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What is the DQS score and why does it matter?

This article provides an explanation of the Data Quality Score (DQS), why it is important, and how to improve your score.


The Data Quality Score (DQS) is a critical indicator of the reliability of the data used to calculate your emissions inventory. It plays a pivotal role in ensuring the accuracy of your emission calculations, which is essential for effective emissions management and informed decision-making. In this article, we will delve deeper into the significance of DQS and provide guidance on how to improve it.

Understanding the DQS hierarchy

The DQS is determined based on a hierarchical structure, which is as follows:
  1. Supplier-specific data verified by a third-party: Data obtained directly from your suppliers and independently verified by a third party is considered the gold standard for data quality. It offers the highest level of confidence in the accuracy of your emissions calculations.
  2. Supplier-specific data: While not independently verified, data provided directly by your suppliers still holds a considerable degree of reliability. It forms the second tier of the DQS hierarchy.
  3. Physical activity data: This category includes data like kilowatt-hours (kWh) for electricity consumption. It provides a more granular understanding of your emissions sources and contributes to higher data quality.
  4. Spend data: Spend data, such as the total dollar amount spent on air travel, offers insights into your emissions but is less precise than physical activity or supplier-specific data.
  5. Industry benchmark data: At the bottom of the hierarchy, industry benchmark data is based on economic data from your company. While it provides a starting point for emission assessment, it is less accurate due to its reliance on averages.

Why and how to improve your DQS

Improving your DQS is crucial for several reasons:
  1. Accuracy: Higher data quality leads to more accurate emissions calculations, reducing the risk of errors and miscalculations in your inventory.
  2. Decision-making: Reliable data is essential for making informed decisions regarding emission reduction strategies and sustainability initiatives.
  3. Credibility: A higher DQS enhances the credibility of your emissions inventory, which is vital for reporting to stakeholders, regulatory compliance, and building trust with customers and investors.
To enhance your DQS, consider the following steps:
  • Supplier engagement: Collaborate closely with your suppliers to obtain accurate and verified data. Encourage them to participate in third-party verification processes.
  • Data collection and validation: Implement robust data collection processes and validation checks to ensure the accuracy of the information you gather.
  • Regular updates: Continuously update your data to reflect changes in your operations and supplier relationships, ensuring that your inventory remains accurate over time.
In conclusion, the DQS is a pivotal metric in emissions inventory management. By understanding its hierarchy and taking proactive steps to improve your data quality, you can enhance the accuracy of your emissions calculations, make informed sustainability decisions, and build credibility in your environmental reporting efforts.