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Carbon Accountant

The role of a Carbon Accountant involves defining, quantifying, analysing and reporting on an organisation’s carbon footprint. This includes completing greenhouse gas calculations and offering advice on carbon reduction to businesses.

Carbon Accountants can act either as consultants (advising other companies on how to reduce their emissions) or they can work in-house, for companies that want to conduct carbon reduction work internally. Depending on the organisation you are working for, and the number of team members, the number of projects on the go at any one time can range from one to 50+.

Carbon accountant sat in front of a laptop

The information in our job profiles aims to give a general overview of the role and a guideline to what it involves. The content is not intended to be exhaustive and roles will vary depending on the organisation and sector. The salary ranges are a guide only, as these are dependent on the size and location of the organisation.

Trainee Carbon Accountant salary range
Experienced Carbon Accountant salary range
Senior Carbon Consultant salary range

How does this role align to the green agenda?

Businesses are becoming increasingly concerned about sustainability, with climate change often being at the forefront of these concerns. Only by measuring and quantifying a carbon footprint can appropriate and relevant carbon-reducing measures be put into place, to align with the UK’s net zero target of 2050.

Carbon Accountants can therefore help first-hand in the fight against climate change by calculating carbon footprints, allowing businesses to take the next steps in reducing their emissions and becoming carbon neutral.

Some businesses can initially approach a carbon project with scepticism, or with a simple need to meet compliance regulations. However, by the end of the baseline reporting year they become much more aware of their own impact on climate change.

Carbon accountants discussing organisational performance

Skills and capabilities

Technical knowledge

  • Data analysis, mapping and presentation
  • Digital intelligence and proficiency, including use of Microsoft applications
  • Ability to read and understand environmental policies, frameworks, and standards
  • Knowledge of climate change, the impacts of greenhouse gases, the basics of a supply and value chain
  • Rudimentary knowledge of business, business affairs, operations associated with various sectors and industries including energy.

Transferable skills

  • Problem reframing and resolution
  • Effective communication
  • Analytical thinking
  • Relationship development, networking and the ability to build rapport
  • Attention to detail and ability to spot miscalculations or uncertainties
  • Creativity
  • Innovating

A day in the life

The process often starts with a scoping exercise to understand the nature of the business and identify any potential emission pathways. This can include in-person site visits or online workshops with an organisation’s staff. Following this, the carbon footprint can be quantified by collecting activity data from an organisation for all applicable scope 1, 2 and 3 emission categories; this is often the most time consuming yet essential part of a Carbon Accountant’s role.

When the final footprint has been calculated, emission hotspots are identified to create bespoke carbon reduction plans to align businesses and organisations with the UK net zero target of 2050. These carbon reduction plans can include things such as renewable energy projects, behaviour change initiatives, vehicle changes and waste management procedures.

Carbon accountant analysing a graph
Typical duties and responsibilities include:
  • Conducting daily data analysis – you are likely to receive different data throughout the week from different businesses and so data analysis is an ongoing task
  • Attending daily project meetings where all team members can catch each other up on the progress of each project. You will also regularly communicate with clients, answer their queries, and guide them through different standards
  • Creating value chain maps using digital mapping software
  • Attending local and national business shows and networking with potential future clients and businesses
  • Researching new environmental, climate and business legislation that may impact the way you need to measure or report on an organisation’s carbon emissions
  • Attending online seminars by organisations in similar fields to widen your understanding of emissions reporting
  • Writing reports to comply with PAS and ISO standards; this is important as it means your work is compliant with internationally recognised standards.

The role is desk-based for around 90% of the time, so it can be done remotely or in an office environment. The ability to travel is beneficial when visiting clients; however, if your role includes only desk-based data analysis then it is not essential. Site visits make up the other 10% of the time, enabling Carbon Accountants to accurately understand the nature of a business for which it is going to report emissions, and minimises the likelihood of missing potential emission pathways.

Entry routes

Potential career progression

Carbon Accountants may progress into roles such as:

Senior/Principal Carbon Accountant

Verifier or Lead Verifier

Sustainability Officer or Sustainability Manager

Energy Consultant

ESOS (Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme) Assessor

Relevant sectors

Carbon accountants are now needed in almost all sectors; however, there is a particular focus in the following:

  • Construction and the Built Environment
  • Consultancy
  • Manufacturing
Carbon accountant assessing the supply chain

Learn about the green agenda across different sectors

Information kindly supplied by:
Auditel logo

Auditel is a member organisation, providing several carbon management services, such as strategy, planning, delivery and solutions, to clients across the UK.

Success stories

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IEMA is the membership body for environment and sustainability professionals