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Sustainability Reporting Frameworks Explained: Who, When, & What to Disclose

Since the release of the IPCC “Global Warming of 1.5°C” report in 2018, sustainability reporting frameworks have grown to ensure the integration of sustainability into organisations’ strategies and to guide them towards greater transparency for their stakeholders.

In 2021, despite the challenges of the pandemic and extreme weather events, we had a record number of organisations committing to reach net-zero and making climate action a priority. Consequently, we now have a confusing landscape of sustainability reporting frameworks and, therefore, it’s difficult to determine which ones are the most appropriate.

In this blog, we will provide clarity on the sustainability reporting frameworks relevant to your organisation.

SECR - Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting

SECR is a mandatory UK government framework which replaced the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Energy Efficiency Scheme and aims to simplify the reporting process for companies and reduce emissions. It requires businesses to calculate and report on their annual greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, SECR requires a unique combination of transparency, thoroughness and clarity to improve sustainability performance.

Who must comply? All large UK companies and large LLPs, as well as all quoted companies that meet at least two of the following criteria: at least 250 employees, an annual turnover exceeding £44m and an annual balance sheet total greater than £38m.

ESOS - Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme

ESOS is a mandatory energy assessment scheme for large organisations in the UK that requires undertaking comprehensive assessments of total energy consumption and carrying out energy audits to identify cost-effective energy savings opportunities. It doesn’t require reporting on GHG emissions.

ESOS operates in four-yearly compliance cycles and it is now in Phase 3. The deadline is 5th December 2023. By combining SECR and ESOS, organisations can reach net-zero with a focused strategy and benefit from cost savings, as well as tracking their energy efficiency progress.

SBTi’s Net-Zero Standard

In October 2021, the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) launched the world's first standard for corporate net-zero emissions. Net Zero Standard provides a robust framework for businesses looking to become certified. Companies aiming to reach Net-Zero Standard will need to set both near and long-term science-based targets across their value chains, meaning Scope 1, 2 and 3.

The Net-Zero Standard is intended for corporates with more than 500 employees that wish to commit to setting net-zero targets through the SBTi.

CDP - Carbon Disclosure Project

Supported by a significant number of investors, the CDP collects, assesses and reports information on the environmental performance of companies, cities, and regions by publishing specific questionnaires on climate change, water, forests, and supply chain.

Organisations are required to disclose and provide evidence on an extensive array of questions on their current and future sustainability strategy. They will receive a score from A to D representing their sustainability maturity.

Those who report are either responding to a request filed by investors, responding to a request filed by customers or self-selected companies. It has a high reputational value and it enables investors to see that companies are incorporating sustainability into their business strategies and practices.

Reduce the stress of tackling regulatory demands

No matter where you are on your journey, we can help you take the next step. Gain an accurate picture of your emissions and energy use, stay ahead of the curve, increase efficiency and benefit from financial savings. If you have any questions, please get in touch with our team.

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