Platform Methodology FAQs

Read below to learn more about the methodology behind Climate Essentials!

Q. How are homeworking related emissions calculated using Climate Essentials? 

The 'Working From Home' element was developed using the EcoAct Homeworking Emissions Framework.

Q. What frameworks do we use for showcasing results?

We use the Greenhouse Gas Protocol which divides emissions in Scope 1, 2, and 3.

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For homeworking emissions, we use the EcoAct Whitepaper. An estimated 47% of UK employees - 14 million people - were reported to be working from home in April 2021, and it is vital that corporations are accounting for the shifting boundaries of their operational emissions. This framework was published by Atos, Lloyds, and NatWest Group, using data from CIBSE (Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers) and OFGEM.

For international emissions, we use carbon data published by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), and the Association of Issuing Bodies (AIB).

Q. Are Scope 3 estimates accurate?

We used consumption-based carbon factors for products and services, and they’re based on company expenditure. This allows companies, especially SMEs, to easily estimate an order of magnitude of their Scope 3 emissions based on expenditures. It is estimated that Scope 3 emissions from products and services can be 11 times higher than their direct emissions (Scope 1 and 2, for which they’re responsible for). This methodology gives organisations a way of knowing the impact of their purchase decisions.

The methodology is also seen as a stepping stone to fully understanding your Scope 3 as it relies on averages. Climate Essentials is also able to provide you with an in depth view of your suppliers emissions to get an accurate visualisation of your Scope 3 and to help inform decisions about your procurement process. To find out more about this service, please click here. 

Q. Where do the carbon savings numbers come from?

The reduction plan estimates how many KgCO2e you would reducing if you completed a specific action, and it demonstrates what this represents as a total of your emissions. These calculations are based on published case studies, reports, and a variety of sources that provide information on how much an organisation can reduce their carbon emissions by implementing climate mitigation strategies. Other recommendations can be easily derived from the same carbon factors published by BEIS. For example, if a user wanted to switch to an electric car, we calculate the carbon reduction impact by factoring in the carbon intensity of fossil-fuel cars versus electric cars.

If the organisation has already quantified the potential carbon savings, they can also easily input that number into Climate Essentials. 

Q. Where do you get your data from (which converts our spending into carbon emissions)?

We use the yearly published carbon factors by the UK government (BEIS). We also used consumption-based emissions produced by the University of Leeds (database from 1998 until 2018) for some scope 3 emissions and food emissions and we update them using linear regression.

For energy providers, we update this list.

When needed, we use appropriate conversion units. For example, the carbon emission factor for underground commuting is in kg of CO2 / We can use the average underground speed (km/hr) and average commuting distance (km) to provide users with different ways of calculating their commute emissions, such as through hours spent on the underground, or total employees using the tube.

Q. How often do we update the data?

Every year a new report from the government is released - we then update the results.

Q. What data would we need to gather in order to use your calculator?

You will be provided with a checklist for the data points which can be input into Climate Essentials when you start your onboarding process. 

This will contain mostly expenditure data, like electricity and gas bills, water bills, type of cars you own (if any) and then expenditure on products and services. You can also engage with your employees to calculate their commuting and working from home emissions.

Q. How do you benchmark your organisation?

Currently, on Climate Essentials we benchmark companies against businesses in the same sector using our platform. As we increase the number of users on Climate Essentials, we will benchmark more accurately: size, location, revenue, etc.

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