Winner of the Award for Statistical Excellence in Trustworthiness, Quality and Value 2021
BEIS Greenhouse Gas Inventory team
Who are BEIS and what are the Conversion Factors?
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) replaced the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) in July 2016. We employ around 3,000 staff who work in our offices in London, Aberdeen and around the UK. We are responsible for: business; industrial strategy; science, research and innovation; energy and clean growth; and tackling climate change.
The Greenhouse Gas Conversion Factors for Company Reporting, or conversion factors, are published annually by the Greenhouse Gas Inventory (GHGI) team in the Science and Innovation for Climate and Energy (SICE) directorate. This publication allows users to convert activity data into greenhouse gas emissions. The resource is used by organisations to estimate their own greenhouse gas emissions from activity data, and therefore comply with Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR) regulations and other environmental reporting needs or requirements.
As well as being the main tool to support companies to report emissions in the UK, the factors are also used in policy development and statistical publications across UK government departments and are internationally regarded as a high-quality resource.
Applying the Code
While Trustworthiness, Quality and Value (TQV) have been core commitments in the production of the Conversion Factors since they were first published, in 2020 we released our first Statement of Voluntary Compliance to publicly demonstrate this. The Conversion Factors were therefore the first BEIS publication to voluntarily comply with the Code of Practice for Statistics.
Trustworthiness, Quality and Value
Given the increasing national and international focus on reaching net-zero emissions, a high quality resource for measuring emissions that can be used with confidence is of huge value, and in many cases essential, for a wide range of organisations and individuals. Trustworthiness is therefore a core principle for the Conversion Factors, and is exemplified throughout the production processes. They are produced by a team of analysts from Ricardo Energy and Environment and the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) with over a decade of experience and managed by BEIS’ GHGI team, all of whom are independent from the policy context, allowing the statistics to be presented objectively. The statistics are released annually in the first week of June, with users able to sign up for notifications of updates. The annual improvement programme, which is informed primarily by feedback from expert peer reviewers and users, is approved through two annual steering groups, providing a mechanism to ensure independent and transparent decision making delivering both high quality data and high value to users.
The Conversion Factors are produced to a consistently high quality. The primary data source for the Conversion Factors is the National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory (NAEI), which is annually updated and improved to use the best possible scientific methods and data sources and subject to scrutiny via annual expert reviews from the EU and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
To ensure sound and transparent methods are being used in the production of the factors, we commissioned a 2021 audit of the Conversion Factors model suite. This found all the models comfortably exceeded required standards under the scoring system used in the BEIS QA Guidance for Models. The Conversion Factors are designed to deliver value to users by being relevant, accessible and up to date. Our improvement programme is innovative and responds to users’ needs, with a key example in the latest publication being the addition of new energy factors to enable companies to report energy use as required under the new SECR regulations.
Clarity and insight is delivered through the provision of a comprehensive methodology paper and accompanying major changes report, which explains year-on-year changes to the factors. We provide on-demand support to users of the factors through our dedicated mailbox, and the value we provide is exemplified through the positive feedback we receive on the provision of the factors; from individuals conducting personal interest projects to national governments interested in creating their own equivalents.
Ultimately, due to commitment in applying TQV, the Conversion Factors are one of the most comprehensive, high quality and up-to-date set of emission factors not only in the UK, but globally. They therefore deliver significant public value by enabling organisations to quantify, and subsequently measure progress towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions.