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Through the ‘Making Policy Clear’ Series, Acclaro Advisory will inform clients of policy and regulatory changes around energy, environmental and social issues; bringing clarity to governance, compliance and targets so you can get on with regular business activities. We dismantle the complexities of new and amended legislation and standards in a way that will help you meet your requirements today and be ready for new ones tomorrow.

This first series is focused on the energy and carbon regulatory schemes which impact business energy cost and reporting responsibilities. Our team has pulled together key information and insight on what is expected to occur and how organisations can prepare. Part one of this series will focus on the Streamline Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR).

We would be happy to provide a detailed breakdown on the full extent of the impact to your organisation, steps to comply and where Acclaro’s expertise can support. Email us now at info@acclaro-advisory.com to arrange a consultation.

Streamline Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR)

What is SECR?

The Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR) framework will be in effect from April 2019 as part of a new policy landscape. The framework has been designed to streamline and reduce complexity in the carbon and energy reporting regimes while broadening the scope for reporting compliance. This is set to impact approximately 11,900 companies (PCL) and 230 Limited Liability Partnerships, up from the approximately 1,200 required to report carbon emissions.

SECR will require large companies to report their annual energy consumption and carbon emissions in Annual Director Reports alongside financial data.  The new framework comes ahead of the closure of the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Energy Efficiency Scheme, set for the end of July 2019. The Climate Change Levy (CCL) and CRC are two energy consumption taxes on large energy-intensive organisations currently levied to encourage the businesses to consume energy more efficiently. The end of CRC includes an increase on the Climate Change Levy (CCL) rates as a re-balance measure to recover the loss of the CRC energy taxation revenue.

At Acclaro, we feel that the new requirements can have a significant impact on many organisations and can ultimately increase their administrative burden. This can be said mainly for the many organisations which did not participate in similar schemes but are now captured in the new compliance scope. Moreover, the accompanying changes to the energy tax regime will have a significant impact on energy costs. On the other hand, increased energy cost and increased transparency for investors and other stakeholders will encourage more companies to be accountable and responsive to the need for effective energy management and carbon reduction to meet UK climate change targets.

Who needs to Comply?

The compliance structure of SECR is very similar to the compliance criteria of ESOS. The need to comply with the new framework will be based primarily on financial or employee thresholds.

An organisation falling near to these thresholds will need to clearly explain why they do or don’t need to comply with the regulations. They will also need to maintain an evidence pack which could be subject to audit by the Environment Agency. Additional specific exemption conditions apply under limitations of data and prejudicial disclosure concerns; only expected in exceptional circumstances.

How will SECR Affect Me?

There are a series of minimum reporting requirements that must be met. For example:

1. If you are already reporting under mandatory Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reporting there is little change except for the inclusion of annual energy use and energy efficiency action in your company annual reports.
2. If you are reporting and purchasing credits in the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC EES). The new SECR regulation will replace the CRC reporting framework with much of the direct costs of CRC shifted to the increase on Climate Change Levy¹.
3. If you comply with ESOS. It’s likely that most organisations who have had to comply with the Energy Saving Opportunities Scheme (ESOS) will be required to report additional information under the new scheme. This will introduce annual public disclosure of energy use, energy efficiency action and scope 1 & 2 carbon emissions.
4. If you don’t fall into either of the current reporting schemes. It is likely that some organisations, such as public authorities and charities, normally exempt from mandatory energy and carbon reporting requirements, will fall into the broadened scope of this new framework. It is critical for such organisations to act now in preparation for the 2019 reporting requirements.

¹More on the impacts of increased CCL rates can be found in part two of our Making Policy Clear – Energy and Carbon Series here.

How Do I Comply?

Compliance varies by organisation and its current reporting regime. Reporting will be based on the company’s annual reporting cycle and is required through the company Annual Reports. Typically, Director Annual Reports must include:

1. Annual UK energy use covering all UK sites, including business travel.

2. Annual scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions, including an intensity metric and methodology. Scope 3 emissions can be reported voluntarily.

3. An overview of annual energy efficiency action taken in the financial year. Companies can voluntarily disclose ESOS action as a part of this report.

4. Where practical, annual global energy use and greenhouse gas emissions (if applicable).

How Acclaro Can Help?

We expect to see more details on the framework and updated to legislation in the coming months, with an impact to reporting in 2019. As organisations portfolios, data collection, emissions methodologies and reporting procedures vary significantly, it is important to plan before the roll out of the framework occurs.

The Acclaro team has a breadth of experience in ESOS, GHG and sustainability assessments with a variety of clients from IT technology companies to Opera theatres and public bodies. Our clear structured approach supports compliance regimes and we help to validate and back up your results, so you have a solid sounding board for your sustainability reporting. Our team has assisted many companies to adapt for and address responsibilities that sit within energy efficiency. Our clients have benefited from investor interest, improved recruitment and client retention. We can help you turn compliance risk into opportunity.

We are setting up discussions with a range of clients to further understand how SECR will impact their organisation.

If you are keen to learn more, please contact us. Our team can create a detailed action plan utilising your current reporting regime to help streamline your transition into this new framework.

Today we launch the Acclaro Energy Programme, and with it comes a series of free guidance that opens up the world of energy management and policy. Today we begin with a jargon busting look at UK energy and carbon compliance.

The energy and carbon industry is so full of reporting acronyms, that sometimes it’s hard to keep up.  July (2018) brought yet another to the doors of the UK corporate world; SECR – Streamlined Energy Carbon Reporting. For the many businesses currently navigating the energy and carbon regulatory regimes, adding another to the mix should not be too difficult to handle. In many instances, reporting requirements utilise the same energy data in a variety of ways to translate into business energy and carbon. But, as new regulations are added, the harder the names roll off the tongue.

Let’s talk a bit about what currently exists.

CCL
Climate Change Levy is first of the two energy taxes targeted towards energy-intensive organisations. Introduced in 2001, the tax is applied to electricity and gas bills for all businesses and public sector organisations that pay the standard rate of VAT. Exempt from CCL are businesses using less than 1,000kWh electricity and less than 4,397kWh gas, per month. No reporting is required by business energy users. CCL seems to be here for the long haul.

MGHG
Mandatory greenhouse gas reporting (MGHG reporting), introduced in 2013, requires all UK quoted companies to publicly report their greenhouse gas emissions on all forms of energy used annually. At present this policy only affects around 1200 companies. The main focus is on transparency of carbon data for carbon management and reduction.

CRC
The Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme, this one doesn’t exactly roll of the tongue, but luckily it is also known as the CRC scheme. CRC is second of the two energy taxes targeted towards large energy-intensive organisations. This tax and reporting mechanism, introduced in 2016, is levied to encourage eligible businesses and public sector organisations to consume energy more efficiently. Over 5000 undertakings report annually to the Environment Agency. The reports cover UK energy use and the purchase of allowances to cover their carbon emissions. The scheme phases cover emissions generated over UK financial year; March 2019 will mark the last phase – the end of the CRC scheme.

ESOS
Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) introduced in 2014; another which seems to be here to stay, is a mandatory reporting regulation that requires non-SME undertakings to audit their energy use. The key word in this scheme is opportunity; the aim is to identify opportunity to save energy and potentially cut related energy costs. However, whilst this scheme requires an element of reporting, the minimal nature of the reporting does not include public disclosure. In fact, unless formally audited, the compliance reports are not reviewed by the regulator, Environment Agency.

SECR
Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting framework, as the name suggests is aimed to simplify and bring together elements of the above reporting schemes into one clean process. This framework will be in play from April 2019 with a wider compliance qualification. Similar to MGHG reporting, it will be implemented through disclosure in annual directors reports with Companies House. SECR will replace CRC reporting, with a combination of MGHG and ESOS reporting elements. These changes will add value to robust reporting mechanisms and the opportunity to quantify ESOS outputs with energy efficiency action and carbon management into one streamlined approach.  It is estimated that the number of companies which will be required to comply with SECR will change from the 1,200 covered in MGHG to 11,900. This includes all quoted and large unquoted companies with some exceptions. In other words, many companies complying with ESOS will be scooped up into the SECR framework.

Our team of energy and sustainability experts have extensive experience in navigating the policy landscape and delivering reporting that meets regulatory requirements and business objectives. To find out more about the above reporting mechanisms and how they may affect your business, please get in touch.

The Acclaro Energy Programme helps organisations to adapt for and address the very visible responsibilities that sit within energy efficiency. We’d be happy to assist you in taking action whether mandatory or voluntary to manage risk, reduce cost or enhance business reputation.