Calculating our net carbon status

Looking up through the trees

The first step of the Carbon Positive Project was to calculate our organisation’s net carbon status. This is the balance between the quantity of greenhouse gas emitted by the organisation’s operations and the quantity of carbon sequestered in habitats on the NRW owned and managed estate.

Our approach

Calculating our net carbon status required two pieces of work:

1. Development of a greenhouse gas emissions inventory for NRW, quantifying emissions arising from assets and operations

We calculated our organisation's emissions across the full range our activities and operations, including buildings, transport, land, assets, and the procurement of goods and services.

This involved collating data on our activities and combining it with standard DEFRA/DECC emissions data to estimate our emissions, for example: kilowatt hours of electricity used in offices and pumping stations; litres of diesel used in owned cars and vans; and money spent on materials.

Our calculations followed guidelines given in the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Standard, and accounted for the six gases covered by the Kyoto Protocol in common units of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e).

2. Estimation of the carbon stored annually in the vegetation and soils of habitats on the NRW owned and managed estate, also reported in as CO2e

Alongside carbon losses and gains, total existing carbon stocks in each habitat type were also estimated to provide a full understanding of the carbon status of the estate.

We are working with industry experts including Forest Research and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology to provide the best estimates possible of carbon storage in woodland and peatland habitats.

An improved understanding of carbon storage in these valuable habitats and soils will help us to plan how we can best manage them to protect existing carbon stocks and enhance sequestration.

Where do our carbon emissions come from?

The project’s findings indicate the importance of taking a comprehensive approach to estimating an organisation’s net carbon status. Provisional results show that in 2015/6, NRW emitted greenhouse gases totalling 41,234 tonnes CO₂e.

The results show direct emissions were only a small percentage of total emissions, whilst the vast majority of NRW’s greenhouse gas emissions were indirect, for example, from the procurement of goods and services (55%), staff commute and homeworking (7%).

Figures on carbon sequestration are now being finalised and indicate that the organisation is storing more carbon annually than it is releasing through its operations.

NRW carbon footprint 2015 - 16


Scope 1 - Direct emissions to the atmosphere from activities owned and managed by NRW eg fuel combustion in owned boilers and vehicles.

Scope 2 - Indirect emissions to the atmosphere from the production of electricity purchased by NRW ie purchased electricity.

Scope 3 - Other indirect emissions that occur outside of NRW but are a consequence of our activities eg purchased materials, contractor services, employee commute.




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