Reporting your Carbon Emissions – Guidance for Regularly Funded Organisations

2nd November 2014

Reporting your Carbon Emissions - Guidance for Regularly Funded Organisations

This resource provides guidance and tools for any organisation looking to report on their carbon emissions within Creative Scotland's 2015-2016 Annual Reporting requirements.

Why report your carbon emissions?

Creative Scotland has introduced mandatory carbon reporting for all Regularly Funded Organisations which will take place for the first time in Autumn 2016 via their Annual Report to Creative Scotland. This will cover activities funded during the period from April to March every year from 2015-16 onwards.

Creative Carbon Scotland has been working with Creative Scotland to develop an easy and accessible reporting framework. RFOs will use the Environmental section of Creative Scotland’s Annual Statistical Survey reporting form to provide information on emissions. Where possible emissions will be calculated automatically from the data you provide.

What emissions do you need to measure?

With reporting due annually, from autumn 2016, we recommend gathering emissions data on your organization’s activities over the course of the year. This data can then be reported as a carbon footprint when you fill out your Annual Report.  

You need to measure emissions relating to the following key areas:

– Energy and water consumption (if you pay for these utilities)

– Waste production (both landfill and recycling)

– Travel (business travel, artist travel, touring)

During the first year of carbon reporting, you will spend most of your time defining the scope of your activities and answering questions such as: Where do the boundaries of a company’s activities lie?  This is an important process to profile your organisation’s carbon emissions, and will serve as the foundation of your reporting year on year.


How can information on your carbon emissions help you?

Besides being central to your reporting, the measurement and collection of carbon data is also useful to you as management information. Robust measuring often reveals unnecessary, runaway or preventable carbon emissions, enabling organisations to reduce their impact by identifying the key areas for improvement.

This standardised reporting can also help you compare your emissions and resource consumption with similar organisations, helping you to identify examples of good practice and potential savings areas. Many organisations will experience the double win of reducing energy bills and related emissions, by identifying energy-saving techniques or better ways to travel.

How can you calculate your emissions?

We offer a range of tools and advice to help you get started with measuring your carbon emissions. Click here to access our full list of resources.

We also offer training workshops and one on one advice for organizations starting to measure their emissions, as well as online resources in our Green Arts Portal, and sharing best practice through the Green Arts Initiative. Click here for more information about the support you can receive.


What should you focus on?

For those organisations which pay utility bills, energy use and water data should be relatively easy to gather, as bills from suppliers and meter systems should provide most of the information.

We recommend recording readings regularly throughout the year. This can be weekly or monthly depending on your access to meters. Try to avoid relying on estimated bills. Maintaining a record in a simple spreadsheet will help you to keep an eye on any unexpected increases in usage.

For waste data, record the amount of landfill and recyclable waste which your office or venue generates. Small amounts can be estimated by counting the number of bin bags going into central collections. For larger amounts you should use reports provided by your waste contractor. Conduct regular waste audits to make sure that your waste is going in the right streams. Make sure that you complement any recycling targets you set with appropriate signage to encourage responsible disposal.

Travel may also form a significant part of your carbon profile, but we are aware that travel data is more difficult to provide. For gathering data about travel, sign up to our free, web-based tool  to streamline your travel expenses claims and associated carbon calculations. Make sure you request mileage data from courier or van rental services that you use to transport equipment, set or props while travelling on tour. We would not expect you to include commuter travel in your travel reporting

For organisations that work in a rented space where someone else pays the energy bills, you should focus on your travel and waste. You will not be expected to provide data on utilities unless your landlord can provide this.


Environmental policy

RFOs will also be asked to develop an environmental policy by March 2016. Your policy doesn’t need to be a weighty document that gathers dust your office shelf. It should be something into which everyone has regular input and understands. We realise that for many organisations this will be your first year of carbon reporting and therefore your environmental policy will reflect this, so keep it simple and practical.

Click here to read our Environmental Policy Guidelines.

What will happen to your emissions information?

The information provided by you will not be used to make an assessment of your ‘emissions performance’. Instead, information from organisations and individuals will be collated anonymously to help provide an understanding of the level of carbon emissions related to Creative Scotland’s expenditure. Creative Carbon Scotland will work with Creative Scotland to analyse the information provided to place it in context and ensure its accuracy and relevance. This work will also help to further develop and refine the reporting forms and guidance.

Don’t worry if you can’t provide all the emissions data, as we are more interested in you trying the process out than accurate and complete information – we will all learn from the experience.

Although there is an overarching aim to reduce carbon emissions, no crude targets are being set for year on year reductions. The activity of arts organisations is discrete rather than continuous, so one year’s programme may differ widely from another, with corresponding changes in carbon emissions.  Organisations also often work in old buildings where measurement is difficult, and travel is part of the job. So the first task is to understand your carbon profile by measuring and reporting.

Get in touch if you want help or need answers to any questions. Contact us at or on 0131 529 7909.

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About Creative Carbon Scotland

We believe cultural and creative organisations have a significant influencing power to help shape a sustainable Scotland for the 21st century.

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A project initiated by Edinburgh’s Festivals with key partners the Federation of Scottish Theatre and Scottish Contemporary Art Network

Edinburgh Festival City Federation of Scottish Theatre Scottish Contemporary Art Network