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Carbon Assessment Project


Scottish Enterprise (SE) wants to understand and minimise the impact of its economic development projects on the environment, and particularly on climate change. SQW was commissioned to: calculate the carbon emissions from a sample of projects, both during the project delivery phase and over the long term; produce an approach to calculating carbon emissions that can input to the project development process; and advise on the practical implementation issues relating to the calculation of the carbon impact of economic development projects.


A new quantitative model was developed (the Carbon Impact Assessment Model) which builds on the tools and techniques developed in existing models, drawing particularly on 2009 guidance issued by Defra and the DECC on measuring and reporting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The model was developed through consideration of the carbon impacts of nine sample projects, selected to be representative of the wide variety of SE interventions. It was refined through consultation with SE Project Managers and the Strategy and Economics Team. SQW ran a workshop for SE Project Managers on the carbon accounting process, where feedback was gained on provisional carbon impact assessments for sample projects. Because of the time and cost of undertaking detailed carbon assessments, SQW also developed a Carbon Assessment Lite (CAL) model, which is an easier to use qualitative model.


The CAL model is now being applied by SE Project Managers to the vast majority of projects. The CIA model is a more in-depth, quantitative tool which is intended for further trial and development within SE, and will initially be used to assess the carbon impact of SE’s largest projects.


Several steps were recommended to allow SE to further develop the CIA: piloting the tools on a wider range of sample projects and incorporating feedback into their design; further aligning CIA with EIA to streamline data collection and ensure consistency of approach; considering how CIA can be combined with EIA within an integrated project assessment framework (e.g. utilising a shadow price of carbon); formalising the geographical and temporal scope of the assessment, particularly with regard to long term emissions; and keeping track of developments in carbon accounting and reporting, and aligning SE’s CIA process with commonly accepted standards. Other recommendations were made regarding: a roll-out plan for training SE staff in the use of the CIA tool; embedding carbon accounting into SE’s decision making processes; and refining the methodology to allow more accurate calculations for Scottish-based emissions.

Author SQW
Published Year 2010
Report Type Research
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