Greenhouse Gas Emissions

  2015/16 2014/15
Scope 1 1,351,192 1,105,242
Scope 2 157,089 148,917
Scope 3 56,764 56,966

Total gross emissions 1,565,044 1,311,125

Green tariff electricity offset (2,041) (1,018)
Exported renewable energy reduction (up to total amount of electricity purchased and consumed by organisation) (155,048) (147,899)

Total annual net emissions 1,407,955 1,162,208

Biogenic emissions outside of scopes 1,767,878 1,214,455

Intensity measure: tCO2e (gross scope 1 +2)/£100,000 revenue 112 tCO2e / £100,000 revenue 92 tCO2e / £100,000 revenue

1 Tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent

Scope 1 (direct emissions) Activities owned or controlled by our organisation that release emissions straight into the atmosphere, for example the combustion of fuels in company owned and controlled stationary equipment and transportation, emissions from site based processes and site based fugitive emissions.

Scope 2 (indirect emissions) Emissions released into the atmosphere associated with our consumption of purchased electricity, heat, steam and cooling. These are indirect emissions that are a consequence of our activities but which occur at sources we do not own or control.

Scope 3 (other indirect emissions) Emissions that are a consequence of our actions, which occur at sources that we do not own or control and that are not classed as Scope 2 emissions.


Change in Group emissions

Our overall net emissions increased by 21% between 2014/15 and 2015/16 (see table on page 45) primarily as a result of the addition of new Energy Recovery Facilities (ERFs) that became fully operational during 2014/15. The proportion of Group emissions assigned to such plants has more than doubled in the year as we seek to move our focus away from landfill towards investment in energy recovery.

Our emissions intensity measure of tCO2e/£100,000 revenue also increased from 92 tCO2e/£100,000 to 112 tCO2e/£100,000 as a result of the Group’s emissions growing at a faster rate than its revenue.

South West Water reduced its carbon emissions to 158,891 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) (2014/15 166,370 tCO2e). This was in part due to a reduction in the emissions factor applied to usage of imported electricity from the national grid which, as a result of a fall in coal-fired electricity generation, reduced by almost 7% between 2014/15 and 2015/16. Bournemouth Water (which, having been acquired in April 2015, is included in Group reporting for the year 2015/16 only) was responsible for 1% of total Group net emissions in 2015/16 with a carbon footprint of 16,844 tCO2e.

Viridor’s overall emissions increased to 1,354,686 tCO2e (2014/15 1,111,906 tCO2e) although emissions from landfill operations continued to decrease.



Methodology and approach

We have retained last year’s approach in applying the ‘equity share’ methodology for Viridor and its subsidiary companies. This means that emissions from joint venture operations can be accurately attributed to the company in proportion to the percentage of Viridor’s holding. The remaining companies in the Group continue to use the ‘financial control’ approach. This is the conventional method for parent companies and subsidiaries within a group that have the ability to direct financial and operating policies and retain the majority of the organisation’s risk and rewards.

Quantification and reporting

We have followed the Government’s guidelines for mandatory greenhouse gas emissions reporting published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in June 2013 (and updated in October 2013). In calculating our emissions we have used the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard (revised edition) and the web-based conversion factors provided by DEFRA.

We have adopted the revised emissions conversion factors published by DEFRA in 2015, which are based on a higher rate for the global warming potential (GWP) of methane gas.(1) Despite this, emissions from our landfill operations have continued to decrease, falling a further 3% between 2014/15 and 2015/16.

Bournemouth Water was acquired by Pennon Group on 15 April 2015 and accordingly Bournemouth Water’s emissions have been included in this greenhouse gas report for 2015/16.

Organisational boundary

The emissions listed here cover the Pennon Group of companies, each of which uses the financial control approach, with the exception of Viridor, which uses an equity share approach.

Operational scopes

We have measured our Scope 1 and 2 emissions and certain Scope 3 emissions where information is available.

Intensity measurement

We have chosen an intensity measure of Scope 1 and 2 gross emissions in tCO2e per £100,000 revenue.

External assurance statement

Our greenhouse gas emissions data has been independently verified by Strategic Management Consultants who tested the assumptions, methods and procedures that are followed in the development of the reported data and audited that data to ensure for accuracy and consistency.

Carbon offsets

We rely on self-generated renewable energy to reduce our overall Scope 2 emissions. We supplement this with power purchase contracts with third parties for renewable energy through private wire where it is available near our sites.

Renewable energy export

Pennon Group self-generates more electricity than it uses and much of its renewable electricity generation is exported to the national grid. We account for this exported renewable electricity in our net emissions measure where we subtract ‘emissions credits’ up to the limit of our gross volume of Scope 2 emissions.


(1) The GWP of methane gas has risen from 21 to 25 times the GWP of carbon dioxide under the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is in line with the calculation of emissions for UK GHG Inventory reporting under the Kyoto Protocol.