24 Jun 15

Defra 2015 Conversion Factors: what’s changed?

smoke-stacks-web-3Defra 2015 is here! UK Government Conversion Factors for company reporting are updated annually and this year is no different. The updates are mainly limited to the revision and modification of existing emission factors.

What’s new?

We have examined what’s new and have listed below some of the most notable changes in this year’s updates that may have an impact on your organisation;

Electricity factor

One of the most striking changes to this year’s Conversion Factors is the reduction in the electricity factor. A significant 7% lower than 2014, this decrease will have a notable effect on reporting. Last year saw many organisations’ Scope 2 emissions increase even though their electricity consumption decreased. This was as a result of 2014 seeing a surge in the electricity factor of 11%. The 2015 electricity factor will highlight 2014 as a peak year for many whose overall Scope 1 and Scope 2 footprints are primarily made up of electricity. 

Global Warming Potential (GWP) factors

In previous years, the Global Warming Potential (GWP) factors used for CH4 and N2O were derived from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s Second Assessment Report. The factors are now derived from the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) to remain consistent with UK GHG Inventory reporting under the Kyoto Protocol.

Aviation factors

New aviation factors for international flights between non-UK destinations are included in the 2015 update. This update allows users to choose the applicable factors for air travel if flying between countries that are outside of the UK. This change will allow organisations with significant air travel and/or with international operations to calculate their emissions more accurately.

Refrigerant factors

This year’s revision to the scope of refrigerant factors, resulted in an extension of the list. Additional refrigerants have been added to reflect the changing uses of refrigerants and to echo the Kyoto and Montreal Protocols. The factors were also adjusted to reflect the changes to the Global Warming Potential factors, explained above.  These alterations will help to improve accuracy when reporting.

Bioenergy conversion factors

In response to requests and to improve accuracy there has been two changes to bioenergy conversion factors. These changes include an addition of two well-to-tank (WTT) bioenergy conversion factors and, two outside of scope conversion factors for biodiesel sourced from used cooking oil and tallow.

What to do?

The 2015 Conversion Factors should be used when calculating your footprint for calendar year 2015. Organisations should ensure that any previously calculated 2015 data is recalculated using the new conversion factors.

All 2015 conversion factors are available on the DEFRA website.


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Non-Financial Reporting , Emissions factors