New 2017 greenhouse gas reporting emission factors

Last month the 2017 Defra greenhouse gas reporting conversion factors were released. There are several new emission factors added and some significant changes to the methodologies used to determine existing factors.

New 2017 greenhouse gas reporting emission factors

This is critical for companies that use these factors to calculate emissions. The rise and fall of emission factors can have a significant impact on your footprint and therefore your targets.

What’s changed and what does it mean for you?

  1. Electric vehicles – Following on from the UK Government announcement that the sale of fossil fuel vehicles will be banned from 2040, a range of emission factors for electric vehicles are available. The factors are intended to be used where the electricity usage hasn’t already been captured in Scope 1 or 2. Separate emission factors have been devised for plug in hybrid and battery hybrid vehicles so it’s important to know the type of vehicle carrying out calculations.
  2. Hotel Overnight stays – UK and overseas factors are included.
  1. Well to Tank (WTT) Data Source Change – WTT emissions are those associated with the extraction, refining and transportation of raw fuel prior to combustion by an organisation. WTT emission factors have, in most cases, increased significantly compared compared with 2016 because the source of data used in estimations has changed to a newer more accurate source (excluding coal and naphtha). For example, the natural gas WTT factor has increased 11% and diesel and petrol factors increased 13% compared with last year. The exception to this is bioblend fuels because WTT factors have decreased. This update is important for companies that have a target which includes Scope 3 emissions.
  1. Changes to road transport factors (biofuel blend) – In recent years the market share of biofuel has increased in the UK. Previously vehicle emission methodologies have been based on fossil fuels. The methodology has been updated this year to account for the average blends at public refueling stations. Compared with 2016, the diesel and petrol bioblend factors have decreased 14% and 6% respectively.
  1. Methodology improvements to biogas and landfill gas –The outside of scope factors for biogas, landfill gas and the WTT biogas factor have been updated due to a more robust data source and improved methodology. This means that the emission factor for landfill gas and biogas have decreased 59% and 35% respectively.

Other points of interest

There are also several updates to existing emission factors which have occurred that could be important for companies:

  • Electricity emission factor has decreased 15% compared with 2016 due to a decrease in coal and increase in renewable energy within the UK energy mix.
  • The emission factor for natural gas has increased 5%.
  • Emissions per kilometre on the London Underground have decreased 17%.
  • Landfilled waste emissions are now calculated using a new methodology that is not comparable with previous years.

If you’d like to find out more about the changes and the potential impact on your business, you can get in touch.


About EcoAct

At EcoAct we are driven by a shared purpose to make a difference. To help businesses to implement positive change in response to climate and carbon challenges, whilst also driving commercial performance.
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