SECR: energy and carbon data in UK annual reports
With so much recent discussion of standards for Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) disclosure, particularly sustainability metrics, it is interesting to revisit the example of one country that is forging ahead with mandatory reporting. The UK’s Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR) legislation requires all large UK companies and LLPs, as well as all quoted companies, to report on their annual energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, and energy efficiency measures; other companies may also report on a voluntary basis.
XBRL reporting is not yet mandatory for SECR, but it is an available option now being put into practice. An SECR taxonomy released in 2020 allows businesses to report their energy and carbon data in structured XBRL format easily and conveniently, alongside the rest of their reporting when they file digital accounts with Companies House, the UK’s business registrar – a relatively straightforward add-on for filers since many UK firms are already using Inline XBRL for financial reporting. Companies are now using that taxonomy to file integrated SECR data for the reporting period ending 31 March 2020. We, and no doubt many others, will be watching this implementation with interest, particularly in how the integration of XBRL reporting contributes to the utility of the data and ease of reporting, and how SECR evolves to reflect international ESG standards as these coalesce.