Simplification of the Defra conversion factors will require organisations (both experienced and new to reporting) to fully appreciate how recent changes affect their UK greenhouse gas reporting. Some organisations using the Defra conversion factors will need to rebaseline their data to align with the new approach; others will find new simpler ways to get to the factors they need. There will undoubtedly be some short term pain, but longer term the gains will be significant as the impact of the simplification is felt.
Defra’s brief to sustainability consultancy Carbon Smart has been clear; simplification and improved usability of all aspects of the conversion factors is essential. After three rounds of stakeholder engagement with cross sector organisations of all sizes and levels of reporting experience, the final revisions to content, guidance and navigation are now complete.
So what are the headline changes?
- New online navigation system with downloadable excel outputs users can tailor
- Simplification through location of guidance annexes (e.g. CHP, refrigeration) in Defra’s newly revised environmental reporting guidelines
- Simplification of the convention to recalculate for updated factors
- Reduced reporting ambiguity (e.g. electricity factors will be displayed as a 1 year grid average only)
- Alignment of listings more closely with WRI Scope 3 protocol
- Consolidation of complex information regarding the determination of the factors to the methodology paper
Julie Emmings, Senior Consultant at Carbon Smart said: “across the board the stakeholders we engaged with were ambitious in their future needs for the conversion factor tools; with strong emphasis on making the future resources simpler to understand, quicker to use and ultimately allowing them to get on with taking action”.
“This is a timely review of the conversion factor resources, which have organically grown over the last few years and become quite difficult to navigate. With the new mandatory greenhouse gas reporting regulation bringing through hundreds of new reporting organisations we really needed to bring a fresh new approach,” she added.
Carbon Smart have specifically focussed on improving the user-friendliness of the conversion factor tools and provided simple, jargon-free guidance to assist different user groups through the transition to the new format. The ultimate aim has been to make conversion factor selection the least time consuming part of the reporting journey. Feedback from users who have trialled the new online solution has been very positive.
The new conversion factors resources were launched on 12th June and can be found at: www.ukconversionfactorscarbonsmart.co.uk.