Revised Scope 3 tool launched

19th January 2021

We are pleased to announce that the Scope 3 emissions tool for the education sector - called the HESCET Tool - has been updated and is now available for use via your HEPA account. We encourage all member institutions to use the tool and look at the updated figures for input into the EMR (Estate Management Report) returns. 

EAUC have been working closely with HEPA (Higher Education Procurement Association, the Responsible Procurement Group and UKUPC (UK Universities Purchasing Consortia) over the past year ensure the tool is updated as it was considerably out of date. 

If you have any questions please contact your purchasing consortia or contact HEPA. To download the HESCET Tool click here. If you do not have a HEPA account you can register for free here.

Whilst the HESCET Tool was created initially for universities, EAUC members - both universities and colleges who are not part a purchasing consortia or a HEPA member can access the tool here.


For a number of years, the UKUPC has been providing their membership with annual Scope 3 emission reports for monitoring and reporting purposes. The reports are issued following a process of collecting and analysing members non-pay spend data and then further breaking the spend down into Proc HE level 2 categories. 

The spend against each Proc HE code is mapped to a defined list of DEFRA categories for which conversion factors - calculating value to carbon - are allocated.  This data is then input to the Higher Education Supply Chain Emissions tool (HESCET) where the final report is produced.

Some institutions undertake this process themselves using the HESCET tool. This tool was originally created in 2009 by funding from HEFCE (Higher Education Founding Council for England) and has not been updated until now. 

Universities use the report in a number of ways and the content will be useful to procurement, estates, and sustainability teams - the data can be submitted as part of your EMR returns.


Over the past year, members of the Responsible Procurement Group Scope 3 sub-group, UKUPC, EAUC and HEPA have been working with DEFRA and academics to update the conversion factors used in the HESCET tool.  

The conversion factors used had not been updated since 2009. Since then, the materials, methods of production and in some cases logistical methods of delivery have changed drastically. The updated factors take these changes into account.

In 2009, 75 categories were established by DEFRA to break down and map spend levels to in the calculation process; the number of categories has now increased to 311. Additionally, more geographical zones have been included (previously it was just UK, EU or rest of world). This all means that the reports that higher education institutions will receive will have a higher level of accuracy and detail.

Whilst the changes will improve the accuracy of the information provided it will also, inevitably, result in some cases of large differences in figures when compared to previous years and this should be noted.

Further information regarding year-on-year changes to conversion factors is available here.

The tool is now formally owned by HEPA / BUFDG and as such, all updates to calculations can be managed and controlled centrally. If you require any further information, please get in touch.

HESCET last updated February 2021 at version 3.4.
The updated tool was initially released in January 2021 but a bug was subsequently discovered.  The tool was therefore withdrawn, the bug removed, and the fixed tool was released at version 3.4 on 12 February 2021.

Please see below an explanation on the data changes.

Future Work
The tool is now formally owned by HEPA / BUFDG and as such all updates to calculations can be managed and controlled centrally. 

During the update from the 75 DEFRA categories to 311, the categories have shifted from an industrial to a domestic focus.  It is recognised that this may not be the best methodology with which to calculate Scope 3 in a University setting.  Over the course of the next year the HEPA Responsible Procurement Group Scope 3 sub-group will investigate how other sectors are approaching this challenge, the methodologies used, and how the HESCET tool can be further updated in the future to best meet the needs of members.
Revised Scope 3 tool launched image #1