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News

Publican's Guide to Reporting CO2 Emissions

If you run a pub you will, no doubt, be well aware of gas emissions (especially if the egg and sprouts frittata is still on the menu!).   However, beyond ‘end-of-bar Norman’ and his billowing trousers, there is another kind of gas you should be aware of – greenhouse gas.  By greenhouse gas we do not, of course, mean the calor gas hotplate you have in your greenhouse to brew up in the winter months.  Rather, we mean the impact that waste gases have more broadly - when combined across the planet - on the environment… in terms of global warming.

pub guide to co2 emissionsThe Regulations – A definition

Since 2013, regulations within the Companies Act 2006 have required UK companies quoted on the stock exchange to report their greenhouse gas emissions, within their annual Directors’ Report, as part of the UK’s overall commitment to reducing greenhouse gases.  Only certain larger pub companies, of course, fall into the bracket of being listed on the stock exchange.  However, you might not be aware that the government would also like you to make a similar report.  At this this stage it is voluntary, rather than compulsory, as with the larger pub chains, but nevertheless, it might make sense for you to start to the process of measuring greenhouse gas emissions from your own pub.

The Emissions Guide

What You Need To Measure

Having dealt with a definition of greenhouse gas emissions, let’s move on to consider the “what” – in terms of what you need to measure – and then some thoughts around “how” we might measure them - before concluding with “why” you might want to take these steps: In terms of the pub trade, there are many things that might contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.  These might include activities like travel - in terms of staff commuting to work, deliveries, waste disposal – and, particularly, electricity and gas usage, especially around heating, food preparation and lighting large premises.  A major activity for the licensing trade, of course, is also refrigeration.

How To Measure Your Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Moving on to “how”… of course the information is there, you merely need to capture it.  Firstly, get a fix on what you need to measure, based on the paragraph above.  Then start to collate the data from each gas-releasing activity.  You might, for instance, measure the total kilowatt hours used for gas and electricity bills, or total water used - which will feature in cubic metres on your water bill – as well as making an estimate of waste, either recycled or discarded.  Similarly you might measure vehicle mileage for staff commutes and deliveries.  Try to be as accurate as possible, and perhaps track such data on a spreadsheet over a 12-month duration. You can then convert your data into a calculation of greenhouse gas emissions, by multiplying it by an emission factor.  You can do this either using the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs own greenhouse gas conversion factors, via their website  (http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/economy/reporting/conversion-factors.htm).  Alternatively, you can use the Carbon Trust’s online calculator (http://www.carbontrust.com/client-services/footprinting/footprint-measurement).

Why Measure Greenhouse Gas Emissions?

By this stage you may well be thinking: fabulous in theory, but I need to spend my time pulling pints and spraying Fabreeze across the end of the bar where Norman sits.  Why should I be doing all this?  Well, there are several reasons: 1. Saving Money Firstly, once you have discovered your greenhouse gas emissions, you may also uncover any latent issues in terms of areas of the business using a disproportionate amount of energy.  You can then take steps to reduce such waste, and thereby save money.  Perhaps you might set yourself a target for the next 12 month period, using government guidance on how to measure greenhouse gases (see link below).  If you can reduce energy bills, you might well be able to keep your own costs down, keeping your pub competitive in an increasingly difficult time for the pub trade. 2. The Environmental Benefit Another positive is that you will be doing your bit for the environment, and the betterment of the planet, in terms of climate change.  That might seem at first glance a rather grandiose ambition, however at street level (and therefore the level at which punters walk into your pub) it is increasingly a factor they are themselves increasingly aware of, and want to see from their local businesses. 3. Good PR So no, at the level of a local pub you don’t legally have to report your emissions under the terms of the Companies Act 2006.  However, why not publicise your laudable activities to the patrons of your pub, in any case?  In this current climate of environmental awareness - where customers are more and more interested in the environmental behaviour of businesses - it will function as a valuable activity, and viable PR.  You can then make your customers aware of the fact that you are doing your bit for the planet, as well as their own good spirits and desire for a pint of mild.

Conclusions and further information

So, we hope this overview of greenhouses gases, and the benefits to be had in registering and reporting them, has been of some use.  If it’s sparked interest, you’ll find further information at www.gov.uk/measuring-and-reporting-environmental-impacts-guidance-for-businesses. Utility Helpline specialise in business energy management for the on-trade. Contact us to see how our niche advice can help your business.


Published by Utility Helpline on (modified )