• Posted on May 24th, 2022

Environmental reporting for NPOs – Q&A responses

Exhibit illustration at Manchester museum showing a moth pattern overlaid repeatedly

This Q&A is in reference to the 21/22 reporting period. View the latest guide and user demonstration on the NPO reporting page.


In the NPO reporting webinar held on Wednesday May 4th, we had lots of questions from you. We hope the below will help when preparing your reporting for submission this year – we’ve grouped responses around popular themes. If you have any issues, please contact us.

Watch the recording of the webinar 

Business travel

  • Would this include all commuting to/from work or just extra trips, ie for a conference?

  • Is it just travel in work data that they need? Or travel to work too?

  • Is business travel just covering paid staff or artists too?

  • Is that the same for car travel e.g. 2 people travelling 10 miles by car would be 20 miles?

Business travel does not include employees commuting to work. Business travel is data collected based on travel conducted for the purposes of the business by employees  and travel conducted within business hours (excluding lunch and personal travel).

Personnel travel is similar but it is tied to projects such as touring, events and productions, for example, artist travel, speakers etc. Who is considered an employee for the purpose of data collection is up to your own discretion as a business, for example, freelancers could be considered an employee if you have the capacity to collect their data.

Flight and Train travel takes an individual calculation regardless of whether you travelled as a group or not. For more information on what to enter, follow the instructions shown on the ‘i’.

  • We did a travel survey for one week as a pilot exercise.  Can I use this as a baseline for reporting?

Yes, a travel survey can be used to create your own estimates to use as baselines for reporting.


  • If you are based in a co-working space, are we expected to report for the whole building despite us just being a very small part of that space or how do we best report on this?

No, you are not required to report for the whole building. If you cannot access specific bill information that applies to your part of the building. You can use your floor area and find out the total floor area, then divide your floor area by the total floor area to create a factor. Find out the energy and water consumption for the whole building and then multiply it by the factor. For example, if you occupy 1000 ft^2 the whole building is 100000 ft^2, the factor is 10000/100000= 0.1. If the building uses 50000KWh of electricity, then calculate your share by x 0.1, so 50000*0.1= 5000KWh.

  • If the org doesn’t have an office or building should you include home use?

For NPO reporting, we do not currently count home office data as it is not part of your pre-existing ACE requirements, however, you can create a footprint for your own use. Please clearly label all data related to home offices on CG tools.

  • If we use space in a public building for some of our work, or if employees work from home part-time, do we include partial data from those ‘buildings’ in our report?

If you are required to report building data, please aim to enter this information, so yes please enter that information on the tools

  • If I zone off our offices, I don’t think I can get the energy and waste breakdown in these areas – are these just left blank with a note that they’re recorded as part of the full building? It would likely be the same for big events

You can make a footprint that takes in a total calculation for all buildings rather than zoning off the data into separate buildings. As long as the data is there, there is no issue with that way of doing things.

  • Can you please specify what are considered business hours? For example our office hours are 10:00-18:00 for our office based staff, but show get outs can be much later at night?

Business hours whenever you are conducting business activities, it is up to your own discretion based on how your business operates.

Cultural venues

  • Do you publish anywhere the footprints of other venues (or typical figures or averages) which would give us context for our current footprint so we can see how we’re doing and put this in context?

The benchmarks used on the tools is based on this study To compare your organisation with similar buildings and venues, you can find the information the tools through the results tab and click on benchmark, adjust the filter for the desired comparison

Action plans

  • Our original Environmental Action Plan ran from 2018 to 2022 – I am assuming that means the financial year 22/23.  This has been updated each year with new actions under the headline objectives.  However for the Arts Council we are now looking at beyond 2022/23.  Should the Action Plan submitted in June be for the financial year 2022/23 under the original objectives OR should it now be looking to reflect beyond into 2023/24 and the 3 year environmental ambitions in line with the environmental responsibility investment principles?  For 2022/23 onwards, our action starts to look very different from the original action plan as we have re-focused our efforts!

Your environmental policy and actions are expected to to be updated year based on an increased understanding of your impacts. You are expected to upload the most up to date version rather than it covering a specific year. So it is up to you how you approach the update to your plans


  • Hi we are on the district heating system – how do we record this?

Might be best in this case to ask your heating supplier for the best approach to find out your specific consumption.


  • Could you give some tips on collecting data from staff? Do you have any templates?

Using surveys is a great way to collect data from staff. To understand staff travel for example, here is a good template from Derby City Council.

  • I haven’t used projects before – just buildings. How would I calculate the energy, water and waste for a project – a one night theatrical event?

When you click on “New Project” on the Data tab, choose ‘indoor event’ and theater, it will generate the footprint where you will be able to add all this information.

  • For organisations that have their office and arts centre in the same building, will there be a problem when filling in the report, anything to watch out for?

It is usually fine to just separate the data into different footprints. Main thing to look out for is double counting, so where there is a risk that an impact can be duplicated, just put it into one of the footprints instead rather than trying to separate the data.

  • We don’t report on buildings, just touring. Do I just skip this part or do I need to do anything specific?

If your funding agreement states your requirements are just for touring you can skip the buildings section.

  • We’ve just moved back to a building after over a year of renovations, should we look at data from temp offices/wfh that we used instead?

You should look at the data that is relevant to your reporting year. So If you were in the temp offices for the year 2021/22, then you will have to report on those impacts

  • Do I make a new footprint for every tour/ show date?

It will be much easier to create one for the same ongoing tour, but just ensure data is relevant to the year of reporting.

  • We’ll also be hiring out office space to other organisations within our building – how do we report on this in the future?

For new requirements, if you are given new funding then it is best to ask your ACE relationship manager about this and relay the agreements to us if necessary.

  • Why has Creative Green certification stopped, and is there any replacement rating/certification planned?

After many years of amazing progress across your environmental journeys, the Creative Green Certification will not be open for new sign-ups this year.

We are focused on an exciting period of CG tools development, improving the functionality and ease of access of these to help you easily and broadly measure your impact, and look forward to updating you soon.

If you are interested in working with the JB team, wherever you are on your sustainability journey, from an early to advanced stage – our consultancy team can help create a programme of activities to energise and catalyse lasting environmental change within your organisation or network. Please contact the Creative Green Team for more info.

  • What emissions figures do you use to calculate the CO₂e for hotels and ‘friends/rented accommodation’ in the Tour section?

The government releases conversion factors every year, and there is section on hotel stays in their main CSV document.

  • You mentioned adding heat pumps to the ‘onsite renewable energy’ – is that right? Our heat pumps use electricity from the grid, so I’m wondering what you mean/what we report?

Heat pumps require electricity to work but operate on 120-300% efficiency, so it takes heat from the air or ground and generates 1.2-3X more than what it takes in. Meaning it creates more thermal energy than the electricity it takes in, so the energy created is classed as renewable.

  • For building electricity emissions, the tool presents your supplier’s and the grid national average. But the figure used for the overall footprint is the grid national average – is there any way of changing this? (Seems less accurate than using the actual supplier?)

​If you are on a renewable tariff but do not produce onsite energy, then you are taking directly from the grid, however, you are also making an investment into renewable energy. It is more accurate to use the national grid figure in that case, as you are not getting electricity directly from your supplier. However, you can present the supplier figure alongside the national grid figure in communications, but it is best practice to use the national grid figure as your primary emissions number.

  • There’s no option to include a “green” gas tariff. I’m wondering what your thoughts are on this? (I know gas isn’t really that “green” even if it’s biogas, but our supplier does claim to be ‘carbon neutral’…!)​

Carbon neutral can refer to just offsetting the carbon that is produced. You correctly noted, gas is rarely green, many renewable suppliers still use natural gas and simply offset it. The official stance at Julie’s Bicycle is that offsetting is not as meaningful to the goal of net zero or zero carbon as actual reductions.

  • Can we download previous data that we might have submitted?

Yes, on the results tab, there are several ways you can download the data you want to review into a CSV, XLS, PDF.

  • If you have company travel associated with a production, where does that go?

This would go under personnel travel when you produce a project for the production.

  • Is it possible to have 1 to1 support as new to business?

Yes, if you require one on one support, we will be offering this on Wednesday mornings, just email first with any questions you have.


  • Is there a section where we can report data on the impact of digital use (both from an operational and creative perspective?)

  • Do you supply information about digital emissions – streaming, emails, web hosting and so forth

We do not currently have a section where digital impacts can be reported and calculated to produce an emissions report. To learn more about digital impacts, we produced a digital briefing in 2020.

You can also refer to The Networked Condition, a digital emissions tool developed by one of the ACE Accelerator projects by Fast Familiar, Abandon Normal Devices and Arts Catalyst.

If you’d like to join the next webinar live, register below. Please note, this is a duplicated webinar.

Register for the next webinar

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Delivered in partnership with Arts Council England as part of their Environmental Programme to National Portfolio Organisations 2018-2022.




Image: Manchester Museum – Photo by G. Gardner