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Low-Carbon Reporting:
How To Get It Right

Once you’ve delivered part or all of your low-carbon plan, you‘ll want to know if it has been effective. Not only that but reporting on greenhouse gases is required by law for some businesses and will be for many more in the near future.


Plus, high-quality data allows you to publish any environmental successes to support your marketing and PR agenda.


Measuring your low-carbon success doesn’t need to be complicated. We‘re sharing the tools to help you adopt UK Government guidance, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), and Green House Gas (GHG) protocols to baseline, evaluate and support the disclosure of carbon footprints.

Browse the resources we’ve compiled for you and, remember, we‘re here to take the weight off your shoulders - just ask if you have any queries on carbon reporting.

Corporate SECR guidance

SECR stands for Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting.

By UK law, companies that meet the following criteria must measure and report their carbon emissions (footprint) according to SECR guidelines. 

  • The company has 250 or more employees

  • The company has an annual turnover greater than £36m 

  • The company has an annual balance sheet total over £18m 

This law was put in place in 2019 and, in 2020, the Government extended the requirements to include College Corporations and Academy Trusts.

SECR is essentially a reporting structure the organisations need to meet but also helps to identify commercial opportunities by analysing data. 

As experts in data, energy, and reporting, Hillside can help you to develop a comprehensive SECR report and deliver sustainability objectives through:

  • Defining the scope of energy data relevant to your business and developing a reporting methodology to suit your organisation.

  • Helping you to understand the environmental issues that are applicable to you.

  • Managing the data for your entire energy estate, on your behalf. Validating utility bill information, identifying and correcting errors to produce an accurate compliance submission.

Image by Kumiko SHIMIZU

Watch our video to learn how to use the Hillside SECR tool

Our Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR) tool provides you with an easy-to-use solution to creating your SECR. All you need to do is to enter your raw data on energy and fuel usage and the tool automatically converts this into your carbon equivalent figures. It then produces your results in a best practice SECR format. 

Currently for EAUC Further Education members based in England, with plans to launch to a wider audience in the coming months. 


The tool is designed to help all kinds of organisations but is particularly useful for colleges and academy schools in England as the Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) recommends they submit their carbon reporting through the SECR framework.

Read Hillside's own Environmental Report to see what an SECR compliant report looks like 

Image by Kumiko SHIMIZU

This video clarifies sustainability reporting with the GRI in under 3 minutes

The GRI Standards

The GRI's (Global Reporting Initiative's) mission is "to enable organisations to be transparent and take responsibility for their impacts, enabled through the world’s most widely used standards for sustainability reporting."*

The standards cover a variety of topics, industries, and sectors and ensure that reports represent a true and fair account of an organisation's economic, environmental, and social impacts. 


Through the use of standardised approaches and principles, they enable the measurement of carbon footprint and emissions as well as other CSR variables. 

Why is this type of reporting important? If you don’t measure you won’t do! You need to understand baselines to set targets and make progress.

Hillside can help in building this reporting protocol for customers which includes:

  • Creating consistent carbon accounting and greenhouse gas emissions inventories.

  • Building the reporting tools to manage ongoing regulatory and voluntary carbon disclosure.

  • Developing evidence-based carbon mitigation and climate resilience strategies.

  • Managing measurement and audit performance.




Green House Gas (GHG) Corporate Standards & Protocol for Cities

The GHG Protocol is an international standard for carbon accounting (working out how much carbon dioxide equivalents an organisation or area emits). It establishes globally standardised frameworks to measure and manage greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. 


Unlike SECR (which we've explained above), this reporting isn't required by law for certain companies but does allow private and public sector organisations to measure their emissions in a comprehensive, factually correct way. GHG protocol works with governments, industry associations, and NGOs to ensure its guidance is relevant and effective.

There are two primary protocols: 

  • The GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard

  • The GHG Protocol for Cities

The former provides requirements and guidance for companies and other organisations measuring and declaring their greenhouse gas emissions.

The latter provides the standards and tools needed for cities to measure emissions, build effective emissions reduction strategies, set measurable goals for these and track their progress.

Hillside is an adept practitioner of both these GHG protocols and standards and can support you in implementing them.

Image by Kumiko SHIMIZU

Prefer videos? Watch this one for a short intro to GHG Protocols

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Image by Jason Abdilla

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