Government forced to redo maths on corporate carbon conversion rates

The government has been forced to correct mistakes in greenhouse gas conversion rates used by businesses to measure their carbon footprints.

Sustainability consultancy Best Foot Forward (BFF) claimed the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) was forced into hasty changes to its newly published greenhouse gas (GHG) conversion factors after it pointed out errors in the numbers.

The company said last Friday (July 31): "Defra/DECC (Department of Energy and Climate Change) have moved quickly to fix the errors identified by BFF in their newly released GHG conversion factors for business carbon measurement and reporting."

Meanwhile, BFF has advised clients to download the latest DEFRA/DECC spreadsheet and to delete the old ones to avoid confusion.

GHG conversion factors allow businesses to work out the equivalent carbon dioxide emissions caused by different activities, such as energy use, water consumption, waste disposal, recycling and transport.

Companies can then use the resulting figures to measure and manage their carbon footprint and pinpoint where cuts can be made.

BFF says the errors it found in the updated June 2009 factors affected the conversion rates for biofuels and aviation.

Other concerns raised with the government, include 'other data and methodology' and 'inconsistencies between the way in which overseas and domestic electricity is accounted'.

It is waiting for a response from the departments before publishing a full BFF review.

For more detail on what BFF found click here.

DEFRA are yet to comment on the mistake.

David Gibbs


| zero-carbon


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