require quoted companies to report their annual emissions and an intensity ratio in their Directors’ Report. The 2018 Regulations bring in additional disclosure requirements for quoted companies. The 2018 Regulations also introduce requirements for large unquoted companies and limited liability partnerships to disclose their annual energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, and related information.  These changes came into effect from April 2019.  The legislation can be found here.

What do we have to report?

The guidance states that quoted & unquoted companies have to report the following:

Quoted companies

Large unquoted companies and LLPs

Annual GHG emissions from activities for which the company is responsible including combustion of fuel and operation of any facility; and the annual emissions from the purchase of electricity, heat, steam or cooling by the company for its own use

UK energy use (as a minimum gas, electricity and transport, including UK offshore area)

Underlying global energy use

Associated greenhouse gas emissions

Previous year’s figures for energy use and GHG

Previous year’s figures for energy use and GHG emissions

At least one intensity ratio

At least one intensity ratio

Energy efficiency action taken

Energy efficiency action taken

Methodology used

Methodology used

What is an intensity ratio?

The Directors’ Report (or LLP’s Energy and Carbon Report) must express the organisation’s emissions by way of at least one intensity ratio. Intensity ratios compare emissions data with an appropriate business metric or financial indicator, such as sales revenue or square metres of floor space. This allows comparison of energy efficiency performance over time and often with other similar types of organisations.  The relevant Report must state at least one metric which expresses the business’ annual emissions in relation to a quantifiable factor. While organisations are free to choose their own intensity ratio, these should be most appropriate to your business activity, such as tonnes of CO2e per total square metres for the property sector, or tonnes of CO2e per total million tonnes of production for the manufacturing sector, calculated on a consistent basis year on year with the method of calculation disclosed, and meaningful to stakeholders.

What methodologies should be used?

While there is no prescribed methodology under the legislation, organisations are required to disclose the methodology used to calculate the required information. For effective emissions management and transparency in reporting, it is important that robust and accepted methods are used. It is recommended that you use a widely recognized independent standard, such as:

  • GHG Reporting Protocol – Corporate Standard.
  • International Organisation for Standardization, ISO (ISO 14064-1:2018).
  • Climate Disclosure Standards Board, CDSB.
  • The Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Reporting Guidelines.

What do we have to report and when?

Quoted companies have been required to make carbon disclosures in their Directors’ Reports since 30 September 2013. The new requirements imposed by the 2018 Regulations on quoted companies and on large unquoted companies and large LLPs apply to reports for financial years starting on or after 1 April 2019.


Usual reporting year

The first financial year for which the relevant Report must comply with the new requirements under the 2018 Regulations

1 January to 31 December

1 January 2020 to 31 December 2020

1 April to 31 March

1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020

What is the cost?

A carbon emission calculation is free.  For non-listed companies the standard SECR report is £350+vat.  For listed companies and companies that require additional work (e.g. HGV emission calculations), the price will be bespoke to your company.  Upon submission, we will get in contact to provide a quote for the additional work.

What does the 'e' stand for in kgCO2e?

The ‘e’ stands for ‘equivalent’.  “Carbon dioxide equivalent” or “CO2e” is a term for describing different greenhouse gases in a common unit. For any quantity and type of greenhouse gas, CO2e signifies the amount of CO2 which would have the equivalent global warming impact. A quantity of GHG can be expressed as CO2e by multiplying the amount of the GHG by its GWP (Global Warming Potential). E.g. if 1kg of methane is emitted (which has a GWP of 25), this can be expressed as 25kg of CO2e (1kg CH4 * 25 = 25kg CO2e).

My data is incomplete, what shall I do?

Estimating energy use Where verifiable data is not available, organisations may estimate data by:

• Direct comparison; 

• Pro-rata extrapolation;

• Benchmarking.

Direct comparison means using figures from another comparable time period to fill the gap, (for example the same day/week/month in another year).

Pro-rata extrapolation means using figures available for one period of time to get average consumption figures for a shorter period. For example, an organisation may use the average day rate of energy use for 1 April 2019 to 25 April 2019 to estimate the energy used between 26 and 30 April 2019.

Benchmarking means using the energy consumption of one asset or activity as a proxy to estimate the consumption of another asset. For example, an organisation may use the annual energy use of one retail outlet to estimate how much energy another retail outlet uses, particularly if they are similar size, age, or build. When calculating energy consumption from transport activities, organisation may make reasonable estimations based on verifiable data (e.g. expenditure) in cases where they do not have actual usage data (e.g. litres).