SECR: Your 2021 checklist

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Whether you’re complying with the Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR) scheme for the first time in 2021, or you submitted your first report in 2020, as a relatively new scheme it’s important to ensure that you have provided everything that’s required of your business. 

SECR is more straightforward than previous reporting schemes, but it still requires time and resources to ensure you’re compliant. We know that for many businesses, time and resources are in short supply in the current environment – so here’s a quick SECR checklist you can use to make sure your 2021 report is submitted successfully:

  1. Do you have a good grasp of your usage?

To achieve SECR compliance, you need to provide a detailed report of all your UK electricity, gas and transport energy usage, along with your associated emissions. It’s therefore crucial to ensure that you have data collection processes and tools in place for monitoring the energy consumption of your building and transport portfolio, so that you can record information to the level of detail required for SECR. 

If you have any pre-existing energy monitoring and measuring frameworks in place, for example if you’re working towards or have achieved ISO50001 accreditation, then you may find it much easier to collate the data you need for SECR as there’s likely to be some crossover in data requirements. If you don’t have any frameworks in place yet, then you should ensure that you set aside plenty of time and resources to collect the data you need and make sure that it’s as accurate as possible well in advance of your year end, and look to implement new or improved tools and processes as soon as possible.

  1. Have you taken enough action to improve your efficiency?

SECR requires your business to report on any actions you have taken to reduce emissions within your Directors’ Report, which means that a wide range of stakeholders can view your efficiency efforts and make their own judgements as to whether your company is truly committed to sustainability. Therefore, if you don’t take enough action, then your reputation could be at risk, as societal expectations around sustainability continue to rise.

However, if your financial year ends in April, then you still have time to take further action if needed. Many efficiency actions can be implemented quickly. If your gas and electricity contracts are coming to an end, switching to a renewable energy tariff is a quick and simple step you can take, or you could implement a behavioural change initiative for your employees. If you don’t have time to take action before your financial year ends, then you should already be planning the actions you will take in the next financial year to ensure that you have plenty to include in your next report. 

  1. How will you report your Scope 3 emissions? 

If you’re required to comply with SECR, then you must report on all of your gas, electricity and transport emissions that fall under Scope 1 (direct emissions from owned or controlled sources) and Scope 2 (indirect emissions from purchased energy). When it comes to Scope 3 emissions, however, it depends on your company’s attitude to going beyond compliance.

All businesses are required to include energy use and emissions from business travel in rental cars or employee-owned vehicles (where they pay for the fuel). BEIS ‘strongly encourage’ businesses to go further, and report the wider range of their Scope 3 emissions – i.e. any emissions that occur as a consequence of your organisation’s activities but aren’t owned or controlled by your organisation – but it’s not mandatory for any business to do so.  This may be particularly pertinent this year, as emissions from home working are classed as Scope 3 emissions, and if your organisation has switched to remote working due to Covid-19 then your Scope 3 emissions are likely to have risen this year.

You are under no obligation to report on these emissions, however, it is ‘strongly encouraged’. While it may be tempting to only report the emissions you’re obliged to, it’s worth considering that many businesses that are leading the way when it comes to net zero are already tackling their Scope 3 emissions – and by taking stock and reporting on your emissions in this area voluntarily, you are showing your commitment to following in their footsteps.  

  1. Are you using the best intensity ratio for your business?

Your SECR report must include at least one intensity ratio which expresses your annual emissions in relation to a quantifiable factor, to make it easy to compare your energy efficiency performance over time and with other organisations in your sector. You should use the intensity ratio that is most relevant to your organisation and will provide the most context to users of the information you’re providing.

Many companies choose to express their emissions in relation to their turnover, their production output, or the number of full-time employees they have. You can choose your organisation’s ratio, but you must ensure it is representative, and provides enough context to the reader. You may even wish to report more than one ratio, particularly if your organisation’s operations are varied.  

Complete support with SECR compliance

While this checklist contains some of the key areas you need to focus on, it’s by no means exhaustive – but if you need help to ensure your SECR report is fully compliant, our experts are on hand to ensure that you can continue to meet your compliance requirements with minimal hassle for your in-house team. 

We can provide end-to-end support with SECR compliance, from collating the data you need to submitting your report – to find out more, head to our SECR page