A lack of shared reporting standards for carbon emissions across industry could jeopardise the UK’s net zero ambitions, warned a leading strategic manufacturing group.
High Value Manufacturing Catapult (HVMC) has called for a universal methodology for measuring and reporting emissions across manufacturing – with Government agreement on which metrics to use.
Failure to establish one “risks completely undermining the UK’s drive to net zero,” HVMC explained in its latest report, “Embodied Emissions and Net Zero: A Review of Standards.”
Manufacturing produces 40 per cent of the UK’s carbon footprint, however the group argues that a lack of a common accounting framework for corporates and products means the sector cannot properly track emissions.
This is especially an issue for ‘Scope Three’ emissions – including end use emissions and indirectly produced emissions, such as in early materials extraction and processing.
These account for up to 90 per cent of emissions and are fundamental to reaching net zero, which the Government confirmed its commitment to at the COP 26 climate conference in Glasgow last year.
Its report argues that additional assistance will be needed to support SMEs understand and “demystify” carbon accounting.
The report said: “Without a proper auditing and monitoring system in place, there is no way of knowing where the UK manufacturing industry is in terms of working towards and meeting net zero targets.”
HMVC was set up by former frontbench politician Sir Vince Cable when he was business secretary.
It’s now run by Katherine Bennett previously worked for Airbus UK over nearly two decades.
Commenting on the report, Bennett said: “Tracking carbon emissions is now an integral part of a company’s annual audit. Yet, a myriad of different carbon accounting standards and methodologies are used, meaning that the data is rendered almost useless when combined across the manufacturing sector.
“Given the energy intensive nature of manufacturing, this lack of common data makes tracking overall emissions reductions almost impossible and vital information can be obscured or lost. This risks completely undermining the UK’s drive to net zero.”