Leveraging accounting practices to embed greenhouse gas emissions in decision making: A Blackpool Unitary Authority case study

Prosser, Millie (2023) Leveraging accounting practices to embed greenhouse gas emissions in decision making: A Blackpool Unitary Authority case study. Masters thesis, UNSPECIFIED.

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With current global policies putting us on track for 2.9 C of warming by 2100, urgent and ambitious action is required to operationalise the Paris agreement and keep us ‘well below 2C’. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) state that to close this mitigation gap sub-national entities must be leveraged, calling for sustainability reporting to be mandated and enforced. This mitigation gap is unlikely to be closed without robust sub-national targets, baselines, monitoring, and reporting, including scope 3 consumption-based emissions. At present, target ambiguity is widespread and is undermining robust emissions management. In the UK, local authorities are struggling to make sense of disparate guidance and respond to grass roots and top-down pressure to decarbonise. A strongly devolved approach to local authority net zero support has emerged which has placed English authorities at a disadvantage as 52% reductions in spending power, resulting in severe under resourcing, is exacerbated by the lack of statutory or clear guidance articulating the nature of local authorities’ role in the net zero transition. By working closely with Blackpool Unitary Authority as a case study partner this research considers and interprets the wealth of authority applicable guidance and develops an iterative, applied approach to indirect emissions management using spend-data. A proof of concept, informed by discussions with key staff members and access to working and management practices, is presented. It simply demonstrates how Blackpool’s spend data can be used to estimate and begin to manage indirect emissions in-house to (i) embed GHG emissions more fully organisationally (ii) build carbon literacy (iii) spread emissions accounting burdens across the organisation by utilising existing performance and accountancy practices. This is supplemented with a three-stage iterative approach to refining data quality, calculation methods and emissions governance that is grounded in public and private sector best practice net zero strategy.

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Thesis (Masters)
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Research Output Funding/yes_internally_funded
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14 Aug 2023 09:40
Last Modified:
12 Sep 2023 00:58