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Apr
19

Introduction

The Carbon Reporting Efficiency Scheme is a mandatory carbon emission reporting and pricing scheme which was introduced for the first time with the 2008 Climate Change Actin order to encourage public and private companies and business across the UK to reduce their CO2 emissions and help the UK meet the Government’s 80% carbon reduction goal by 2050.

It was designed to cover organisations who spend £500,000 on and use 6MWh electricity per year and includes reporting and allowances requirements.

The requirements are:

1)      Emission reporting requirement: any business who meets the listed criteria needs to gather and submit evidence on their company’s energy usage (electricity and gas) annually, using the online CRC registry and applying a specific set of measurement rules. Furthermore, it will need to provide other requested relevant information and answer some specific corporate responsibility related questions.

2)      Purchase: businesses falling under the CRC scope need to purchase an energy allowance based on the CO2 emissions they generate from the Government or from the secondary market, in order to cover their reported emissions.

3)      Transparency: all the information submitted by those who align to the CRC scheme will be published each year as part of the Annual Report Publication (ARP).

The Carbon Reporting Efficiency Scheme covered emissions not already covered by Climate Change Agreements and the EU Emissions Trading System.

The simplification

A consultation was launched in 2012 and it was recognised that the scheme was overcomplicated and that there was a significant overlap with other UK and EU regulation schemes.

In 2013, the CRC Efficiency Order was introduced to decrease administrative costs, reduce overlap and simplify the reporting requirements.

Two years later, the 2015 Energy Efficiency Review looked at the CRC as a part of “the business energy landscape” and lead to the abolition of the CRC and the expansion of another scheme: the CCL (Climate Change Levy).

The future of the CRC. What is going to change?

Nothing will change until 2019. A further consultation on simplified energy and carbon reporting will be held later this year.

What we know so far is that from April 2019 the purchase of energy allowance won’t be compulsory anymore, and that the CCL rates will be adjusted in order to make the abolition of the Carbon Reduction Efficiency Scheme neutral.

The Climate Change Levy

The Climate Change Levy has a much wider reach than the CRC as it covers organisations who use up to 1.2 MWh of electricity per year, and its aim is to encourage them to switch to cleaner and more sustainable energy sources.

Even though this goal could be easily questioned as the CCL scheme does not include renewables among the sources that give businesses the possibility to avoid CCL payments, electricity, gas and solid fuel consumption can benefit from tax reduction if:

-          they won’t be used in the UK

-          they are supplied to or from certain combined heat and power (CHP) schemes registered under the CHP quality assurance (CHPQA) programme

-          they won’t be used as fuel

-          they’re used in certain forms of transport

-          the electricity was generated from renewable sources before 1 August 2015.

Further details about the Climate Change Levy will be disclosed after the next governmental consultation.

In the meantime, to find out more about environmental taxes, reliefs and schemes for businesses visit https://www.gov.uk/green-taxes-and-reliefs.


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Oct
20
What is PAS 2050?
Posted by Katie Stockford on 20 October 2015 10:10 AM

PAS (Publicly Available Specification) 2050 is a specification for assessing product life cycle Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, prepared by British Standards Institution (BSI) and co-sponsored by the Carbon Trust and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

The original PAS 2050 standard, published in 2008, was the first of its kind. PAS 2050:2008 was written to create a reliable way of assessing the GHG emissions associated with the full life cycle of goods and services, from sourcing raw materials, through manufacture and distribution, to use and disposal. 

The new revised standard builds on its original methodology, while taking into account advances in knowledge and understanding in the field as well as the experiences gained through the use of PAS 2050:2008. According to the BSI, it also clarifies any ambiguities and is more in line with other international footprinting methods, particularly the GHG Protocol Product Life Cycle Accounting and Reporting Standard (WRI/WBCSD).

The assessment method has been tested by companies across a diverse range of product types, covering a wide range of sectors including:

  • Goods and services
  • Manufacturers, retailers and traders
  • Business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C)
  • UK and international supply chains

PAS 2050 is intended to benefit organizations, businesses and other stakeholders by providing a clear and consistent method for the assessment of the life cycle GHG emissions associated with goods and services.

Benefits for companies include:

  • Internal assessment of product life cycle GHG emissions
  • Evaluation of alternative product configurations, operational and sourcing options, etc. on the basis of their impact on product GHG emissions
  • A benchmark for measuring and communicating emission reductions
  • Support for comparison of product GHG emissions using a common, recognised and standardised approach
  • Support for corporate responsibility

Benefits for consumers include:

  • Confidence that the life cycle GHG emissions being reported for products are based on a standardised, robust method
  • Greater understanding of how their purchasing decisions impact GHG emissions

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Sep
24
Sustainability Accounting Standards Board
Posted by Alicia Midgley on 24 September 2015 04:12 PM

What is SASB?

The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board is a US – based non-profit organisation set up in 2011. It is modelled on the Financial Accounting Standards Board and works within the current system of financial regulation. SASB establishes sustainability standards for the disclosure of environmental, social and governance impacts by companies trading in the US, with the mission of allowing companies and investors to make informed decisions to improve sustainability outcomes. The board’s key themes are climate change, product alignment and safety, access and affordability of services, financing and responsible lending and resource intensity and scarcity.

SASB was founded in response to a growing range of non-financial risks and opportunities affecting companies, otherwise known as sustainability issues. These issues vary by industry and so SASB works at industry level to help companies measure, manage and disclose data. Currently SASB is improving sustainability accounting standards for 80 industries in 10 sectors.

Frameworks

SASB’s framework sets out the basic concepts behind their standards and provides guidance to investors on the use of sustainability information. Their key characteristics of sustainability accounting are sustainability, materiality, industry focus, decision-usefulness and cost-benefit analysis.

SASB’s standards are made up of disclosure guidance and accounting standards on sustainability topics. The disclosure guidance works at industry level to identify topics which may be material to companies within that industry. SASB assess the materiality of sustainability issues for companies across a range of industries using evidence-based determination, looking at interest and economic impact. This ensures that companies are focusing on sustainability issues which are relevant to them.

SASB periodically updates its standards and invites public input on material sustainability issues and topics for its research agenda. The standards are used for guidance only as it is ultimately the individual company’s responsibility to decide which information is material, so there are no set dates on which guidelines are changed.

For more information including viewing the standards in detail, please visit the SASB website at http://www.sasb.org


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Sep
17
CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme
Posted by Alicia Midgley on 17 September 2015 05:19 PM

The CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme is a UK based scheme. It is administered by the Environment Agency in the England, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency in Scotland, Natural Resources Wales in Wales and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency in Ireland.

The aim of the CRC scheme is to cut CO2 emissions in public and private sector organisations who are high energy users. The energy covered under climate change agreements and the EU Emissions Trading System is not included.

The company meets the criteria to qualify if:

  • It has at least one settled half hourly electricity meter (sHHM)
  • It uses 6000 MWh or more of qualifying electricity supplied through sHHM’s

The above criteria are assessed at a group level so the entire UK organisational structure must be identified and whether the company is part of a group of companies. It is also mandatory for all UK government departments and devolved administrations; this is where the administrative, executive or legislation authority has been transferred to new institutions operating within a defined part of the UK, to register.

If registered, then the company must do the following:

  • Collate information about its energy supplies
  • Submit a report about its energy supplies
  • Buy and surrender allowances equal to the CO2 emissions that it has generated
  • Keep the Environment Agency updated about changes that could affect its CRC registration
  • Keep records about the companies energy supplies and organisation in an evidence pack

The CRC operates in phases, there have been two. They ran from:

  • Phase 1 - 1st April 2010 – 31st March 2014
  • Phase 2 - 1st April 2014 – 31st March 2019

In order to register for a phase, the company must do so in the qualification year that runs before the phase commencement date. So for phase 2, the company will have had to register within the dates 1st April 2012 and 31st March 2013. Only companies that qualify during the phase qualification years have to register. If the situation changes after the qualification year has ended which means that the company then fits the criteria or a new company is started that meets the criteria then they do not have to register until the next phase. 

If you register late, you could receive a fine of £5000 plus a daily fine of £500 for each working day until you register. The maximum fine that a company can be changed is £40,000 which equates to 80 days.

The cost of registering is £950 plus an annual subsistence fee of £1290.

For further information, please visit the following website https://www.gov.uk/crc-energy-efficiency-scheme-qualification-and-registration.


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Jul
20
Selecting CSR Software Webinar
Posted by DataWise Account on 20 July 2015 10:33 AM

Understanding how to select and implement sustainability software it is a complex task. As you go through the process you'll need expertise in data analysis, sustainability strategy and software implementation. This joint webinar from SustainIt and cr360 is designed to help. Over the course of an hour, we'll cover:

  • Sustainability software landscape
  • Pre-selection process – what are the milestones a company needs
  • Selection process – how do you align requirements and culture to ensure a long term fit
  • Implementation challenges 
  • Configuration challenges and best practices 
  • Overview of the cr360 system

You can register for the event here

 


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