2011 performance review
Read a strategic update about our carbon emissions in the 2011 CR Performance Review.
We measure our carbon emissions against the Greenhouse Gas Protocol's established categories of Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3. These depict the level of control we have over the emissions within each category.
We have greatest influence over our internal carbon footprint, which includes energy use in our own offices, such as electricity (Scope 2) and gas (Scope 1), and from our vehicle fleet (Scope 1). We have more limited influence over the carbon emissions from our power generation (the majority of Scope 1), which arise from the combustion of gas to produce electricity. We cannot simply stop generating power to reduce emissions because we have a responsibility to provide electricity for our customers. And, if we stopped generating power, we would still have to purchase the electricity from the open market, meaning the power we would be supplied would still have generated emissions, just at a different source. However, we can, and do, work to improve the efficiency of our power stations and support the development of renewable sources of generation.
The largest parts of our carbon footprint come from the generation of electricity that we purchase for customer use, as well as customer consumption of the gas that we supply to them (both Scope 3). Both of these areas are much harder for us to influence, and are driven primarily by Government policy.
Our carbon map shows where emissions lie across our value chain and the level of influence we have over each part.
Listen to Sam respond to Greenpeace on Centrica's commitment to renewables post 2020
Scope 1 includes the direct emissions from sources Centrica operates or owns (fully or in part). This includes direct emissions from power generation, gas production and storage, our commercial vehicle fleet (including long-term contractors), cars (business mileage), refrigerant losses and fuel (gas and diesel) consumed at Centrica buildings.
We are addressing the impact of the direct emissions from our vehicle fleet and property with clear carbon reduction targets. See more on how we are cutting carbon emissions from our property, fleet and travel.
But the biggest impact is from our power generation. This is much harder to set absolute reduction targets for as we must continue to meet consumer demand for energy and ensure security of supply. We cannot simply reduce supply in order to cut our carbon emissions.
Both our business and our markets' energy demands are projected to grow, which is likely to increase our emissions further in the future. Improving the efficiency of our power generation and investing in low carbon energy sources is therefore critical to mitigating this increase by reducing the carbon intensity of the energy we supply. In doing this, Centrica is playing a key role in meeting the challenge to decarbonise UK electricity generation as a whole. See more on how we are investing in lower carbon power.
Scope 2 includes indirect emissions from purchased electricity consumed by the company, including at our offices, and electricity imported and consumed at our power stations, gas storage and processing facilities. Electricity use at our power stations makes up around three quarters of our overall Scope 2 emissions.
Although our Scope 2 emissions are small compared to the footprint of Scope 1 and Scope 3, it is essential that we focus our attention on this area as well. Setting reduction targets and managing our own office energy use gives us the credibility to advise our customers on reducing theirs. It also helps to engage our own employees in our low carbon agenda. Our Green Teams of employee volunteers play an important role in raising awareness and helping to bring down our Scope 2 emissions.
Find out more about how we are cutting carbon emissions from our property, fleet and travel.
Scope 3 covers emissions that occur as a consequence of Centrica's activities but released from sources not owned or controlled by Centrica. These include air travel, rail travel, helicopter and shipping, as well as offshore and outsourced services such as data centres and call centres.
The vast majority of our reported Scope 3 emissions are from the power that we buy on the wholesale market for our customers but do not generate ourselves. We calculate emissions from this power using the average carbon intensity of the UK fuel mix. As we continue to generate more electricity from our own sources which are less carbon intensive than the market average, we will be able to reduce this aspect of our Scope 3 footprint.
We are also working to help consumers manage their demand and the advent of smart meters brings significant future capability in helping to reduce peak energy demand requirement. See how we are enabling customers to cut their carbon footprint.
We do not disclose Scope 3 emissions from the gas that we supply to our customers due to commercial sensitivities, although we do collect this data for our own internal use.
See our data centre for extensive carbon reporting metrics.