Residential energy – will it become part of company carbon reporting?

29 May 2020

Residential energy – will it become part of company carbon reporting?

Companies such as Mastercard, Facebook and Twitter are looking at long-term remote work policies and as more and more organisations contemplate a return to the “new normal” there are questions over what this means for carbon reporting.

At IMS, we think that the outlook will depend on how the pandemic plays out. Working from home may significantly increase but this will depend on the prevalence of the disease throughout our populations, the actions taken by employers to protect their employees, and whether there will be a long-lasting shift as a result of these changes.

Working from home will inevitably result in questions over who is responsible for the energy used in home working, and who should take responsibility for the carbon emissions of home offices. As Green Biz state in their article here the pandemic began at a time when heating and cooling demands were low as most of the country was experiencing temperate weather. Green Biz state that according to Noah Goldstein, director of sustainability at Guidehouse, there aren’t great calculations for what the GHG impact of working from home would be. The guidance is that companies are responsible for “additional” energy use, but that is hard to determine without baseline calculations.

According to Green Biz, Goldstein said “I can foresee some companies accounting for working from home in their 2020 or 2021 footprint, but very, very few in number.”

We believe that, as with so many other matters that have arisen from the Covid-19 pandemic, there is likely to be a question mark over the long-term reporting requirements until practices become more permanent. It will likely be down to an organisation as to whether they take working from home into account in their 2020 carbon reporting.