Reporting guidelines and methodology

Environment, Health and Safety data


We report on all global operations for which we have operational control, collecting energy, water and waste data, and emissions from refrigerant loss. Environmental and financial data covers full calendar years in line with our financial reporting. Although environmental data reported covers 100% of operations, we captured primary data in 2015 from 83% of our locations based on size.

Accident statistics are collected from locations covering 93% of employees by headcount.

Data reported is based on both primary and secondary data

Criteria for primary data capture are owned properties, data centres, warehouses and distribution centres, all UK sites included under the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme, and leased properties greater than 1,765 sq m (19,000 sq ft). These are Key Locations.

We also capture primary data from some smaller offices which are not classified as key locations. The category of Reporting Locations encompasses all sites for which we are able to capture primary data.

To calculate the impact of the remaining 17% of locations, mainly smaller leased properties with few employees, we identify locations by type (e.g., office, warehouse) and used our 2014 regional averages (calculated automatically by the Hara system) to estimate the balance. For these locations, we estimated electricity, water and waste impacts – all estimated waste is attributed to landfill. In 2015, we only estimated natural gas usage in countries where natural gas is used. As smaller locations do not tend to have back-up generation, we do not estimate diesel oil usage. In all shared buildings, impacts are allocated by occupied floor area.

We collect information on our travel impacts and paper usage. In 2015, we also estimated employee commuting and the impact of home-based employees.


We used an online data collection tool, Hara (also called VX Sustain), to collect energy, water, waste, and emissions from refrigerant loss. RELX Group Global Procurement contributed supplier information, including paper usage; and transport data was gathered from our travel supplier (covering flights for 90% of the business and excluding rail or other business travel modes). Environmental data was subject to internal validation and substantive testing, before being reviewed and assured by EY LLP.

In the USA, accident information is taken from OSHA reports. Outside the US, where reporting requirements vary, accident information is provided by the local HR contacts.  

Emission factors

We update emission factors to the most recently available each year to take account of improvements in generation and the supply mix.

Emissions factors used in 2015:

  • US Environment Protection Agency’s eGRID 2012  (released: 08/10/2015) factors for US electricity supply
  • UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) 2015 emission factors for  travel emissions (including air, car and commuting), and for diesel, natural gas,  and emissions from refrigerant loss, except in cases where more precise local emission factors were available from our energy providers
  • International Energy Agency CO2 Emissions from Fuel Combustion 2013 for electricity in the rest of the world

In 2013 DEFRA altered its carbon emission methodology. The updated emissions factors for the years 2010 to 2014 were applied to UK electricity consumption and restated in the 2014 Corporate Responsibility Report.

Supplier impacts (goods and services) were estimated by an input output model, using the Comprehensive Environmental Data Archive (CEDA) 4.0 database.

To better reflect the full environmental impact of air travel, the radiative forcing (RF) emissions factor has been applied to our air travel data for 2012 to the current year. This emissions factor is published in the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) 2015 document of conversion factors for public reporting.

Intensity ratio

Like many global companies, our portfolio changes regularly. To avoid continual recalculation of baseline data following a change in our business, we show results in both absolute and intensity terms. Intensity results are absolute results divided by revenue (£million).


Reporting locations provide primary data which is used to calculate estimated energy, water and waste figures for non-reporting locations. In 2014, this calculation methodology was updated to apply different estimates to a non-reporting location, based on the building function and country/ region.

Office energy figures for 2010 to 2014 has been restated to account for the reclassification of a site from a data centre to an office.

Accident rates for 2014 have been restated to account for two incidents which were reported too late to be captured in the 2014 data.


Gross emissions are the sum of Scope 1 (direct emissions), Scope 2 (indirect emissions) and Scope 3 (business flights) emissions. The activities covered are:

Scope 1

  • Natural gas
  • Diesel used on-site (e.g. to power back-up generators)
  • Liquid Petroleum Gas use on-site (e.g. as fuel for forklift trucks)
  • Fugitive emissions (e.g. refrigerant leaks from air conditioning equipment)
  • Fuel used by the company car fleet

Scope 2

  • Electricity (including renewable electricity)
  • City heating

The 2015 Corporate Responsibility Report includes a comparison of existing gross and net emissions with the new Scope 2 reporting categories of ‘Market’ and ‘Location’, as defined by the GreenHouse Gas Protocol.

The stated location-based emissions are calculated in the same way as the gross emissions. Market-based emissions are calculated using instrument/ tariff specific factors which may be more or less carbon intensive than the location-based factor. It may take a number of years before energy suppliers can provide accurate market-based factors. We will utilise location-based factors in the market-based emissions calculation until the market-based factors become available.

In the 2015 Corporate Responsibility Report, Scope 2 (market) emissions cover:

  • Standard electricity and green tariff electricity (location-based factor applied to both)
  • City heating (location-based factor)
  • US electricity covered by RECs was rated as zero carbon in this calculation

Scope 3 (business flights)

  • Business air travel

Net emissions cover the same activities as gross emissions with the exception of electricity supplied as green tariff or covered by RECS which have been retired from the market in the year.

The reported PUE figure is an average of our main data centres. PUE data is currently derived from different methodologies. While we have made progress toward standardising reporting methodologies in order to use average figures from across the year, not all data centre locations report in this way.

Video conference calls cover all video conference calls of between 30 minutes and 12 hours in duration. Video conference figures encompass outgoing video calls from all RELX Group locations.

Home-based employee emissions are calculated on figures covering more than 85% of the workforce. The UK average energy consumption of a home-based employee (derived from HM Revenues and Customs and Department of Energy and Climate Change information) has been applied to the global workforce and factored up to estimate emissions from all home based employees.

Community data

Our global community data reporting methodology is assured by LBG, of which we are members. The Corporate Responsibility Report includes an LBG assurance statement in the appendices section.

All charitable donations mentioned in the RELX Group Corporate Responsibility Report and Annual Reports and Financial Statements are calculated using the average currency exchange rates for the period.