Large UK companies required to report energy use and CO2 emissions

The new rules will come into effect from April next year

By Priyanka Shrestha

Large businesses in the UK will be obliged to report their energy use, carbon emissions and energy efficiency measures in their annual reports from April next year.

It is part of the government’s reform package that aims to reduce administrative burden and “streamline” energy and carbon reporting as well as raise awareness of energy efficiency and reduce bills and carbon.

Its goal is to enable businesses and industry to improve energy efficiency by at least 20% by 2030.

The previous CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme will be scrapped and replaced with the new Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SERC) framework.

It will apply to all quoted companies – i.e. whose shares are listed on the stock exchange – and large UK incorporated unquoted firms – with at least 250 employees or annual turnover more than £36 million and an annual balance sheet totalling more than £18 million.

While large businesses are already measuring their energy use under the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS), there is no requirement for public disclosure.

Under SECR, however, there is an exemption for unquoted companies if it would not be practical to obtain some or all of the SECR information or if directors believe disclosing information would be “seriously prejudicial” to the interests of the company. The latter should only be used in “exceptional circumstances”.

In addition, organisations that use low levels of energy will not be required to disclose their SECR information if they can confirm they used 40,000kWh or less over the 12-month period.

The latest framework takes the total number of businesses reporting to around 11,900.

Electronic reporting will be voluntary for SECR information from 2019 although, the government intends to keep mandatory electronic reporting as an option for the longer term.