Carbon Management Plan 2022

Our carbon emissions and approach

Our carbon emissions

The Green House Gas (GHG) Protocol is an internationally accepted and standardised method for calculating greenhouse gas emissions arising from organisations activities. The GHG Protocol breaks emissions sources down into three scopes.

  • Scope 1 emissions are direct greenhouse gas emissions that occur from sources that are controlled or owned by the reporting organisation. For example, emissions associated with fuel combustion in boilers, or diesel in vehicles operated by the council
  • Scope 2 emissions are indirect greenhouse gas emissions associated with the purchase of electricity, steam, heat, or cooling. They are accounted for by the reporting organisation as they are a result of the organisation’s energy use.
  • Scope 3 emissions include all sources not within an organisation’s scope 1 and 2 boundaries. Scope 3 emissions often represent the majority of an organisation’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Scope 3 emissions fall within 15 categories, though organisations may not incur emissions in all categories and include emissions both upstream and downstream of the organisation’s activities.

Different scopes and activities that feed into an organisation's carbon emissions. Typically, scope 1 and 2 are either directly or indirectly in an organisation's control and so can influence the reduction in carbon emissions more effectively. Scope 3, by their nature are more challenging to measure and control, as they arise as a consequence of an organisation's operations and are not generally responsible for how the carbon is produced or mitigated.

Overview of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol scopes and activities causing emissions. Carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) are emitted by various parts of the value chain of a reporting company, either upstream, downstream or at the reporting company:




Upstream activities

Scope 2 Indirect

  • Purchased electricity, steam, heating and cooling for own use
Upstream activities

Scope 3

  • Purchased goods and services
  • Waste generated in operations
  • Capital goods
  • Fuel and energy related activities
  • Transportation and distribution
  • Business travel
  • Employee commuting
  • Leased assets

Reporting company

Scope 1 Direct

  • Company facilities
  • Company vehicles

Downstream activities

Scope 3 Indirect

  • Transportation and distribution
  • Processing of sold products
  • Investments
  • Leased assets
  • Franchises
  • Use of sold products
  • End-of-life treatment of sold products

As North Northamptonshire Council is a new organisation, we do not have a historic baseline of carbon emissions from which to work from, which means that it is difficult to get an accurate representation of changes in emissions over time. Therefore, in producing the council's emissions, our focus has been on scope 1 and 2 emissions, and part of our scope 3 emissions.

To date, the council's carbon emissions have been calculated at 13,607.56 tonnes CO2e. We know that the top three biggest sources of carbon emissions of the council are former land fill sites, electricity, and gas.

North Northamptonshire Council 2021/22 CO2e emissions

Scope 1

  • 18.7% Natural gas: 2,545.32 (tCO2e)
  • 12.4% Authority's fleet: 1,686.18 (tCO2e)

Scope 2

  • 23.5% Electricity: 3,197.69 (tCO2e)

Scope 3

  • 42.5% Closed landfill emissions: 5,784.00 (tCO2e)
  • 2.1% Transmission and delivery losses (utilities): 282.98 (tCO2e)
  • 0.8% Staff business travel: 111.38 (tCO2e)

These calculations have been based on utility use across the council's property estate, street lighting and signage, fuel consumed by fleet operated by the council, business travel and emissions from closed landfill sites. Areas that are outside of the scope of this calculation include:

  • academies and the school estate where the school pays for utility bills directly, and so is in control of the emissions.
  • leased commercial estate, as the tenant is responsible for emissions by way of use and maintenance.
  • the council's social housing estate that is leased to tenants.

However, we recognise the importance of investment in the above assets to improve environmental sustainability, and we will produce separate decarbonisation plans within the responsible directorates and consider how these assets are considered by the council’s scope 3 reporting in the future.

As the council builds on the quality of the emissions data in the coming years, and expands the scope 3 reporting to consider the wider impact of our operations, it is anticipated that our reported CO2e emissions will rise, requiring a revised baseline. However, the range of activities detailed within the plan, in particular our procurement supply chain, will help us to plan for how we influence and tackle these emissions.

Our approach

This plan is the first step on the council's journey to being carbon neutral and has been formed with input from services across the council, recognising that a cross-directorate approach must be taken to ensure the council's ambition is achieved. The plan is broken down into priority areas, that will enable the council to explore multiple actions that will yield a reduction in carbon emissions, with particular focus on our biggest emissions.

These actions vary from simple behavioural changes, improving the energy efficiency of our buildings, switching to green energy suppliers, to large scale investment decisions in carbon reducing technology, all of which will make a difference in the council’s carbon emissions. These actions will also inform how the council allocates funding to achieve its carbon neutral goal.

The council has already set aside £1m of funding to support climate change, however further investment will be required, and it is vital this funding is prioritised to have the greatest effect on reducing and offsetting emissions. The actions detailed within this plan will require new ways of thinking and operating, and the council is up to this challenge.

Investors in the Environment

We joined Investors in the Environment (iiE) in September 2022 as an Enterprise Member. The sustainability framework that they provide is designed to help and support us to reduce our impact on the environment, save money and time, and get promoted for our green credentials. Upon successful implementation of the framework criteria and an audit, our organisation will be awarded accreditation. Our initial goal is Bronze accreditation by September 2023.

However, it is also crucial that the council is held to account to its commitment. That is why we have recently become a member of Investors in the Environment, an independent body that will provide guidance, share the learning of others, and audit the council's progress as part of its accreditation scheme. We aim to achieve greater levels of accreditation over the coming years, as we refine our carbon reporting, including developing our scope 3 reporting and measure our progress through our annual review of our carbon management plan. This ongoing process or review and learning will help ensure we continue to embed our climate changes ambitions throughout the council and achieve our carbon neutral goal by 2030.

Last updated 13 March 2023