Welsh Public Sector Net Zero: Data and Recommendations

13 June 2022

In October 2021 the Welsh Government set out its second carbon budget, Net Zero Wales, which confirmed the ambition of achieving a collective carbon neutral public sector by 2030. 

To support this ambition, our report summarises current carbon emissions estimates, provides insight into the distribution of emissions across the different parts of the Welsh public sector and identifies priority sources for action. It also identifies current gaps in information where organisations have not submitted data or have not included emissions from key sectors. 

The Public Sector reporting is not the same as the Emissions Inventory data. Rather than trying to get a completely accurate picture of the territorial emissions, Public Sector reporting is about mapping the emissions under the control (both direct and indirect) of an organisation. All scope 3 emissions are also the scope 1 or 2 emissions of another organisation but are reported to enable the public sector to map their boundaries of influence and tackle their emissions. The Inventory considers emissions at a territorial level to remove any double counting.

A good level of reporting has been achieved from public bodies which provides an excellent starting point for prioritising action for carbon reduction. There are some data gaps and these should be filled in the next round of reporting to enable a more accurate complete estimate of emissions across the public sector.

The current estimate for total Welsh public sector emissions is 3,353 kt CO2e in 2019-20 and 3,279 kt CO2e in 2020-21. These figures include estimates to fill gaps in the data (46% gap filled for 2019-20 and 11% in 2020-21). Whilst there are data presented for 2 consecutive years it is important to note that they are not fully comparable in terms of a timeseries for various reasons such as due to difference in the completeness of reporting and COVID-19 impacts.

The breakdown of these emission totals between different types of organisations is shown in Figure 1, with the data split by emission source and reported and gap filled data to show where gap filling was necessary. It does not include ‘out of scopes’ emissions or emissions classified as renewable energy


Additionally, we set up an online forum to provide Q&A support to Welsh public sector organisations for compiling their net zero emissions reporting, along with the Welsh Public Sector Net Zero Carbon Reporting Guide and the Net Zero Carbon Reporting Spreasheet, which have now been updated following further work and useful feedback. 

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