13. Carbon Reduction

co2 cloud

Why measure this?

As well as monitoring institutions’ carbon management plans and targets the People & Planet Green League aims to track actual performance in reducing emissions. This criteria recognises those institutions whose ‘low-carbon transition pathway’ indicates they are delivering carbon reductions in line with the sector-wide cuts required. As in previous years, the People & Planet Green League awards points according to how closely an institution’s actual carbon reductions are to the linear trajectory that an institution would need to take to reduce emissions by 43% by 2020, from a 2005 baseline.

The allocation of points for this criteria is based on two different measurements of carbon emissions using data from the Estates Management Statistics: carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions per head for each institution, as well as the total emissions from the institution.

Carbon emissions per head is a measurement of, the total kg of CO2 equivalent emitted from energy use (oil, coal, gas, grid electricity, steam/hot water) divided by the population of the institution. Population is calculated according to a ‘full time equivalent’ measurement, for both staff and students. For the institution’s total emissions, this is taken from EMS data.

The criteria only quantifies direct emissions from energy, heating and electricity. It excludes significant other indirect emissions, for example from procurement, travel or flying as these are not currenly measured or reported in an accurate or uniform way. This criteria does not take into account the varying circumstances on campus such as the age of buildings, more energy-intensive research, how many animals are kept on site or the extent of campus-provided accommodation. Alternative indicators such as CO2 per metre squared of building space or per pound spent are equally open to such criticism.

How is this criteria assessed?

Total: 10 points

12 a) Institution’s carbon emissions per head.

0-6 Points


  • Point allocation is calculated by comparing carbon emissions per head with other institutions. You can view allocation of points from the previous year here.
  • CO2e emissions are calculated or taken from sections D38a and D38c of the Estates Management Statistics and Defra’s latest recommended conversion factors. Full details of the calculations, including conversion factors used is available online.

12 b) Institutional carbon emissions reductions compared to sector-wide carbon reduction targets from 2005 baseline.

0-4 Points


  • Current carbon emissions figures taken from “D38c Energy emissions” of EMS. Emissions data for 2005 taken from a variety of sources including EMS.
  • A linear trajectory towards the 2020 sector targets is equal to a 17.16% reduction since 2005.
  • No points are awarded for an increase in emissions.

Next: Water Reduction

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