Net Zero Week, Day 4: How to verify your data

With any project, the verification of data is critical to understanding the progress made or creating that starting point detailing benchmarks, baselines, KPI’s, and tracking performance as you gain momentum. Net Zero is no different. 

We must ensure that the data we input is accurate otherwise the data will become meaningless and have no value.   

Verification will allow you to visually see a change, show improvement and that you have strengthened your commitment to energy efficiency.  There are a number of ways that you can verify the data which will be explained in the following sections.  

Data Collection 

For large organisations familiar with environmental obligations such as ESOS and SECR, data collection is not new. For small to medium or even micro businesses that have not had to submit Green House Gas data in the past, this process of collecting your scope 1, 2 & 3 emissions can seem complicated. 

Net Zero categorises the data into scopes 1, 2 & 3 being your direct and indirect emissions. This incudes your utility consumption, travel, and emissions delivered via your supply chain. The latter can often be the toughest to understand and collect.  

The collection of data will be managed through how you have defined Net Zero within your organisation. For example, the Net Zero strategy you have chosen may not include your supply chain and may focus on scopes 1 & 2. Although this may sound vague and at your discretion as to how much or how little you wish to contribute, Net Zero is a global movement with any participation applauded. Do your best to begin with until your more familiar with the process, have more resource and finance available to fully commit.  

Data often starts as a measurement.  Measurements that we are familiar with include litres, cubic feet, cubic meters, m2, kWh & Mwh, although for Net Zero the measurement is often referred to as carbon emissions. 

Yes, carbon emissions is important. If Net Zero relates to all Green House Gas emissions then the list of gases suddenly increases.  Hence why achieving Net Zero across all emission factors and scopes will be challenging.  

As a basic requirement, start to think about your energy emissions from grid supplied electricity and gas followed by emissions from travel including company vehicles and personally owned vehicles where an employee claims for mileage.  Once you have scope 1 & 2 accurately measured, focus on scope 3, in line with your definition created at the outset. 

Data Conversion 

Once you have your data, the first steps would be to convert your data to Co2e.   

There are many conversion factors available, although DB Group would recommend the department for business, energy, and industrial strategy as a good starting point.  

Once the data has been verified and converted to carbon the next steps to consider are: 

  • How do we track performance?  
  • What do we benchmark our data against? 
  • Where do we start to focus on reductions? 
  • What impact do our Green Contracts have on our CO2e 
  • What areas require strengthening? 
  • How do we measure against our business KPI’s such as your annual turnover, number of employees, per m2 etc.   

Reporting Styles 

There are may ways that you can verify your data. From a more traditional manual process via spreadsheets or on a bespoke carbon platform designed to capture your carbon data and automate the process.  

If we think about the additional steps to consider in the previous section, a spreadsheet may start to look busy and complex.   

DB Group have partnered with CBN Expert, a solutions partner who have designed a user-friendly platform, set up with the Business Energy & industrial Strategy conversion factors, built in metrics ready to be set up and prompts as to where you should look to focus on reductions. 

The platform allows you to enter scope 1 and 2 data, scope 3 being released in the summer of 21.    Additionally to data entry, the platform helps you to set a benchmark year, 2019 for example and will help to show you progress over the long term, and reward you over the short term.  

The platform recognises your achievements by issuing you with a standard. This highlights where you started and how you progressed through an annual certification program.  On completion of data upload, your organisation will be provided with a certificate and badge that can used for website and future communications. 

Lastly, through the platform you can pledge to the UNCC Race to Zero, the global movement for Net Zero.  By signing up for Race to Zero, it highlights a further commitment helping to reach a wider community and setting targets in line with likeminded companies across the globe.  

Summary 

Verification doesn’t need to be a difficult task. Verification should help you to understand your successes and challenges, praise colleagues and senior teams for embracing change. This helps create a community and global movement helping our planet to reduce the emissions we release into the atmosphere.

Better yet, There are low-cost solutions. These can be set up to record and reward you for taking steps towards your decarbonised future.  

At DB Group we want to simplify the process as much as possible. This allows for engagement without any anxiety or uncertainty towards how will achieve Net Zero. Over time may lead to less of a commitment through lack of knowledge or understanding.   

Through sharing our experiences, knowledge and building a community, we aim to support anyone looking to start Net Zero, or support those who have started and looking for reassurance or additional guidance to help them achieve what they have defined for their organisation.  

Further Reading:

Scotland’s Environment and Economy Leaders’ Group – Tackling the climate emergency and sharing our stories – gov.scot (www.gov.scot)

Net Zero Carbon Verification – Net Zero Carbon Guide