Carbon Planner: Your Emissions Intensity Score

Understanding how your business is performing in comparison to your competitors can be a helpful focus point. Here’s how to draw on select data for carbon emissions reporting.

This article was originally published on 28th June 2023. The article has since been updated on 21st August 2023.

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Improving the total or ‘absolute’ emissions produced is required to reach global climate goals. However, comparing different companies or different parts of the same company can be useful to improve efficiency. Differences in operations, size, and scope of reporting mean that direct comparisons of total emissions would be inaccurate. One way to enable comparison is to create an intensity figure, for instance the emissions required to produce one unit vs another or the average emissions per turnover.

The direct emissions of a company are called Scope 1 emissions. These include company-owned facilities and company-owned vehicles. These are, according to the GHG Protocol, emissions that originate from sources owned or controlled by an organisation and thus the emission most within the control of the company.

In Carbon Planner the total Scope 1 emission footprint is provided by summing up the individual footprints from the Fuels (not including Electricity), Business Vehicles and Refrigerant Gas sections.

The table below provides an industry average comparison which is a good place to start.

For more detailed results you may wish to use a sub-sector level that best matches your activities. A list of average intensities is published by the ONS. Note they use gross added value which is simply the contribution made by that particular product to your company's profit, the price sold less the costs to produce.

Average of GHG emissions intensity in thousand CO2e per £m turnover is provided by the link

* Financial and Insurance Activities | **As per turnover source: “The ABS covers only the UK Non-Financial Business Economy which accounts for approximately two thirds of the UK economy in terms of Gross Value Added.”

Three steps to calculating your emissions intensity:

  • Find your organisation’s turnover for the year you are reporting on in pounds sterling.
  • Convert this turnover to £m.
  • Divide your emissions from scope 1 (in tonnes CO2e) by your £m turnover figure.

Matching your emissions intensity with that of the sector that is most applicable to your organisation will enable a general comparison of your Scope 1 emissions intensity with an average for the entire sector. If your organisation has a distinctively different figure from the average, it may be an indicator that your operations produce more/fewer emissions compared with others in your sector, or that your operations span multiple sub sectors. This can also be a proxy measure of your production efficiency, depending on your specific company, which is key to many business models. 

A high emissions intensity should be seen as an opportunity to improve as there are multiple options available to reduce your Scope 1 carbon footprint. Explore science-based targets further.

Some examples of activities which can help in reducing your emissions can be found with Carbon Planner, our free carbon-footprinting tool. 

This material is published by NatWest Group plc (“NatWest Group”), for information purposes only and should not be regarded as providing any specific advice. Recipients should make their own independent evaluation of this information and no action should be taken, solely relying on it. This material should not be reproduced or disclosed without our consent. It is not intended for distribution in any jurisdiction in which this would be prohibited. Whilst this information is believed to be reliable, it has not been independently verified by NatWest Group and NatWest Group makes no representation or warranty (express or implied) of any kind, as regards the accuracy or completeness of this information, nor does it accept any responsibility or liability for any loss or damage arising in any way from any use made of or reliance placed on, this information. Unless otherwise stated, any views, forecasts, or estimates are solely those of NatWest Group, as of this date and are subject to change without notice. Copyright © NatWest Group. All rights reserved.

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