IDRIC Policy Roundtable

Carbon accounting for industrial decarbonisation

13th September 2023, Birmingham

Accurate and transparent carbon accounting is vital for industrial decarbonisation. Numerous methods for carbon accounting exist, however these are a mix of voluntary and compliance-based schemes with varying methodologies, reporting mechanisms and policy objectives.

Adequate and reliable emissions data is needed, not only to monitor progress towards statutory emissions reduction targets and specific policy objectives, but to account for the contribution of novel technologies, such as greenhouse gas removals, as well as innovations in supply chain circularity. An agile framework is therefore needed which can accurately measure and monitor carbon over time and space, as well as provide a foundation for policies seeking to incentivise companies to adopt innovative approaches to tackling their emissions.

Furthermore, with the emergence of carbon leakage policy measures such as carbon border adjustment mechanisms (CBAM) and mandatory product standards, both nationally and internationally, it is crucial that emissions can be accurately accounted for across supply chains to ensure companies can remain competitive and compliant. Successful carbon leakage mitigation may also create the conditions for onshoring of industrial activity, which must be planned for.

The IDRIC Policy Roundtable brought together 30 experts from industry, academia and governments in Birmingham to discuss what policy action is needed to drive emissions reductions and prevent carbon leakage.

Participants heard latest findings from IDRIC-funded research on Carbon Accounting frameworks for a Decarbonised Circular Economy, led by Prof. Marcelle MacManus (University of Bath) and Jonathan Radcliffe (University of Birmingham), and key insights from the cross-catapult work on future UK carbon accounting framework needs from Elle Butterworth (Energy Systems Catapult).

Discussion amongst participants highlighted:

  • The need to understand and map flows of energy and emissions data as part of existing reporting schemes, to understand how existing data can be utilised without adding unnecessary additional administrative burden to industry.
  • Regulatory challenges to emissions data sharing amongst industry.
  • Parallels and lessons to be learned from financial accounting.
  • Monetisation of carbon – importance of understanding and tracking the value of carbon in a circular economy.
  • Drivers for participation in voluntary reporting schemes.

IDRIC Policy Roundtables

Policy roundtables are a key part of IDRIC’s policy engagement and research program and aim to provide the space for constructive discussion, bringing together key expertise across the industrial decarbonisation community. The next IDRIC policy roundtable will focus on improving planning, consenting and permitting processes for industrial decarbonisation and net zero.

For further information, please contact the IDRIC Policy Team at policy@idric.org.