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Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are Net Zero Emissions?

Plato Net Zero emissions are de Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions that go up into the atmosphere. It is normally measured in kilograms of CO2 (KgCO2) or, if there are a lot, in tones of CO2 (tCO2). Other pollutants can be converted into CO2 to include them and then it is measured in tones of CO2 equivalent (tCo2e).

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What is a Net Zero Company?

A Net Zero company is any company that is in the process of reducing, or has reduced, its CO2 emissions following a recognised sustainability framework (such as Science Based Targets, United Nations Global Compact or B Corporation). Those companies will also be offsetting the emissions they can’t reduce.

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What are SECR Reporting Requirements?

SECR Reporting Requirements are all the emissions/energy usage you need to report. For SECR you must report gas, aircon refrigerant, fuels, electricity and mileage reclaims annually, and you have to compare the current year to the previous one. You need to collect the data from all your UK sites and assets. You must report your intensity (kgCo2/unit).

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How to achieve Net Zero Emissions?

To achieve Net Zero Emissions you need to 

  1. Decide which framework you are going to follow (SBTi, UNGC, BCorp, etc).
  2. Choose a timeline.
  3. Choose a software or platform to process your data and monitor it.,
  4. Put together a team.
  5. Get your carbon footprint.
  6. Set targets.
  7. Set projects over the timeline.
  8. Consider which offsetting projects you will join.
  9. Take action, start your projects.
  10. Communicate your achievements to your stakeholders.
  11. Review annually.

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Does Net Zero Exists?

Yes, Net Zero exists. Net Zero is the balance of a company’s carbon emissions and its offsetting projects. If it didn’t exist, companies’ emissions would keep increasing and the world would heat and heat more until we have really serious problems. Companies can normally reach Net Zero in 18 months.

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Why is Net Zero Important?

Net Zero is important because it is the only way to stop climate change. The Earth’s average temperature is increasing due to the amount of CO2 trapped in the atmosphere. The COP26 is aiming to stop global warming before it is irreversible and big changes happen.

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When is ESOS Phase 3?

ESOS Phase 3 deadline is the 5th of December 2023. However, it is important to remember that data collection for ESOS Phase 3 starts on the 1st of January 2022. You will need to collect data for the year 2022 and submit your report before the 5th of December 2023.

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Do I need to report SECR?

If your company meets, at least, 2/3 criteria for 2 years in a row, you have to comply with SECR. The criteria is a turnover of £36 million or more; a balance sheet gross assets of £18 million or more; and/or 250 or more staff members.

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Do I need to report subsidiary energy use for both ESOS and SECR?

You need to comply with ESOS as a group if any of your company’s entities qualifies for it. It also applies for subsidiaries, sister companies or associating entities. However, SECR needs to be reported entity by entity, so only the entities that qualify need to comply with it.

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Is a Net Zero Company legit?

A Net Zero company is legit if it has evidence to demonstrate how they have achieved it, and if they have followed a Net Zero recognised standard (i.e. Science Based Targets or the United Nations Global Compact). A Net Zero company needs an accreditation to be legit.

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What is the framework and process of submission for SECR?

The framework for data collection is set out in “Environmental Reporting Guidelines: Including streamlined energy and carbon reporting guidance March 2019. 

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How do you know if a Net Zero project will work?

It is difficult to know whether it will work or not. Normally, projects peter out because they get silent due to other projects within the company becoming a priority. Mistakes on the scope of the project or on the calculations and analysis, are the main things that make a Net Zero project fail.

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What is PPN 06/21?

The Procurement Policy Note 06/21 (PPN 06/21) sets out how to take account of suppliers’ Net Zero Carbon Reduction Plans in the procurement of major Government contracts. UK Government amended the Climate Change Act 2008 in 2019 by introducing a target of at least a 100% reduction in the net UK carbon account by 2050.

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Should You Include Scope 3 in ESOS Phase 3?

The simple answer is no, you don’t. There is only one factor from Scope 3 that you have to include in ESOS phase 3 – which is business travel. However, this is likely to change once the requirements have been reassessed. Our guess is that this will happen later on in the year 2022.

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What is the ESOS Phase 3 Timeline?

The qualification date for ESOS Phase 3 is 31st December 2022 and the deadline for compliance is 5 December 2023. This is the date you must have completed your report, appointed a lead assessor and written up your report. This must be filed with the Environmental Agency – if not done on time, you will most likely get fined!

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Has ESOS Delivered Any Benefits?

For many, ESOS is something they have to do, not something they want to do. Therefore, the majority of companies won’t even read their ESOS reports. However, things are changing with ESOS Phase 3. With the publicity surrounding COP26 and rising concerns regarding the environment, more companies are understanding the importance of the impact their business makes.

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Do I Need an ESOS Lead Assessor?

Unless you are an extremely large company with your own ESOS lead assessor in-house, you are not allowed to sign off on an ESOS report unless a lead assessor has reviewed it. Lead assessors can carry out and oversee  your energy audits and overall ESOS assessment.

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Can I get my Carbon Footprint Accredited?

Yes – you can get your carbon footprint accredited. This means that you must get third-party verification of your carbon footprint report by a certified company. This can actually be incredibly expensive! If you have the budget to do so, then this route is viable and can be quite useful.  

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How Can I Roll Out Net Zero Globally?

The first step is planning your Net Zero projects. Create a framework and split your territories up – slot your framework into place one by one, so it’s not done all at once and each individual stage is manageable. Your framework would generally include data collection, footprint calculations and reduction projects. 

 

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What is Carbon Footprint Rebaselining?

Rebaselining is applying the current set of methodology guidelines to previous data sets for comparison purposes.Every year, new standards are issued, and as these standards evolve, it is also important for more companies to consider rebaseining their data.  

 

 

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What is SECR?

Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR) is a piece of legislation that was introduced on 1 April 2019. If you are defined as a large company (over 250 staff for two years in a row) then you must do an analysis of your scope 1 & 2 emissions, as well as your carbon intensity.  

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How Do I Account For Waste in Net Zero?

The first thing that you can do is estimate. You then make a note of the assumptions, making it clear that your estimating, along with how you got to this result. You then plan to improve.

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How do You Account for Green Energy in Your Carbon Footprint?

Use parallel reporting – write down your carbon footprint with the energy declared as normal. Then, write another figure underneath stating what the figure would be reduced by when accounting green energy use. This will most likely change over time, with a standard stating what you do to offset one against the other, reporting only once rather than twice.

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What is ESOS Phase 3?

ESOS Phase 3 is the third phase of a mandatory scheme in the UK. The main requirement is that you are a large company (over 250 staff) for two years in a row. You must measure and report on your energy use and efficiency. If you don’t comply, you could face a fine from the Environmental Agency.

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How Does ESOS Phase 3 Work?

Unless you have your own dedicated lead assessor, by law you must appoint one. You must also define the scope that you need to report on. Then you must do a full energy audit. You will also need to come up with a list of energy saving opportunities. This will then need to be signed off by a senior director.

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Who Needs ESOS Phase 3?

Companies who meet the following criteria will need to comply:

  • Over 250 members of staff, or
  • Have a turnover of £44 million, or
  • An annual balance sheet of over £38 million, or
  • An overseas organisation with over 250 employees in the UK, or
  • Are part of a larger organisation, which falls into any of the above categories.

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When Did ESOS Start?

The Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) was introduced in July 2014. The scheme is a compulsory assessment of large UK business’ energy consumption and savings.

However, the beginnings of the scheme can be traced back to 1997 – watch the video to find out more!

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Do I Need ESOS & SECR?

The main difference between SECR and ESOS is what they actually measure; SECR focuses on a company’s emissions, whereas ESOS examines energy use.

Many companies might find that they qualify for both. The qualification criteria has many similarities, therefore most companies who have recently completed ESOS find that they also need to comply with SECR.

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What are the Benefits of ESOS?

ESOS enables you to quantify your energy use, highlighting the areas that you can improve on to reduce this usage, and therefore your carbon footprint. This will give you a more efficient organisation, allowing you to save money by implementing various recommendations that arise from your ESOS report.

Remember that complying with ESOS is necessary for many companies in order to avoid a huge fine sent your way by the Environmental Agency!

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What is a Carbon Policy?

A carbon policy is a statement which sets out what your company intends to do in order to be more environmentally responsible, meet legal requirements, and in-line with Government targets.

This demonstrates a commitment to managing your environmental impact and helps improve your reputation with clients and other stakeholders.

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When Does my Company Need to be Net Zero?

There is no fixed deadline for any company to achieve Net Zero. However, setting a target date for Net Zero emissions should be considered a very important step for every business. 

The UK Government has committed to achieve Net Zero by 2050. In order to reach this target, sectors, industries and organisations need to contribute to the commitment and work together to reduce carbon emissions.

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What is TCFD (Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures)?

The TCFD consists of a set of disclosures indicating a company’s preparedness for the inevitable impact of Climate Change. The government wants investors to know how said company’s governance, strategy, risk management around climate risk will be shaped and how they will measure this through metrics and targets.

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Is Scope 3 Reporting Important?

Scope 3 Emissions are emissions that occur in a company’s value chain but which are not the result of direct actions by the reporting organisation. In other words, all emissions not included in Scope 1 and Scope 2, are included in Scope 3.

 Scope 3 typically represents the greater part of a company’s total emissions which is why it is very important to consider reporting.

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How Can I Get a Carbon Policy?

A carbon policy is one of the most important document you’ll have in your Net Zero journey. It outlines what your company intends to do in order to be more environmentally responsible and meet legal requirements.

You can download our guide and template free from our website!

Carbon Policy Guide

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What Does an Energy Audit Involve?

Organisations that qualify for ESOS must carry out ESOS assessments every 4 years. These assessments are audits of the energy used by their buildings, industrial processes and transport to identify cost-effective energy saving measures.

An energy audit consists of an auditor visiting one of your sites and recording everything that uses energy. The energy audit report will also provide recommendations to help reduce energy consumption and save money.

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What is an ESOS reference period?

The reference period for your ESOS report should be a 12-month period that includes the qualification date of 31 December 2022 and ends before the deadline of 5 December 2023.

This means that the start of your reference period could be any date between 1 January and 6 December 2022.

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What is an ESOS Evidence Pack?

An ESOS Evidence Pack contains documents that provide evidence to prove that your company has complied with the ESOS regulations.

 It can also be used as an internal resource to help organise and store all ESOS information. This resource can therefore be available for colleagues who may wish to access the information.

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Our Services

A Carbon Reduction Plan (CRP) is a statement from a company identifying their current Carbon Footprint and committing to help the UK achieve Net Zero emissions by 2050.

Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR) is a piece of legislation from the UK Government which replaced the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC).

The Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) was introduced by the UK Government to promote energy efficiency and to ensure large enterprises are regularly assessing their energy usage.

Net Zero refers to producing zero carbon dioxide emissions by balancing emissions against carbon emission reduction, and carbon offsetting strategies. 

The Procurement Policy Note (PPN 06/21) sets out how government departments need to take account of suppliers’ Net Zero Carbon Reduction Plans in the procurement of major government contracts.

Science-based targets (SBT) are targets that help companies define their journey to reduce carbon emissions, helping prevent the worst impacts of climate change and future-proof business growth.

The Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) was developed to create consistent climate-related financial risk disclosures for use by organisations in providing information.

The Environmental, Social and Governance report (ESG) is a statement from a company announcing its current commitment to the environment, social and governance matters. 

Industries

Carbon reporting and management for manufacturers including Carbon Reduction Plans, SECR, ESOS, PPN 06/21, SBT, TCFD and ESG compliance.

Carbon reporting and management for hospitality including Carbon Reduction Plans, SECR, ESOS, PPN 06/21, SBT, TCFD and ESG compliance.

Carbon reporting and management for schools including Carbon Reduction Plans, SECR, ESOS, PPN 06/21, SBT, TCFD and ESG compliance.

Carbon reporting and management for agriculture including Carbon Reduction Plans, SECR, ESOS, PPN 06/21, SBT, TCFD and ESG compliance.

Carbon reporting and management for manufacturers including Carbon Reduction Plans, SECR, ESOS, PPN 06/21, SBT, TCFD and ESG compliance.

Carbon reporting and management for manufacturers including Carbon Reduction Plans, SECR, ESOS, PPN 06/21, SBT, TCFD and ESG compliance.

Carbon reporting and management for healthcare companies and NHS suppliers. Carbon Reduction Plans and PPN 06/21 solutions for NHS providers from £95 pcm.

Carbon reporting and management for NHS trusts. Supply Chain emissions tracking and breakdown of Carbon Footprint.

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