Innovation Exchange challenge: Carbon accounting tools for SMEs in the Welsh public sector supply chain

Seeking innovators with digital solutions to allow SMEs in the public sector supply chain to accurately calculate and report the carbon footprint of their goods and services.

Opportunity Details


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Up to £50,000 in project funding to build and trial the tool, plus the possibility of further adoption across public sector bodies.

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The Welsh Government requires public sector bodies in Wales to report their carbon emissions. Scope 3 (indirect) emissions, which include all purchased goods and services, can be the most difficult to quantify for a public sector body. This is because a public sector body cannot have direct control or detailed knowledge of all activities within its supply chain, and if the supply chain organisations do not have accurate carbon accounting frameworks, the public sector body must make significant assumptions when calculating Scope 3 emissions.

In an ideal scenario, these supply chain organisations would have access to easy to use tools to predict and calculate their carbon emissions. This would allow accurate reporting of Scope 3 emissions by public sector bodies, but would also give supply chain organisations vital data for measurement of their progress towards net zero. This would in turn allow public sector organisations to influence and incentivise supply chains to move towards net zero.

Bridgend County Borough Council (BCBC) declared their own climate emergency in June 2020, with emissions in 2019/20 of 90,241 tonnes CO2e (66,504 tonnes attributed to Procured goods and services), and are keen to explore how the region can meet Net Zero and to this end the Bridgend 2030 Net Zero Carbon Strategy was published as an initial strategic step in achieving this commitment.

Net Zero ambitions will be tracked by yearly public sector carbon accounting across all operations within the council, for which BCBC is already carrying out carbon accounting across their portfolio/estate. Internal contract management will be used to oversee decarbonisation progress and carbon accounting in both short- and long-term contracts meaning that all procurement through suppliers must show their data for carbon accounting. The council will develop a Sustainable Procurement Code of Practice to include a framework for assessing the sustainability credentials of suppliers at varying contract types and values; this will consider the evolving Welsh Procurement Policy Notes (WPPN). BCBC currently offer over 940 contracts and spend approximately £186m per annum with third party providers, of which there are over 8000 registered. BCBC want to support their local economy and supply chain, and understand that SMEs in particular struggle from inaccessibility of tools to measure and predict their carbon footprint. Unfortunately if these suppliers have not carried out and reported carbon their accounting, it could soon mean councils won’t be able to use their services.


The Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) and BCBC are looking for simple-to-use digital tools or systems that will enable SMEs in the public sector supply chain to easily assess and account for the carbon emissions of the goods and services that they provide, thus allowing for accurate Scope 3 reporting by public sector bodies.

It is intended that the selected solutions would be trialled by BCBC and a group of SMEs in their supply chain, with BCBC staff working with the supply chain to effectively implement and use the carbon accounting tools. Once the solution has been demonstrated and proven, there is potential for adoption across CCR public sector organisations.

Rewards & Benefits

Successful applicants will be given an opportunity to pitch their innovation to BCBC and CCR representatives for the chance to bid for up to £50,000 in project funding from the CCR Challenge Fund to build and trial the tool with BCBC. If trials are successful, there is the possibility of further adoption across CCR public sector bodies, which includes 10 local authorities.

The package may also include:

  • Support from KTN
  • Technical support
  • Invitation to attend or present at KTN events
  • Support if any Innovate or similar competitions are relevant.

Entrants to this competition must be:

  • Established businesses, start-ups, SMEs, individual entrepreneurs or academics.
  • UK-based or have the intention to set up a UK base

Partnerships and consortia of organisations are welcome to apply to this competition.

For a full list of requirements and details on IP and commercial opportunities, visit the Innovation Exchange site at the link below.


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