The beginning of a new calendar year is usually met with a flurry of activity, new goals, projects and renewed motivation all around. This does not mean that the last year can be forgotten, however. The start of a new year brings along with it an increase in regulatory activity, with agencies around the globe requiring data submissions from private entities, such as emissions reporting information. Regulatory compliance is never simple, and especially where a company holds multiple international locations, it can be difficult to keep track of what is due when—and to whom. Nonetheless, ensuring compliance is important, and missing a deadline or failing to report required information altogether can lead to hefty fines, public relations nightmares, and company growth consequences, in the worst case.  

This article, as well as the table attached,  provides an overview of the major emissions reporting requirements in the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union.

 

Reporting for the United States

Toxics Release Inventory

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) requires facilities to report annually on the amount of certain chemicals they emitted to the environment, be that through air or water emissions or land disposal. The TRI also collects information on how facilities managed their chemicals through recycling, energy recovery or treatment in the past year.

To trigger TRI’s mandatory reporting requirements, facilities must employ 10 or more full-time workers, be in a sector covered by TRI and use one or more of the listed TRI chemicals in a quantity above the reportable threshold levels. A full list of all covered sectors can be found on the EPA website, and includes industries such as mining, manufacturing and waste collection, amongst others. Facilities can use their North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Code to determine whether they are covered by the TRI.

TRI reporting is only required if the facility uses, manufactures or processes a listed TRI chemical. A consolidated list of all reportable chemicals exists under Sections 302 and 313 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). These include chemicals that may cause “cancer or chronic human health effects, significant adverse acute human health effects or significant adverse environmental effects.”  The list currently includes over 650 chemicals.

Reporting under the TRI is due July 1 of each year for data from the previous reporting year, although the reporting form for the Reporting Year 2018 is still in draft form.

The TRI was created to track how certain toxic chemicals, which often pose a threat to human health, are managed by facilities in various sectors. TRI is also intended to help inform policy and legislative decisions regarding such chemicals.

Facilities report online using the EPA online tool. Further information is also available at the EPA “GuideME” tool.

 

Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program

The EPA Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (GHGRP), found under 40 C.F.R. Part 98, creates a comprehensive, nationwide emissions database. The program requires facilities that meet the inclusion criteria to report their past year’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The reporting requirement falls to the facility level, meaning that each facility that emits over 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent per year, supplies products that would result in CO2 emissions of over 25,000 metric tons if oxidized, combusted or released and that receives 25,000 metric tons (or more) of CO2 for underground injection purposes is required to submit their emissions to the EPA. There are 41 industrial categories that require reporting, although most small businesses or facilities will not meet the 25,000 metric ton threshold and therefore are not required to participate in GHGRP. GHGRP is applicable both to direct greenhouse gas emitters, fossil fuel suppliers, industrial gas suppliers and more.

The annual reporting deadline is March 31. When this falls on a Sunday, as it did in 2019, the deadline is April 1. EPA requires that facilities self-certify the data submitted, which EPA will then verify independently.

The aim of the GHGRP is to collect nationwide greenhouse gas emissions data to inform the future development of policies and programs to reduce emissions, as well as to better understand the sources of greenhouse gases in the U.S. Certain sectors such as agriculture and land use changes are not included in the GHGRP.

The reporting requirement of the GHGRP applies on a facility-level, meaning that every facility meeting the threshold will be required to be reported, even if the company owns multiple facilities meeting the inclusion requirements of GHGRP. The data must be submitted online through. EPA’s electronic greenhouse gas reporting tool also has an online help desk with FAQs organized by subject.

 

Reporting for the United Kingdom

Corporate Reporting Requirements

Under the Companies Act (Strategic Report and Directors’ Report) Regulations 2013, companies with any business presence in the UK are required to submit an Annual Directors’ Report. These requirements were expanded by the Companies (Directors’ Report) and Limited Liability Partnerships (Energy and Carbon Report) Regulations 2018.  Now, alongside the Directors Report, companies quoted on a stock exchange as well as large unquoted companies and limited liability partnerships (LLPs) are required to submit a non-financial statement reporting on the companies’ current and foreseeable impact on the environment. This can include information on emissions, energy use as well as steps taken to reduce environmental impact.

The non-financial statement is required of all traded companies that are listed on either the London Stock Exchange, an EEA market or the NASDAQ New York Stock Exchange. The statement is optional for companies listed on other indexes. Further, large non-traded companies must also submit a non-financial statement if they meet two of the three inclusion criteria; employ 250 or more people, show an annual turnover of over GBP 36 million, or have a balance sheet above GBP 18 million.

The deadline to submit the Director’s Report and non-financial statement accompanying it will be company-specific, based on which financial year the company subscribes by.

The non-financial statement requirement aims to encourage companies to evaluate and minimize their environmental impact. Its goal is to incentivize companies to undertake energy reduction initiatives, as these need to be included in the statement.

Most companies will be able to file online, using the UK government companies’ house web portal.

The guidance document provides companies with an overview of what they will need to report, including carbon emissions and energy use. It also outlines how companies can report for multiple facilities by issuing only one report.

 

Reporting for the European Union

European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register

The European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (E-PRTR) covers all 28 European Union (EU) member states as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Serbia and Switzerland. It requires facilities that meet the inclusion criteria to report where they exceed the threshold for releases to air, water or land as well as off-site transfers to certain pollutants.

Facilities have to report under E-PRTR if they fall under the list of economic activities listed in Annex I of the E-PRTR Regulation and exceed the prescribed amounts for at least one of the E-PRTR pollutants (91 pollutants across 7 groups, which include greenhouse gases, heavy metals, pesticides and inorganic substances, amongst others).

Facilities must annually report to the relevant agency in their member state. Therefore, the exact annual date will depend on the individual country. In May, the EU-wide register is then updated with the info received in the past year.

The European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register aims to collect data as well as inform the public and interested parties regarding any pollutant breaches. This data can also be cross-referenced with the data on the European Emissions Trading Scheme to evaluate facilities’ overall performances.

Facilities report to the relevant local agency in each Member State. Therefore, how to report will depend on the location of the individual facility. Once local agencies have collected information, they report it to the European Environment Agency.

EU Emissions Trading Scheme

The European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) is a trading system for CO2 or carbon dioxide equivalent emissions, and is applicable throughout all European Union member states. It requires facilities to monitor, report and verify their emissions, and then surrender emissions held.

The EU ETS applies to facilities with stationary installations that carry out an activity listed in Annex I of Directive 2003/87/EC, which are required to hold a greenhouse gas emissions permit issued by their member state. All facilities meeting this criteria are considered to be participants in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, even if other facilities owned by the company are also included.  

Participants in the EU ETS must measure and report their emissions during each calendar year, and report the results by 30 April to the relevant authority of the member state. They are also required to surrender their allowances equal to the total emissions by 30 April.

The EU ETS aims to curb greenhouse gas emissions throughout Europe. The scheme has been carried out in multiple phases and is currently in Phase III. Each member state is given a certain number of emissions to distribute to facilities located within the nation, and additional emissions must be bought. As is the case in the European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register, facilities must report, verify and surrender their emissions directly to the national regulator, which then compiles and sends the information to the European Union. Nonetheless, the 30 April deadline applies throughout the EU, no matter whom the facility is reporting to.

 

Conclusion

This article aims to provide a snapshot of global emissions reporting requirements, focusing on the U.S., the U.K., and EU-wide requirements. Reporting requirements, including what to include, how to report and whom to report to, as well as the timing of reporting, can all vary immensely, even within emissions reporting. As such, it is crucial for companies to maintain an overview of their obligations and ensure that they collect their data accordingly throughout the year, therefore simplifying the reporting period at the beginning of the next year.

 


 

On Environment: Reporting Chart

Country

Reporting Requirement

What to Report/Who Must Report

When to Report

Jessica’s Tip

Canada

National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI)

Facilities with:

  • Greater than 20,000 hours of staff time (employee + contractor) per year
  • At least one of the following activities taking place:
    • Wood preservation
    • Fuel terminal operations
    • Pit/quarry operations
    • Operation of stationary
    • Combustion equipment
    • Waste/sewage sludge incineration
  • The use, release, manufacture, process of an NPRI listed substance above the threshold

Must report the following:

  • Releases
  • Disposals
  • Transfers

Of specific pollutants/substances.

Check out the Government of Canada (Gouvernement du Canada) resources page and note that there is a 2018-2019 list that includes threshold levels.

Keep in mind that the Canada Gazette notice includes the official list- it is linked under the section “Before using the NPRI substance list.”

  • June 1st of 2019 for the 2018 calendar year (the website link below explains that June 3 is this year’s cut- off given that June 1 is a Saturday)
  • June 1st of 2020 for the 2019 calendar year

Tip: For the 2018-2019 list, you can use the filter to search for specific substances!

Tip: Don’t be late! When in doubt, report before the deadline if you can.

Canada

Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (GHGRP)

Any person operating a facility that:

  • Emits 10,000 tons of CO2 equivalent (10kt CO2 eq.) or greater – which is the reporting threshold of Schedule 1 GHGs or
  • Has emissions at the reporting threshold and is classified under the NAICS and is engaged in specified Schedule 3(1)(b) activities or
  • Engages in CO2 capture, transport, injection or storage

Must report (and must do so for each separate activity).

For more details, see the Gazette notice.

June 1, 2019

Tip: The key here is 10,000 tons of CO2 equivalent.

Tip: Carbon capture, storage, injection and transport trigger this reporting requirement.

Tip: Note that the Canada Gazette notice of Jan. 19, 2019 for the 2018 reporting year.

Tip: If you reported in 2017, but you determine that your facility doesn’t meet Schedule 3 criteria, your deadline to notify the government is also June 1

USA

Toxics Release Inventory (TRI)

Facilities with:

  • 10 full-time employees or more
  • In a sector covered by TRI
  • That use (manufacture/process) one or more of the listed TRI chemicals above the reportable quantity/threshold level during the year

July 1, 2019

Tip: EPA’s electronic reporting tool is TRI-MEweb.

Tip: The EPA has a “GuideME” tool that provides helpful information.

Tip: Note that the reporting form for Reporting Year 2018 is still in draft form

USA

Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (GHGRP)

Facilities that are fall into one of the 41 “source”

categories and that have:

  • Over 25,000 metric tons of CO2e emissions per year
  • Supply products that would result in over 25,000 metric tons of CO2e emissions should the products oxidize, combust or be released
  • Receive 25,000 metric tons (or more) of CO2 for the purpose of underground injection

March 31, 2019 (Because this is a Sunday, reporters have until Monday, April 1 to report)

Tip: Keep in mind that it isn't just CO2 that you need to be aware of, it is CO2 equivalent as well.

Tip: If this is a company’s first reporting year, it needs to register its facilities and assign a Designated Representative. It can be stressful to try to register facilities and submit reports simultaneously as the deadline approaches, so don’t wait until the last minute and reach out to the e- GGRT help desk if you need assistance.

UK

The UK Government released updates to it “Environmental reporting guidelines: including Streamlined energy and Carbon Reporting requirements” the last day of January 2019. The Companies Act 2006 (Strategic Report and Directors’ Report) Regulations 2013 and The Companies (Directors’ Report) and Limited Liability Partnerships (Energy and Carbon Report) Regulations 2018 are available online.

Companies that are:

  • Incorporated in the UK, quoted, and listed on (or deal with shares of) at least one of the below exchanges:
    • London Stock Exchange – main market
    • European Economic Area market
    • New York Stock Exchange
    • NASDAQ
  • Incorporated in the UK and required to prepare a “Directors’ Report” (despite being “unquoted”)
  • Large Limited Liability Partnerships (check the “Companies Act sections 465 and 466 for definition of “large”)

Must report items such as global energy use/GHGs in Directors’ Report.

Company-specific. New guidance takes effect on April 1, 2019.

Tip: Read “guidance” as “requirement” if you fall into one of

the categories of companies described on the website. Be clear about what is mandatory and what is voluntary.

Tip: Want a flow chart to work through? Check out page 32 of the PDF.

Tip: If your company’s annual Directors’ report deadline is after April 1st, this guidance will apply to you for this reporting cycle.

Even if your reporting just concluded, this will be around for your next cycle, so it is good to prepare now.

European Union

European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register

Facilities within one of the 28 EU Member States and Liechtenstein, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland and Iceland that fall under one or more of the 65 economic activities from Annex I and exceed one or more capacity thresholds. Facilities must indicate whether they:

  • Transfer waste off-site in quantities that exceed Article 5 thresholds
  • Transfer wastewater to treatment plants with pollutants above the Annex II (column 1b) thresholds
  • Release pollutants that exceed Annex II thresholds for specific media (e.g. air, water, land)

 

And, Article 5 of Regulation (EC) No 166/2006

Annual reporting

Tip: Each country must report to its applicable agency – check the reporting deadlines for your country

Tip: UK may be affected by Brexit

Tip: Want FAQs? Go here.