Guidance on reporting and calculating emissions from work-related travel
Establish reporting boundaries
This is about deciding which parts of the business emissions will be calculated from. It is also about deciding which types of travel (business or commuter) and the modes of travel (for e.g. air, rail, car or bus travel) will be included in the carbon footprint.
Reporting to emission scopes
Emission scopes are a set of common standards for emission reporting. There are three emission scopes.
Scope 1: Direct emissions
These are generated on-site or from assets belonging to the business. Scope 1 emissions include vehicles that your business owns.
Scope 2: Indirect emissions
These are not generated on site but are consumed by the business. They mainly relate to electricity and gas consumption.
Scope 3: Indirect emissions
These are generated from all other sources including business and commuter travel emissions.
Sourcing travel data
Three types of information are required to calculate a carbon footprint. These are:
The mode of travel used (for example whether it is a car, a train or a plane)
The distance travelled (either in kilometres or miles)
A carbon metric (a conversion factor used to calculate emissions)
Information on work-related travel can be sourced from many different places. How travel and data is managed in your business will influence the scope and quality of the data sets.
Applying conversion factors
There are lots of conversion factors (or carbon metrics) to choose from. When deciding which one to use it is important to consider;
How it has been calculated. Is methodology and data source robust?
Will it support an individual or business to improve their understanding and knowledge of the carbon impact of their travel and transport?
Will it assist reporting processes and inform the development of a carbon footprinting or carbon management programme?
One of the most commonly used sets of conversion factors is the ‘Guidelines to Defra/DECC’s GHG [Green House Gas] Conversion Factors for Company Reporting’. This is updated annually by the Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). We advise the use of these metrics for businesses reporting their UK emissions. Further details can be found at Defra.
Measuring emissions from business travel: where to find the information
Procurement, finance and human resources will be able to advise on what data is available and where it can be found. Sources of data can generally be broken down into two distinct areas
Internal Management Information: The finance system, asset register, expenses system and travel booking forms.
Supplier Management Information: A travel supplier may have been appointed to manage business travel. For example, a Travel Management Company (TMC) may be contracted to book rail and air tickets, or a leasing company may provide vehicles. Suppliers will be able to provide vast amounts of data on travel costs and travel patterns. They will also have information on distance travelled and carbon emissions.
Measuring emissions from commuter travel: where to find the information
Information on commuter travel can be gathered using a paper based or online travel survey. Alternatively, Human Resources may be able to provide information on where employees live and assumptions can be made on likely travel choices.
What if there are gaps?
If there are gaps in the data, work with colleagues and suppliers to develop improved data systems. You can also distribute staff surveys.