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Royal Commission Carbon Reporting

Many of us are aware of the contribution that greenhouse gasses such as carbon dioxide and methane make towards overall global warming and climate change. Since the beginning of this century, there have been legal obligations on many organisations in the public and private sectors to reduce the amount of carbon they produce through their economic activities.

Climate change predictions by 2050 and 2080 taken from UK Climate Projections

In 2019 the Welsh Government declared a climate emergency, and as a bold statement of intent set a target of a carbon neutral public sector in Wales by 2030 and a net-Zero Wales by 2050. The Royal Commission has embraced this ambition by including tackling climate change amongst its overall mission to the historic environment and people of Wales.

Warming strip showing temperature change over the last 100 years in Wales
Warming strip showing temperature change over the last 100 years in Wales
https://showyourstripes.info/s/globe

Following on from our work on highlighting the effects of climate change on the historic environment, this year we’ve taken the first step in quantifying the carbon emissions we generate through our work. Spanning April to September 2022 and exploring every activity of the Commission, for the first time we have a useful estimate of the amount of carbon we produced in an operational year.

We have followed the methodology outlined in the Welsh Public Sector Net Zero Reporting Guide, a detailed methodology based on internationally recognised protocols for carbon accounting. This methodology seeks to make detailed calculations where possible – and best estimates where not – based on the kind of data we generate through our day-to-day business.

Our most detailed data relates to business travel and commuting, so we are able to be highly accurate about our carbon emissions relating to travel. Our data is less granular when it comes to our wider supply chain, and as such we have followed the guidance to create a series of broad estimates based on the amount we spend on various types of goods or services to do our work.

Our data has been passed up to Welsh Government for verification and validation, and will be published in January 2023. This will then form the baseline for future planning for carbon reduction across all of our activities.

In the meantime, we are able to use our experience of the exercise to plan for how we can increase the accuracy and decrease uncertainty in our data for future years. We’re considering weaving carbon reporting into our day-to-day data handling so that the emission levels generated by every activity are captured on a running basis. This will allow us to make emissions-based decisions at any point when planning tasks or projects.

We’re also targeting areas of the data from our wider supply chain where the carbon emissions estimate appears high relative to the activity. In these areas we will work with operational teams and suppliers to generate better data, for example through requesting suppliers’ energy usage data. This way we can increase the accuracy of our carbon figures and decrease the uncertainty in the overall report.

This carbon report is among the first steps we’ll be taking to manage our emissions down to the 2030 target. We’ll share our progress as we go along.

Stephen Bailey-John, Operations Manager

22/11/2022

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