On 2 June 2021 BEIS/Defra published the eagerly-awaited 2021 updated set of carbon emissions factors.
These are an updated set of greenhouse gas emission conversion factors for calculating carbon emissions for a range of activities and processes. Compare Your Footprint uses this set of average carbon factors for UK-based organisations, and where relevant also for some international operations, in the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol average data method.
What's new in 2021?
Glass factors have been completely revised to use Ecoinvent, an up-to-date and peer-reviewed data source, resulting in an increase.
Cardboard Factors for cardboard have been revised to correct a previous misinterpretation of the FeFCO corrugated board Life Cycle Analysis. This results in an increase in emissions.
New IT goods categories: The electrical goods factors have been revised upwards to include a more accurate assessment and has enabled the introduction of a new category of IT goods, so these products should now be reported separately from other electrical items.
Batteries have been recalculated and disaggregated to to provide a wide range of battery types
Battery disposal in landfill: Landfill factor for batteries has been replaced with standardised “transport only” value to maintain consistency in how the factors are calculated across materials. The impact of this is around 90% decrease in emissions.
Compost and anaerobic digestion factors have been amended to correct an error and update vehicle emissions. This results in around 12% decrease in emissions.
New Bioenergy fuels: The bioenergy table now has factors for biopetrol, renewable petrol, biopropane, and biodiesel HVO.
Water: The water supply and water treatment factors are now calculated based on 2020 data from the UK water companies Carbon Accounting Workbooks (CAW). Previously the values came from a publication of the UK water industry from 2012 that has now been discontinued. The impact of this is large decrease in emissions, reflecting the grid decarbonisation since 2012.
Natural Gas and CNG: An improvement has been made to the methodology used for the natural gas and CNG Well to Tank (WTT) factors to use year-specific DUKES data on leakage and energy use in transmission and distribution. CNG factor has been improved by using an updated methodology to account for electricity use in its distribution. The effect of these improvements is to reduce the WTT factors but due to a large increase in LNG imports according to DUKES in 2019, the WTT factors for these fuels have actually increased in comparison to last year's conversion factors.
New Butane and propane: The fuels table now has factors for butane and propane and they have also been added to the fuel properties tableWTT Factors for Lubricants, waste oils, processed oils, fuel oil, and marine fuel: A specific WTT factor for lubricants has been added and this factor is also used for waste oils and processed oils. Fuel oil and marine fuel oil have had their WTT factors changed to be equal to that of diesel as opposed to kerosene as they were previously
For help and information about how to incorporate these factors into your carbon accounting for 2021/21, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.