ESG Reporting

3 signs your carbon emissions are falling through the cracks

Learn how to tell if your company's emissions are falling through the cracks, and the 5 simple ways you can improve your reporting accuracy and compliance.

If you’ve been tasked with tracking your company’s carbon emissions, you may be struggling to get the full picture, especially if you're tracking lots of different emissions across your Scopes 1,2 and 3. But as companies scramble to comply with environmental regulations, and meet ambitious sustainability goals, emissions accuracy has never been more important. 

Why are businesses falling short on emissions tracking? A BCG survey concluded that the problem is not willingness - 85% of organizations cited concern about reducing their emissions. The problem is actually inaccurate and inconsistent data, with an estimated 30-40% error rate in their emissions calculations. 

We looked into the three most common signs that your company’s emissions are slipping through the cracks, and what you can do about it. 

Why your emissions are falling through the cracks:

1. Incomplete or inaccurate emissions data 

  • Missing or inconsistent data: If your emissions data is riddled with gaps, missing records, or inconsistencies, it shows there may be tracking issues, which will give you an inaccurate reading of your total emissions. Having incomplete data sets can lead to you under-reporting your emissions, which makes it even harder to set meaningful reduction targets, or comply with regulatory requirements.

  • Irregular reporting intervals: Just with financial reporting, consistency is key. If you don’t regularly update your emissions data, it’s hard to see patterns over time. Consistent, timely reporting is therefore essential to monitoring progress and staying in line with sustainability goals.

2. Lack of clear responsibility and accountability

  • Unclear ownership: If there isn’t a designated team or person responsible for emissions tracking and reporting, it means no one is accountable for the final output. This could be something to look out for, particularly in smaller teams, where there is no designated ESG or sustainability team. A lack of accountability means there will be issues when it comes to collecting, validating, and reporting the data.

  • Minimal engagement from senior management: If people at the top are not actively involved in or supportive of how emissions are tracked and reported, it’s a good indicator that sustainability is not a priority area for the business.

3. Inefficient or outdated emissions tracking methods

  • Relying on manual data entry: If your emissions tracking relies on manual data entry processes, you’re bound to see errors. Not only that but it can be a very time-consuming task. Automating how you collect your data is always going to be more efficient and accurate.

  • Outdated technology or methods: Using outdated tools and methods for collecting data can lead to major setbacks with the accuracy and efficiency of your data collection and management. If you don’t invest in modern monitoring technology, you may struggle to keep up with evolving reporting requirements and industry best practices.


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How to improve your emissions tracking and reporting:

Stop letting your emissions fall through the cracks, by following these simple strategies. 

1. Clearly define roles and responsibilities 

Accountability starts with clear role definitions. Even if there is more than one person collecting the information, the direction and methodology needs to be set by one person or a team of people, who will ultimately have to sign off on the final output. 

2. Invest in tools that can streamline emissions tracking and reporting 

Inconsistent and inaccurate data will cost you money down the line. Having a good carbon accounting tool, or streamlined ways of collecting emissions data will help you ensure that you're capturing the data you need for your emissions reports. 

3. Regularly review your emissions data 

Treat your carbon accounting like your financial accounting. Regular audits and checks will mean that you don't end up with any nasty surprises at the end of the year, and have to back track on all the work you've done over time.  

4. Get the C-Suite involved

If senior leadership isn't behind the work you're doing, you're set up to fail. Get senior management involved by showing them the financial and reputational benefits of reporting your carbon emissions. If that's not enough, you can explain the legal requirement to comply with the CSRD (Corporate Social Responsibility Directive)

5. Stay on top of climate regulations

If you're in charge of reporting on your company's carbon emissions, it's your responsibility to stay on top of developments in this space, because it will affect how and when you need to submit your emissions reports. 


Understanding the problem is key to solving it. Whether you're new to ESG or a seasoned professional, the key to getting your emissions on track is to ensure a consistent and methodical approach from everyone in the team, using up-to-date tools. With these things in place, you'll be able to improve how you track your emissions,  reduce your environmental impact, and get closer to your Net Zero goals. 


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