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HEFCE commissioned work to help the higher education (HE) sector measure scope 3 carbon emissions. This forms part of our overall approach to reducing carbon emissions.

Scope 3 emissions are indirect emissions that organisations produce through their activities, but occur from sources not owned or controlled by the organisation. Examples of such activities include business travel, commuting, supply chain (procurement), waste and water.

The work was commissioned under three themes:

Arup, De Montfort University and the Centre for Sustainability Accounting (CenSA) were appointed to work on supply chain (procurement), water and waste, and JMP undertook the work on transport. The project teams engaged with a range of higher education institutions (HEIs), sector organisations and others.

The outputs in each case are:

  • an HE sector baseline of supply chain (procurement) emissions
  • definitions for measuring emissions at institutional level that can be included within the Estate Management Statistics (EMS) from 2012-13
  • good practice guidance that helps institutions adopt efficient and effective data collection practices.

The recommendations in the reports aim to strike a balance between encouraging institutions to report scope 3 data and recognising the potential challenges and resource requirements in capturing data. Reporting these data will provide institutions with information to help manage scope 3 emissions and demonstrate their efforts alongside reductions in scope 1 and 2 emissions. To minimise burden the work considered existing systems and processes for obtaining information, and aligns with national carbon reporting guidance and protocols.

The Estate Management Statistics are collected by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). The proposed scope 3 definitions in these reports are contributing to an ongoing review of the content and structure of EMS. HESA will consult with the HE sector in early 2012 on the proposed changes to the EMS definitions. Therefore, the scope 3 definitions for EMS are not yet finalised. It is expected that most, if not all, of the scope 3 definitions will be optional data items in the collection of EMS.

Supply chain (procurement)

Measuring scope 3 carbon emissions – supply chain (procurement): Report to HEFCE on sector emissions by Arup, CenSA and De Montfort University

This report presents research that estimates the supply chain (procurement) carbon emissions for the higher education sector in England for the baseline year 2005-06, using a consumption-based approach which includes the embedded emissions of the goods/services procured by the HE sector. The estimated supply chain emissions are added to the travel and building energy emissions calculated in previous research, 'Research into a carbon reduction target and strategy for Higher Education in England', and this report shows the total carbon footprint of the HE sector in England.

Measuring scope 3 carbon emissions – supply chain (procurement): Report to HEFCE on an emissions reporting framework by Arup, CenSA and De Montfort University

This report summarises the key steps of the development of a supply chain (procurement) carbon emissions reporting tool for use by HEIs. The tool is based on the existing Annual Returns Database (ARD) which contains expenditure data submitted by institutions annually to the Regional Purchasing Consortia. It is an Excel-based spreadsheet that calculates individual institution's supply chain (procurement) emissions using an environmentally extended input-output (EEIO) model. This uses top-down carbon intensity data combined with a breakdown of bottom-up expenditure data, and incorporates and considers the full supply chain impacts of each procured good or service.

HEFCE is currently in discussions with the Purchasing Consortia about the hosting of the tool, and we will inform the HE sector of the arrangements in early 2012. Institutions should note that the quality of the emission calculations depends on the quality of the data and coding submitted to the ARD.

Transport

Measuring scope 3 carbon emissions – transport: A guide to good practice (HEFCE 2012/02)

This report provides HEIs with guidance on how to calculate scope 3 carbon emissions associated with business travel and commuting. It aims to help HEIs adopt efficient and effective data collection practices, and includes examples of good practice within the HE sector.

Measuring scope 3 carbon emissions – transport: Report to HEFCE by JMP Consultants Ltd

This report underpins the publication above, providing background information, findings, analysis and commentary. It forms the evidence base for the proposed EMS data definitions on scope 3 emissions from transport.

Water and waste

Measuring scope 3 carbon emissions – water and waste: A guide to good practice (HEFCE 2012/01)

This report provides HEIs with guidance on how to calculate scope 3 carbon emissions generated by water and waste. It aims to help HEIs adopt efficient and effective data collection practices, and includes examples of good practice within the HE sector.

Measuring scope 3 carbon emissions – water and waste: Report to HEFCE by Arup and De Montfort University

This report underpins the publication above, providing background information, findings, analysis and commentary. It forms the evidence base for the proposed EMS data definitions on scope 3 emissions associated with water and waste.

Downloads

Measuring scope 3 carbon emissions – supply chain (procurement): Report to HEFCE on sector emissions by Arup, CenSA and De Montfort University

Download the Measuring scope 3 carbon emissions – supply chain (procurement): Report to HEFCE on sector emissions by Arup, CenSA and De Montfort University as PDF (852 KB)

Measuring scope 3 carbon emissions – supply chain (procurement): Report to HEFCE on an emissions reporting framework by Arup, CenSA and De Montfort University

Download the Measuring scope 3 carbon emissions – supply chain (procurement): Report to HEFCE on an emissions reporting framework by Arup, CenSA and De Montfort University as PDF (852 KB)

Measuring scope 3 carbon emissions – transport: Report to HEFCE by JMP Consultants Ltd

Download the Measuring scope 3 carbon emissions – transport: Report to HEFCE by JMP Consultants Ltd as PDF (690 KB)

Measuring scope 3 carbon emissions – water and waste: Report to HEFCE by Arup and De Montfort University

Download the Measuring scope 3 carbon emissions – water and waste: Report to HEFCE by Arup and De Montfort University as PDF (941 KB)

Measuring scope 3 carbon emissions – supply chain (procurement): Report to HEFCE on sector emissions by Arup, CenSA and De Montfort University

Download the Measuring scope 3 carbon emissions – supply chain (procurement): Report to HEFCE on sector emissions by Arup, CenSA and De Montfort University as PDF (852 KB)

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Date: January 2012

Ref: Independent research

To: Heads of HEFCE-funded further education colleges, Heads of HEFCE-funded higher education institutions, Heads of universities in Northern Ireland