About the Carbon Tracker

Find out how the process works, what you will need before you start, and what you will get out at the end.

Before you start

Why use the SBEN Carbon Tracker?

  • Demonstrate leadership and strengthen your green credentials in an increasingly environmentally conscious marketplace
  • Identify and quantify the areas of highest emissions in your businesses, which are often the areas of highest cost
  • Start your journey towards Net Zero carbon emissions
  • Track your progress, year on year
  • Carbon Tracker is a simple framework for setting robust emissions reductions targets for your business

Who is eligible to use the SBEN Carbon Tracker?

The SBEN Carbon Tracker is available FREE to use for any organisation based in Staffordshire. It is intended for all sizes of business and for public and voluntary sector organisations.

What is the outcome? What do I get at the end?

Live on-screen results

When you have completed the SBEN Carbon Tracker, you will see your results on screen, firstly showing your organisation’s total annual carbon emissions expressed as tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). This will also be broken down between energy, transport and water.

Your total annual carbon emissions will then be expressed in different ways, for example emissions per employee; emission by turnover; and also per m3 of floor space of your premises. These figures allow you to see carbon reductions even if your organisation is growing. The also allow comparison across different business sectors.

There will be a more detailed analysis of your emissions, for example, it will show you what proportion of your energy emissions are from gas and what proportion are from electricity.

Downloadable report

You can generate a downloadable report with your results, to share with your board, colleagues and customers to demonstrate your yearly progress.

Interactive Net Zero target setting tool

Using your total carbon emissions as a starting point, you can use the Interactive Net Zero target setting tool to choose a date by which you would like to achieve Net Zero e.g. by 2030, 2040 or 2050. The interactive tool will then tell you the annual carbon emission reductions required to meet this goal.

Pledge to Net Zero

If you wish to, you can join governments, businesses, cities, regions, and universities around the world to make your Net Zero pledge public, through the SME Climate Hub. Your pledge will be recognised as part of the United Nations Race to Zero campaign.

How long will the SBEN Carbon Tracker take to fill in?

The SBEN Carbon Tracker may take you around 1 hour to complete, if you have all your data ready. However, this depends on the complexity of your business. You may find the more time consuming part is collating your data in the first place, which could take anything from two or three hours to a whole day. However, once you know where to get the data you need, the next time you complete the Carbon Tracker should be much quicker.

What information do I need to complete the SBEN Carbon Tracker?

To complete the SBEN Carbon Tracker you will need information about how much gas, electricity and fuel consumption your company uses; your business travel data (both for company owned vehicles and staff travel for work purposes); information about how much water your company uses; and details of any electricity you generated and supplied to the National Grid. You can also enter information about your employee’s commute to work, but this is optional. The table below sets out in more detail what information you need and where you can find it.

Decide on your reporting period. This is ideally 12 months of consumption, which can be the previous calendar year or it can be your financial reporting year.

Decide what parts of your organisation and activities the carbon footprint will cover, so you get repeatable results each year. For an accurate carbon footprint, this should be all sites and all operations. Make a note of anything you exclude and why.

The quality of data you collect will be important to ensure that your measurement of your emissions is as accurate as possible.

Source of emissions What information you need Where to find this information
Electricity consumption Total Kilowatt hours (kWh) used over the selected reporting period Your electricity bills
Gas consumption Total Kilowatt hours (kWh) used over the selected reporting period
Fuel use (Fuel oil, diesel, petrol, gas oil, LPG) Total consumption of each fuel for the selected reporting period in Litres Supplier’s invoices
Biomass (wood pellets, chips, logs) Total Kilograms (kgs) of each biomass fuel type used in the selected reporting period.
(N.B each biomass fuel type will be entered separately)
Supplier’s invoices
Water supply and discharge Total water 1) supplied and 2) discharged in a year in cubic meters (m3) Your water bill
'Fleet' company travel, including owned/leased vehicles Vehicle type (e.g. car, van, motorbike)
Vehicle fuel type (petrol/diesel/ EV/hybrid),
Number plates (optional)
Mileage (N.B you can choose to enter mileage either per journey, per vehicle, or total miles travelled)
Employee vehicle log books/odometers
Employee 'grey fleet' and other travel Details of employee travel in their own vehicles or on public transport and distance in miles for car, train, coach, bus, flights etc. Employee travel claims/receipts
Electricity Generation Total Kilowatt hours (kWh) generated from Wind, Solar, Hydro etc . Kilowatt hours (kWh) exported to the grid Statements from your feed in tariff provider; energy meter at your site
If you don't have data available for this year you could begin collecting it for future years.

How it works

How does the Carbon Tracker calculate carbon emissions for my business?

When you enter your energy, fuel and water consumption data, or your vehicle mileage into the SBEN Carbon Tracker, the Tracker will then convert your data into carbon emissions expressed as tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). It does this by multiplying your data by the UK Government carbon conversion factors, available at Government conversion factors for company reporting of greenhouse gas emissions - GOV.UK

Where did you get your carbon figures from for the SBEN Carbon Tool and how reliable are they?

The SBEN Carbon Tracker uses the UK Government carbon conversion factors, which are updated each year and published on the gov.uk website here: Government conversion factors for company reporting of greenhouse gas emissions - GOV.UK.

The tool has been developed to include the reporting information required by the UK government Environmental Reporting Guidelines: Including streamlined energy and carbon reporting guidance

What is included/excluded in the SBEN Carbon Tracker calculations?

Carbon Tracker calculates your organisation’s carbon footprint including direct emissions from your fuel use and business processes (sometimes referred to as scope 1 emissions); indirect emissions from electricity use (scope 2 emissions); and also other indirect emissions, ranging from those more closely controlled by your organisation, such as staff travel in their own vehicles or on public transport for work purposes, to those emissions associated with your activities over which you have no control (for example the emissions associated with gas extraction and transport, or electricity transmissions and distribution). These more arms-length emissions are termed scope 3 emissions, but need to be included in your carbon footprint if you are to achieve Net Zero.

Current exclusions from the tool include raw materials and consumable goods; waste; steam; heavy goods vehicles; and coolants. We will look to be building these elements into the next update of the SBEN Carbon Tracker.

My SBEN Carbon Tracker results are given in CO2e. What does this mean?

Carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) is a unit used to compare the climatic effect of various greenhouse gases to that of carbon dioxide. It gives the mass (kg or tonnes) of CO2 that would have the same climatic effect. For example, nitrous oxide is 200 to 300 times more effective at trapping heat than CO2 and CO2e takes this difference into account.

Wider context

What is a carbon footprint?

A ‘carbon footprint’ measures the total greenhouse gas emissions caused directly and indirectly by a person, organisation, event or product. The main types of carbon footprint are:

  • Organisational: emissions from all the activities across the organisation, including energy use, industrial processes and business vehicles.
  • Product: emissions over the whole life of a product, from the extraction of raw materials and manufacturing right through to its use and final reuse, recycling or disposal.

The SBEN Carbon Tracker is an organisational carbon footprinting tool.

What are greenhouse gases emissions?

The Earth naturally has a layer of atmospheric gasses that retain the heat from the sun, like a greenhouse does, keeping the Earth a habitable temperature. Since the Industrial Revolution, human activity has substantially added to this layer of gasses, with concentrations now higher than humans have ever experienced. More heat from the sun is therefore retained and consequently global temperatures are increasing. The gasses that create this warming effect are known as greenhouse gasses and include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, halocarbons and water vapour.

What does Net Zero mean?

In simple terms, ‘net zero’ means our total emissions are equal to or less than the emissions we remove from the environment. This can be achieved by a combination of emission reduction and removal by offsetting. Emissions can be removed or absorbed by natural processes such as tree planting or by using technologies like carbon capture. https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/net-zero-emissions-a-new-uk-climate-change-target/ (2018) Net zero must cover Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions.

Is Net Zero different from Carbon Neutral?

The internationally recognised standard for carbon neutrality - PAS 2060 – states the definition of a carbon neutral footprint is a ‘condition in which during a specified period there has been no net increase in the global emission of greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere as a result of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the subject [the organisation or product] during the same period’. This is very similar to Net Zero, but carbon neutrality has a minimum requirement of covering Scope 1 and 2 emissions, with Scope 3 encouraged.

What is zero carbon?

‘Zero carbon’ means emitting absolutely no carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. However, there can be no such thing as zero emissions. There will always be a small percentage of residual emissions. The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) says residual emissions should be around 10% or less.

Technical terms and acronyms

Scopes

Governments and international standards such as the Greenhouse Gas Protocol classify emissions into three categories - Scopes 1, 2 and 3. These differ by the level of control your organisation has over the emissions being measured. Scope 1 are direct emissions from your fuel use and business processes – in other words the stuff you burn ‘in-house’, such as gas for heating or diesel for company vehicles. Scope 2 are emissions you don’t produce directly, but are emitted indirectly, for example at the power station, from energy you use ‘in-house’. For most organisations, electricity purchased from a utility provider will be the only source of Scope 2 emissions, but purchased steam, heat or cooling also fall within Scope 2. Scope 3 includes emissions from a wide range of sources where you have far less control. For example, emissions from staff travelling in their own vehicles for work purposes fall under Scope 3 (you cannot dictate whether staff choose to own high emitting 4x4s!). In many cases you have no control over the Scope 3 emissions associated with your activities, for example the emissions associated with the extraction and transport of the gas you use.

WTT

WTT stands for ‘well to tank’, which is the phrase used to describe the emissions associated with the extraction, production, processing and delivery of an energy source to your premises.

T&D

T&D stands for ‘transmission and distribution’ and refers to the emissions associated with getting your electricity from its site of generation, for example the power station, to your premises.