What is SECR and why is it important for your business?

Understanding SECR is the first step towards achieving compliance

Since April 2019, large organisations have been required to make a public disclosure within their directors’ annual report of their energy use and carbon emissions.

This measure was created as a means of reducing the amount of carbon created by big businesses, in order to help tackle the ever-growing crisis of climate change. It is known as Streamlined Energy & Carbon Reporting, or SECR.

But what exactly is SECR, and which businesses are impacted by these legislations? We’ve got all the information you need to make sure your business is meeting compliance standards.

What is SECR?

SECR came into force on 1st April 2019 and has since acted as the UK Government’s replacement legislation to a number of existing and expired programmes covering energy, carbon reporting and taxation.

It is part of a wider effort to cut carbon emissions for larger businesses, as corporations still hold the lion’s share of accountability when it comes to pollution. In 2017, The Guardian reported that just 100 companies were responsible for 71% of global emissions[1], and in 2019 the paper confirmed that just 20 firms were responsible for a third of carbon emissions around the world[2].

Why do we need SECR?

Prior to 2019, the Companies Act of 2006 was the only legislation holding large businesses accountable for their carbon footprint. It required businesses to report their carbon emissions in annual reports and accounts, but under the Companies Act 2006, this was only required by FTSE Main Market companies.

With pressure mounting for the UK to meet climate change targets, the government launched SECR so that all large UK businesses were required to report their carbon emissions and energy usage annually.

Many may wonder why SECR is necessary when ESOS already exists. The Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme seems to have all bases covered, stemming from EU legislation, but it only applies to large entities under the EU definition and only requires reporting every 4 years. Because of this, ESOS alone cannot be relied upon to generate the year-on-year carbon savings required to accurately mitigate the climate crisis.

SECR offers accurate, frequent carbon reporting that streamlines multiple carbon and financial reports. This makes it easier to monitor and achieve reduced carbon levels.

Who does SECR apply to?

In order to qualify for SECR, large businesses must meet at least two of the following criteria within a financial year:

  • 250+ employees
  • An annual turnover of at least £36 million
  • An annual balance sheet of at least £18 million

Businesses that qualify will be required to report their UK energy use and associated greenhouse gas emissions related to gas, electricity and transport, among others. Not meeting the reporting requirements of SECR may result in accounts not being signed off, which in turn can lead to fines and civil penalties.

Consultiv Utilities can help you meet the criteria necessary for compliance

Achieving SECR compliance may seem like a daunting prospect, but Consultiv Utilities are on hand to help your organisation through the necessary steps.

Our experts can help you make sense of your energy contracts, in order to find the most competitive deals for your needs, while also ticking the boxes for SECR compliance. We are there to help you meet your sustainability goals, shrink your carbon footprint and promote a greener future for your organisation.  

With years of expertise under our belt, we are confident that we can cut your business energy costs in the long run. By working with you every step of the way, we will ensure that your utilities are manageable, transparent and in line with all aspects of compliance.

Are you ready to improve your energy outlook? Get in touch with the team at Consultiv Utilities today.


[1] https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/jul/10/100-fossil-fuel-companies-investors-responsible-71-global-emissions-cdp-study-climate-change

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/oct/09/revealed-20-firms-third-carbon-emissions