Quality control

IT and data veterans often repeat the adage Garbage In, Garbage Out’. Any standard is only as good as the quality of the data entered.

For the See Through Carbon Pilot, it’s particularly important for the initial dataset to be as accurate as practicable, in order to: prove the standard’s integrity and quality establish a solid baseline for incremental improvement * provide useful, evidence-based data to reduce carbon outside the scope of the standard, e.g. as AI training data

Data integrity and quality control

Checking and demanding evidence for every entry of every participant is time-consuming and impractical. Fortunately, it’s also unnecessary — human expertise and automated statistical analysis are just as effective.

Our carbon auditing experts are experienced at using well-established verification methodologies to ensure quality control and data integrity. By combining spot-checking random samples with statistical analysis identifing outlier data that requires confirmation and verification, these techniques can verify large volumes of data without having to verify every item submitted.

To use the ever-helpful analogy of a more robust accounting system we all take more seriously, this is the same approach used by government tax collectors with SMEs. They don’t have the personnel, resources, desire or need to check every single tax submission — just spot check a few at random, and query any responses outside the usual parameters.


Here’s a summary of the methodology See Through Carbon will apply for the pilot: Step 1: sign up 10% of the total number of SMEs in a given geography/​sector Step 2: randomly sample 5% of that 10% cohort and subject them to detailed, verified auditing, looking for statsitical outliers

This will generate a solid starting point for our Relative scoring system, and a credible basis for our Absolute carbon footprint score.

Our expert auditors then iterate the process to review and if necessary, re-calibrate the ratings as follows: Step 3: sign up 50% of the total number of SMEs in a given geography/​sector Step 4: randomly sample 10% of that cohort and subject them to detailed, verified auditing

How long this takes depends on the Pilot take-up, but once the system is stable and proven we can expand the Pilots to other areas: Step 5: Phase 2 of Pilot 1, applied to events venues in Cumbria Step 6: Pilot 2 in other parts of the UK * Step 7: Pilot 3 outside the UK etc.

Steps 5 onwards may not be necessary if the Pilot dataset is enough to convince big businesses to compel their SME supply chain to sign up to See Through Carbon.

Baseline for improvement

Every new SME signing up to See Through Carbon, and every phase of every Pilot, makes the database, and our scoring system. more solid, reliable, comprehensive and compelling.

As the database grows, automating the verification and auditing process becomes easier, as anomalies will be more obvious. Like self-assessment tax reporting, the system will only need to verify outliers, and conduct increasingy random spot-checks.

Built-in obsolesence

The sooner the See Through pilot succeeds, the sooner it will render itself redundant. The aim of the pilot is to make itself obsolete by replacing bottom-up voluntary uptake with top-down mandatory uptake.

It may take several iterations, in different geographies and different sectors, to accumulate enough evidence to persuade a large multinational business to stop paying for Carbon Auditing 1.0 proprietary standards, and start using See Through Carbon’s free service instead, but that’s the shortest route to measurably reducing the most carbon.

We welcome any interest in implementing See Through Carbon pilots around the world, but eyes are squarely on the prize of convincing large businesses to recognise See Through Carbon as the answer to their biggest headache — the looming dilemma of meeting more stringent demands for Scope 2 reporting.

Top-down beats bottom-up

Bigger businesses are coming under increasing pressure to provide accurate carbon reporting for their Scope 2 supply chain. Their supply chain is made up of SMEs, so if the bigger companies are serious about accurate measurement, and trust the accuracy of See Through Carbon’s Absolute score, it benefits all parties for them to mandate their supply chain SMEs to adopt it. It couldn’t be any cheaper, as it will always be free to use for the SMEs.

Mandatory top-down enforcement is much more effective than voluntary bottom-up persuasion.

Just consider which generates more money — tax collection or philathropy…