As businesses fight to ensure that any short-term recovery from the first wave of COVID are sustained, and as the UK officially enters a second wave and uncertainty abounds about the severity of any further restrictions, it would be easy for organisations to overlook compliance issues – such as the SECR requirements.
However, this is an issue that isn’t going away. As with all things compliance-related, getting ahead of this as early as possible will smooth the compliance cycle and avoid unnecessary headaches down the line.
A reminder – what is SECR?
The Streamlined Energy & Carbon Reporting (SECR) legislation was introduced in April 2019 as a replacement to the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) scheme. This was removed essentially due to calls from industry for a less onerous, time consuming and complex way of reporting on energy and carbon emissions. As a result, whilst being slightly more flexible, SECR puts more responsibility on business and industry to define how they measure and report their GHG emissions.
SECR, implemented through the Companies (Directors’ Report) and Limited Liability Partnerships (Energy and Carbon Reporting) Regulations 2018, builds on requirements under the Companies Act 2006 to bring in additional disclosure requirements for quoted companies, and new requirements for large unquoted companies and LLPs to disclose their annual energy usage and GHG emissions across their operations.
The requirements for businesses captured by the legislation are mandatory, and cover financial years starting on or after 1 April 2019. And, whilst aimed being at quoted and large unquoted companies / LLPs, businesses may fall in the scope of SECR even if undertaking public or not-for-profit activities.
As a minimum, in-scope organisations are obliged to report their UK energy use and associated GHG emissions related to gas, electricity and transport fuel, as well as an intensity ratio and information relating to actions taken to improve energy efficiency, through their annual reports. Quoted companies of all sizes continue to be required to report their global GHG emissions.
What is the purpose of SECR?
As stated by the Government, the new mandatory requirements were introduced to replace the CRC, with the intention to:
- Increase awareness of energy costs within large and quoted organisations, including enhanced visibility to key decision makers.
- Create a more level playing field among large organisations in terms of energy and emissions reporting.
- Ensure administrative burdens associated with energy and emissions reporting are proportionate and broadly aligned to the existing energy reporting requirements and the business reporting framework.
- Provide organisations in scope with the right data to inform the adoption of energy efficiency measures and opportunities to reduce their impact on climate change,
- Provide greater transparency for investors and other stakeholders, on business energy efficiency and low-carbon readiness.
When are the deadlines?
Whilst quoted companies have been required to make carbon disclosures in the Directors’ Report since September 2013, the new requirements apply to reports for financial years starting on or after 1 April 2019.
- If your usual reporting year runs 1 April to 31 March, then the first financial year you needed to report for SECR was FY 1 April 2019 – 31 March 2020.
- If your usual reporting year runs 1 January to 31 December annually, then the first financial year you’ll need to report for SECR is FY 1 January 2020 – 31 December 2020.
How can ETS Help?
With all the disruption and uncertainty occurring at the minute, issues such as SECR will understandably be slightly down the priorities list for many businesses. However, as outlined above, these requirements are mandatory and are not going away – so action will need to be taken to ensure compliance.
ETS has a wealth of experience in assisting businesses from all sectors in meeting their energy and carbon reporting obligations across a range of compliance issues – including SECR. We can take the burden and headache away from you, help you gather all the right data, and ensure your business reports in a compliant and timely manner.
To discuss further how we can assist your business, our expert team are always here to help; you can contact us by calling 0117 205 0542 or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.