10:10 methodology

Full details of 10:10 for businesses, schools and other organisations

What exactly are we aiming to reduce by 10%?

Doing 10:10 as a business, school or other organisation means making a commitment to aim for a 10% reduction across four key areas of your carbon footprint:

Grid electricity: This includes all electricity sourced from the national grid*. Your electricity supplier should be able to provide accurate records of this, but if your bills are based on estimated meter readings you should ensure you have carried out an accurate meter reading before the start of your 10:10 action year.

On-site fossil fuel use: For most organisations this means gas for heating and kitchen use, but it also includes other on-site fuels such as coal and heating oil**. Your fuel suppliers may be able to provide accurate records but if data is missing for any of this fuel use, then your organisation should (a) start tracking usage and (b) attempt to reduce it by 10% relative to a best estimate of the previous year’s total.

Vehicle fuel use: This applies to all road and marine vehicle fuels paid for directly by your organisation (but not to commuter journeys or trips taken by taxi or public transport). Organisations that don’t currently track this consumption in litres can use standard indices to convert the amount spent on vehicle fuels into litres. If your organisation does not currently keep track of this, it should (a) start tracking it and (b) aim for a 10% reduction relative to a best estimate for last year.

Air travel: The aim here is to reduce the carbon footprint of your organisation’s air travel by 10%. If your organisation does not currently measure this (many don’t), then you should (a) start measuring it, and (b) aim for a 10% reduction relative to a best estimate for last year. A good start is to simply avoid one in ten trips made by air.

Is that 10% in each of the four areas, or 10% overall?

The simplest way to meet the 10:10 challenge is to make the 10% saving in each of the four categories just described.  However, organisations that prefer can choose instead to aggregate the emissions from all four categories (using the Emissions Reporting Tool on the 10:10 website) and aim for a 10% reduction in the total.

What about our other emissions?

The four areas described above cover the majority of the carbon footprint of most organisations. Focusing on these allows us to keep the 10:10 ask simple and easy to understand. Of course, the ultimate aim is to reduce your organisation’s overall carbon footprint by 10%, so if your organisation’s operations also release refrigerant gases or methane, for example, you can choose to include these in your 10% target too – just enter the extra data in the ‘other emissions’ boxes in the 10:10 baseline tool.

When do we need to make the cuts?

The 10:10 target is a 10% reduction in emissions over a twelve month period (your action year) compared with the twelve months immediately before (your baseline year). 

What if our organisation is growing?

The ultimate aim of 10:10 is to achieve a 10% cut in your organisation’s total emissions, compared to the total emissions of the previous year.

However, operational emissions are often tied to turnover. If an organisation rapidly gets bigger, its emissions will tend to shoot up; if it contracts, its emissions will tend to fall.

For this reason, organisations may choose instead to make their 10:10 target relative to revenue or revenue budget. So if your organisation grows or contracts during your 10:10 action year, your target for emissions cuts will grow or decrease to reflect that. This is known as a reduction in carbon intensity.

For example, if your turnover increased from £100k in the baseline year to £105k during the action year, that’s an increase in revenue of 5%. So you’d increase your baseline carbon footprint by 5% and aim for a 10% cut from the resulting figure.

10:10 is about maximising near-term efforts to reduce carbon emissions, and we ask organisations to abide by this spirit when choosing whether to attempt absolute or relative cuts in emissions.

Can we sign up one branch of our organisation but not another?

There are established rules in the GHG Protocol and ISO 14064 to define how much of a organisation is included when signing up for a scheme like this (e.g. mergers, part ownerships, etc). 10:10 adopts these.

What about carbon offsets?

10:10 does not recognise carbon offsetting as counting towards a 10% cut because the whole aim of 10:10 is to reduce emissions directly.

How will our 10:10 progress be measured?

A key part of signing up to 10:10 is committing to keep track of your use of electricity, fuels and flights so that you can measure progress in reducing emissions. Once you have this data you can use the simple Emissions Reporting Tool, which you will be sent when you sign up, to see how your savings are adding up (you can see a demo version here). There’s no obligation to use the tool, but we think you’ll find it useful and it helps ensure you’re working out your emissions cut correctly.

Will we be audited or put in a league table?

No, there will be no independent audits – unless you want to commission one yourself – and no league tables. However, we do ask that before you make any public claims about the emissions savings achieved as part of your 10:10 action, you (a) run your figures through our online tool, and (b) make sure the documentation supporting your data is available to 10:10 on request.

How will our 10:10 participation and progress be communicated?

We strongly encourage every organisation signing up to do 10:10 to use our logo to communicate its participation during the action year. The more you show off the logo, the clearer it will be to your staff and customers that you’re doing your best to reduce emissions. And you’ll be helping to spread the word about the 10:10 project, too.

During the action year, we’d very much like to hear of any successful, innovative or funny ways that your organisation has discovered to reduce its emissions. 10:10 will help publicise the best stories through our media partners. 10:10 recognises all cuts as a success but those organisations achieving the full 10% can expect to feature prominently in coverage of the project.

At the end of your action year your organisation will be listed on the 10:10 register of successful participants and you can continue to use the 10:10 brand if:

(a) you report your emissions data to 10:10 using our online tool, and

(b) our online tool shows that an emissions reduction of at least 3% was achieved.

What about longer-term cuts?

10:10 is about making headway on the journey to a genuinely low-carbon economy, so we encourage organisations to approach the short-term challenge in a way that recognises the need for further cuts in the future.

More specifically, organisations should try to ensure that the emissions savings made during their 10:10 action year are locked in for the long term – and that the action taken will complement rather than impede longer-term further cuts. For example, this would mean opting for best-in-category efficiency ratings when installing new boilers, fridges and other equipment, as opposed to models that are only slightly more efficient than the ones being replaced.

Do we need to do anything else if we sign up?

Doing 10:10 is not just about reducing your own organisation’s emissions: it’s about becoming part of a national drive to reduce your entire country’s carbon footprint. As such, an important part of the 10:10 commitment is spreading the word and seeking to get other people and organisations involved.

One key way that organisations can spread the word is by encouraging their staff to sign up as 10:10 individuals. Helping them hit the target – by, for example, implementing a cycle-to-work scheme, having a weekly meat-free day in the canteen, or supporting lift-sharing or car-pooling – will reduce emissions directly as well as increasing staff engagement with your organisation’s emissions cuts.

Organisations can also make a big difference by telling your staff, customers, students, service users, members, suppliers, contractors and clients – everyone you work with – about 10:10, and inviting them to take part.



* Where heat or electricity is sourced directly from off-site generation such as a CHP installation, participants should ask the operator of the system for the carbon content per unit of energy provided. This figured can be multiplied by the number of units consumed to give a total carbon footprint figure, which can then be entered in the ‘other emissions’ box in the 10:10 Emissions Reporting Tool.

 ** Organisations signed up to 10:10 pre-April 2010 may choose to exclude emissions from hired vehicles from their 10:10 target, as per the 10:10 terms before this date.