For the first time many multi-academy trusts will need to start reporting on their carbon emissions under the government’s new legislation Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR).
While the Public Sector have typically been excluded from the requirements of carbon reporting, any organisation that meets two or more of the following three criteria is required to comply:
- Employees 250 or more
- Turnover of £36 million or more
- Balance sheet value over £18 million
We estimate that there are in the order of 520 MATs, representing more than 4,200 Academy schools, that will fall within this carbon reporting regime. We have therefore compiled some frequently asked questions to help MATs ascertain their need to comply.
Are multi-academy trusts exempt from SECR, since they are classed as Public Sector?
Organisations which are registered with Companies House and qualify as a ‘large’ company or LLP limited liability partnership under the companies Act 2006 will qualify and are obliged to report under SECR. This will include over 500 multi-academy trusts, since education is both staff and buildings intensive and hence will exceed the employee and balance sheet criteria. Whilst public sector organisations, such as local authorities and government bodies, won’t qualify for SECR, they are required to quantify their carbon emissions within other schemes such as greening government commitments.
- What are the consequences of non-compliance?
The conduct committee of the Financial reporting council are responsible for monitoring compliance with SECR. Should qualifying organisations submit their financial accounts without SECR, they may be rejected and penalties charged for non-compliance.
- Can we manage our SECR reporting ourselves?
Should qualifying organisations have the time and expertise to understand the SECR reporting requirements, they can of course manage the process themselves. However, BEIS recommend independent assurance for SECR.
- What are the benefits of using Zenergi?
Zenergi will provide you with a dedicated Energy Engineering resource to manage the whole process on your behalf and work with you to capture all of the energy and transport data that is required to create a SECR evidence pack, which you can attach to your FY 2020 results. This will ensure that your organisation is compliant and that your SECR strategy delivers energy, carbon and financial savings.
- Some of our Academies are within PFI Buildings, do we still need to report on these too?
Yes, any academies which are within a PFI building will be included in the reporting scheme. A number of our multi academy trusts operate with this model and we will create a process to capture the data required.
- We don’t currently track our transport mileage, is this a problem?
Our Energy Engineers will work closely with you to create a process of capturing transport data and staff mileage claimed to understand your total carbon footprint.
- How are the fees calculated?
We will calculate the number of hours and days it will take us to collate, validate and scrutinise your organisation’s energy consumption and transport data and share a detailed proposal and quote for your consideration. Whilst calculating your organisation’s total carbon footprint, stating the energy efficiency actions that you have taken during the year and detailing the methodology used for SECR calculations to create a SECR evidence pack.
- When will SECR be required?
Usually MATs complete their financial year August 2020 and hence preparation of SECR can commence October 2020 when all energy bills are received for the financial year. We should be able to finalise SECR by December 2020 for approval and submission in the company accounts, before May 2021.
- How can we reduce our carbon footprint?
From calculating your base carbon footprint, we wish to understand your carbon agenda objectives and work with you to create a strategic plan of reduction in carbon, consumption and costs by identifying a broad range of energy efficiency projects, which we will be pleased to discuss with you.
- How will SECR benefit the MAT?
SECR is a mandatory annual review of energy efficiency and your carbon footprint at Director level. Energy and carbon reduction projects need to be stated and this encourages continuous improvement/savings. Energy efficiency savings are cost effective and are also an opportunity to improve the school’s infrastructure.Please also recognise that once the carbon footprint is established in SECR, the Government are likely to introduce mandatory carbon offsetting in driving the route to Net Zero Carbon.