Using GHG data with confidence

6th June 2014

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  • Reporting ,
  • Conventional


William Faas

Nick Blyth, IEMA's policy and practice lead on climate change and natural environment looks at progress in guidance on reporting scope 2 GHG emissions

Defra and the World Resources Institute (WRI) have both been consulting on new guidance on how to account for scope 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from grid-distributed electricity. IEMA and its members have contributed to the debates.

The WRI has outlined how “dual reporting” might work under its GHG protocol. It proposes that organisations account for two values: one on a “location” basis, using average emission factors for the local grid; and the second on a “contractual” basis, which reflects the attributes of the electricity generation – this will amount to zero emissions in some cases where electricity is from a renewable source. The guidance recognises the different approaches taken by countries and could improve transparency. However, IEMA expressed concerns about the emphasis placed on contractual values, and suggested that organisations adopt a cautious approach when using it in target setting and external communications.

Defra, meanwhile, has looked at how dual reporting could work if applied to its updated GHG reporting guidance and the use of “gross” and “net” accounting lines. Defra’s consultation was held after feedback from companies interested in greater promotion of renewable energy. IEMA favours the “net gross” option of the two presented by Defra. The Institute also criticised the decision not to include the existing approach, which is widely used in the UK, as an option in future.

Final guidance is awaited, but it looks like there will be significant differences between the Defra and the WRI approach. In both processes, IEMA pushed for developments that will lead to credible GHG accounting systems that organisations can be confident in using. IEMA believes that in many regions the default position – grid-average based accounting – will continue to be applied, as it is often regarded as the fairest and most balanced method in accounting for scope 2 emissions from electricity.


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