New unit definitions published to enable sustainability reporting

Posted on February 19, 2021 by Editor

XBRL International has published an update to the Unit Type Registry, adding additional unit definitions to support the wide variety of disclosures required for sustainability reporting. In particular, the new units will enable reporting of energy usage and efficiency.

The Unit Type Registry is a repository of standardised unit definitions that provide meaning to reported numbers. Each unit definition is tied to a data type – in the case of these new units that means a category such as energy, power, electric charge, temperature or pressure. This increases data quality by ensuring that only appropriate units are used for each reported fact.

Use of standardised unit definitions improves comparability of data, and, with conversion factors forming part of the unit definitions, even facts that use different units can be automatically compared. For example, one reporter can measure energy in Watt-Hours and another in Megawatt-Days, or different filers can report temperature in Celsius, Fahrenheit or Kelvin, yet their information can be considered side-by-side.

The additional units were approved this week to Candidate Recommendation status by the XBRL Standards board.

More information on the Unit Type Registry can be found on our specification site here.

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