Carbon Emissions Reporting by Danish Municipalities

Andreas Alexander Fussing & Johnny Vibholm Persson

Student thesis: Master thesis


The purpose of this thesis is to explain the underlying factors that influence the process of carbon emissions reporting by Danish municipalities and to understand the challenges associated with accounting for carbon emissions. The current reporting practices are explored by conducting semi-structured interviews with reporting practitioners in municipalities and through analysis of publicized reports on carbon emissions. The municipalities included in the study are randomly selected. The inclusion criterion is the publication of at least one carbon emissions report. The main findings are that the carbon emissions reports cover two types of inventory boundaries. Some municipalities report on all emissions sources from within the administrative boundary of the municipality. Others report as a corporate entity and account for all emission sources owned or controlled by the municipality. Some municipalities account for carbon emissions from both boundaries. The accounting process is a manual process without any automated controls and quality assurance is not a formalized process. The main purpose of the carbon emissions report is to support the municipality's decision-makers. The users of the reports, as well as a difference in available resources, seems to be some of the explanations for the diversity in reporting formats. Several challenges associated with accounting for carbon emissions occur in different parts of the reporting process. Most challenges occur in the data collection process and relate to the quality and accessibility of data. The main problem that arises is that completeness and accuracy seem to be at opposite ends of a continuum. They are inherently not incompatible, but it takes more resources than most municipalities have readily available to achieve both. The result being accounting does not fairly reflect the actual carbon emissions in all material respects. A shift is occurring as more municipalities move from corporate entity inventories toward Community-Scale Emission Inventories. This is an interesting observation since they have limited authority to influence the community-scale emission. Further research of this phenomenon is suggested since the empirical evidence is inconclusive in that regard

EducationsMSc in Auditing, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2021
Number of pages131
SupervisorsThomas Riise Johansen