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Why is it important to use actual data and not estimated data in an emissions inventory?

An emissions inventory is only as good as the data that is used to create it. 

The true value of an emissions inventory lies in the data that underlies it. Once this data has been collected and analysed, organisations have a powerful tool which can be used to drive further sustainability action. Creating an emissions inventory not only allows organisations to identify and understand their baseline emissions but also identify opportunities for efficiencies and reductions within their top emission sources.

In order for meaningful action to be taken, it is imperative to ensure that your emissions inventory is both accurate and representative of actual operations. Using actual data is the best way to ensure this. An emissions inventory is only as good as the data that is used to create it. 

This means that when emission sources are estimated, there is a possibility that these sources may not be representative of what is actually occurring through an organisation's operations. Of course, not all data may be readily available as you complete your first few emissions inventories. However, by understanding data requirements as well as the value that comes from this process, updating data management procedures to collect relevant data will strengthen your inventory over time. 

In order to develop a strong signal to stakeholders and position yourself as a leader in sustainability, having an understanding of your emissions is imperative. Quite simply, the more actual data that goes into your inventory, the more representative your inventory is.