SECR and data: where do I start?

When it comes to the Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR) framework, all qualifying businesses are required to report on their annual emissions and provide a narrative commentary of any energy efficiency actions.

Provided within the Environmental Report Guidelines, which were updated earlier this year, this table gives the basics of what you need to include in your SECR reporting according to your company type.

 Quoted companies Large unquoted companies and LLPs
 Annual GHG emissions from activities for which the company is   responsible including combustion of fuel and operation of any  facility; and the annual emissions from the purchase of electricity,  heat, steam or cooling by the company for its own use UK energy use (as a minimum gas, electricity and transport,   including UK offshore area)
 Underlying global energy use Associated greenhouse gas emissions
 Previous year’s figures for energy use and GHG Previous year’s figures for energy use and GHG emissions
 At least one intensity ratio At least one intensity ratio
 Energy efficiency action taken Energy efficiency action taken
 Methodology used Methodology used

Source: Environmental Report Guidelines, 2019, p.27

Data comes first

However, before you start diving into your SECR reporting, as a business it’s essential to start thinking about what comes before this. The key is data. What data do you already have? What data do you need to start collecting?

In this context, we are talking about the operations of your business that contribute to energy and emissions data; how it is currently being captured and recorded.
For example:

  • Buildings (offices, warehouses, shops etc.): Do you receive actual bills, and do you record the consumption of gas, electricity and any other fuels or just how much you pay for it?
  • Transport (company cars, delivery vehicles etc.): Does your company own any vehicles – if so, how is the fuel they use recorded or is mileage monitored?

That’s the type of data that will be needed and the precise makeup of this will depend on the exact details of your business and its operations.


The consistency in how such data is recorded across a company’s buildings or vehicles is important. This influences the methodology used when calculating the emissions associated with these activities. Without this consistency, emissions from different buildings or different transport assets start to become both incomparable and hard to aggregate. Without data consistency, it is hard to make meaningful assessments and decisions about your emissions and how these could be reduced.


Your reporting will not need to be submitted until the end of your next financial year (i.e. not until 1 April 2020 at the earliest), but the recording of your data will need to start from 1 April this year (or the start of your financial year after this date). This is not a one-off job to complete when the directors’ report is due. Data recording is an ongoing monitoring process, so when the final reporting submission comes around it should be a quick and easy job to do because your data will be already prepared.

What comes after data

Once you have reliable and accurate data you can consider the next aspects of SECR reporting. This is where you make useful and appropriate decisions on strategies for reducing energy use and thereby, your greenhouse gas emissions.

Selecting an appropriate intensity matrix will allow you to make more sense of your data and measure any changes against a parameter that is most relevant to your organisation. This might be, for example, turnover, floor area or sales volume. The government doesn’t specify metrics, these vary from sector to sector, so it is up to you to decide.

A good set of data also enables the planning, implementation and measuring of real change. As a business, you will build a growing picture of how energy efficiency measures are impacting your energy consumption and emissions as you complete your annual SECR reporting each year.

There is no prescriptive methodology with SECR, so you have the freedom to report in the way most suited for your business. Guidance is available for good practice. This includes encouragement for transparency in areas such as on-site clean energy generation, the purchase of low carbon energy, action taken to reduce the impact of business travel, any offsetting of emissions, and the use of ultra-low emission vehicles. However, this only further emphasises the need for you to independently understand and have a handle on your organisation’s data and what to do with it.

We are experts in data and energy

We understand that this can all sound a bit complicated, so that’s why we provide services and solutions that can help make getting your data right and make your SECR reporting so much easier.
Our Sigma software is designed to produce advanced energy and emissions reports suitable for UK regulations.

Our Bureau service provides customers with accurate and validated energy bill information, while also identifying errors, querying and rectifying these mistakes so that they don’t end up in your reports.

Our energy Consultants have experience of reporting on greenhouse gas and energy compliance schemes for many organisations and businesses from a variety of sectors.

For help and guidance on how to achieve SECR compliance read about our suite of SECR services.

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