If you can't find an answer to your question here, please reach out to the team at apfootprint@ricardo.com.

About the scheme

Is it free to join the scheme?

There are no costs involved in joining the scheme, and the tool is completely free to download and use. Organisations only need to register for an account in order to keep up with the latest updates.

Why do businesses need to register for the scheme to access the tool?

The Air Pollution Footprint tool is regularly updated, based on the needs of users. When updates are made to the tool, we need to feed these back to the registered users. In addition, we are creating a community of organisations who are using the tool by organising events and sharing newsletters. 

What are the incentives for businesses to join the APFP scheme and to report on their air pollutant emissions data?

There are many benefits to joining the Air Pollution Footprint Partnership:

  • Join a group of pioneering, industry-leading organisations to represent environmental leadership and gain a competitive advantage. 
  • Demonstrate dedication to sustainable business practices, which in turn improves ESG profile and investment credentials through improved transparency and consumer trust. With the increased consumer consciousness and awareness of environmental issues, consumers and investors are increasingly choosing to spend with greener companies. 
  • Reporting on your organisation’s air pollution impact and how you are reducing it can help win new business and retain staff.
  • Benefit from scenario testing of emission reduction measures to assess their potential impact, which can support business cases or decision-making processes.
  • Strategically prioritise company policies to have the largest impact on emissions reductions. Better understand co-benefits with GHG emission reduction measures.
  • Improve the local air quality in their surrounding environment and improv the health of local communities.
How many organisations have signed up so far?

Before the launch of the scheme in June 2023, the tool was trialled in a pilot phase which involved input and commitment from 13 organisations. Since the launch of the scheme on Clean Air Day 2023 and at the Reset Connect event for London Climate Action Week, over 75 organisations have registered to the scheme. 

Are there any upcoming events being organised to meet other users and discuss their experiences?

The scheme has provided training for users which presents a step-by-step of how to use the tool, the practical applications of using the tool, and how it can feed into ESG/sustainability reporting. 

The scheme also provides networking opportunities so that users can come together and discuss the latest in air pollution reporting. You can see recordings of previous sessions and information about upcoming events in the ‘News’ page of the website when you login to your account. 

We send a regular newsletter and email updates to registered users to keep them in the loop. You can also follow us on Linkedin for relevant news and events. 

Is there a helpline for queries?

If users have queries or simply want to know more about the scheme/tool, please contact the APFP team via email at apfootprint@ricardo.com.

About the tool

Is there any guidance for using the tool? 

Yes, please visit this link to find the guidance on using the tool. You can also watch a short demonstration video and read further technical notes here, or access a full training session in the ‘News’ page of the website when you login to your account.

What is the format of the tool?

The tool has been developed in a user-friendly Excel spreadsheet format. It follows a similar structure to that of existing carbon reporting to make it easy to integrate results into the mandatory carbon reporting requirements. Estimates of air pollutant emissions are based on UK national data.

Which air pollutants does the tool cover?

The APFP tool concentrates on three important pollutants released when fuels are burnt: Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), and two variants of particulate matter; PM10 and PM2.5.

 What is the geographical extent of the tool?

The tool is currently aimed at UK businesses, as it is based on assumptions from the UK, e.g. the UK electricity mix. However, the APFP team would like to expand the tool more globally in the next phases of the scheme. 

What are the sectors that the tool covers?

The tool covers three key sources of air pollution which were identified in the scheme’s scoping phase: transport, off-road mobile machinery, and heat and power. More information about the calculations involved for each sector can be found here.

In which units are emissions being estimated?

For all air pollutant emission sources, the tool estimates the emissions in kilograms (kg).

How does the tool align to Scope 1, 2, and 3 GHG emissions?

The tool is built with the aim of using similar scope boundaries but there are some differences. Please see more information here

Is there scope to include other emission sources in the tool?

The APFP team would like to expand the tool to cover other key air pollution sources in the next phases of the scheme. We welcome feedback on what would be most useful for your organisation.

Can the Tier 1 & Tier 2 approach be combined for the same emission source?

Yes, Tier 1 & 2 can be used to report emissions from the same source, but caution is needed to avoid duplicating emissions. Please reach out to the APFP team if you are unsure about the best approach at apfootprint@ricardo.com.

What does ‘damage cost’ mean?

The quality of the air has an impact on human health, productivity, wellbeing, and the environment. Changes in air quality may be appraised using damage costs, a set of monetary impact values per tonne of air pollutant emission. The damage costs quantify and express in monetary terms the various impacts associated with small changes in air pollutant emissions. An additional tonne of air pollutant emission results in an additional damage, or “cost”. Further information can be found on the DEFRA website here.

 How much time and resources does an organisation need to report on their air pollution emissions?

For those organisations that currently report their greenhouse gas emissions, it is anticipated that the additional time required to report on their air pollutant emissions would be similar or less than that needed for carbon reporting. This is because the APFP tool requires the same input data for Tier 1 that is used for carbon reporting.

Who would be the best person in my organisation to work on air pollution emissions reporting?

If your organisation currently reports their GHG emissions, the team who are familiar with the data used for GHG reporting are likely best-placed to estimate air pollutant emissions, since the same data is also needed for the Tier 1 APFP approach.

How does air pollution emissions reporting relate to GHG reporting?

The Air Pollution Footprint Partnership tool allows businesses to estimate and report their air pollution emissions using the same data that they collect for GHG reporting. The more detailed calculations within the tool will likely require information that has not been collected for GHG reporting, but which is likely available for most businesses. The GHG Protocol Standard for Corporate Accounting and Reporting categorises emissions into three groups or “Scopes” . The same approach is used here to categorise air pollutant emissions. See the definition of air pollutant emission scopes here.

Do businesses need to share their emissions results once they have used the tool?

No, businesses do not have to publish their results with anyone outside of their organisation. Results can be used internally to inform the business on how to target their emissions reductions policies, to track their progress over time and for scenario modelling. You could also consider publishing your results formally alongside your GHG emissions, as some of the scheme participants are planning to do.

Reporting results

Are there any air pollution reporting frameworks?

There is a lot going on in terms of the reporting framework of GHGs, and in wider Environmental Social Governance (ESG) frameworks, but much less around air pollution is available. Only a couple of reporting frameworks exist, which are mainly based around planning and permitting agendas. The APFP is trying to close this reporting gap by providing businesses with the tools to report on relevant air pollution indicators and to compare their air pollution footprint progress to both industry competitors and to historical results from their company’s previous years, which is also important information to share with stakeholders and investors. You can learn more about existing reporting options here.

How do you define boundaries for air pollution emission reporting?

Businesses can define the organisational, operational, and temporal boundaries of their air pollution emission reporting within the APFP tool. In the “Company Info” tab of the tool, a business can define their boundaries by selecting the options from the drop down lists or simply by leaving comments in the text box provided. Please reach out to the APFP team if you are unsure about the best approach at apfootprint@ricardo.com.

How can reporting air pollutant emissions improve my ESG credentials? 

Air pollution is a common topic identified within ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) frameworks. Organisations that can provide information on their air pollutant emissions and improvement actions can increase their ESG rating and investor confidence. Organisations can use the APFP tool to report air pollutant emissions and take appropriate action to reduce these emissions. The key ESG benefits of doing this are summarised below:


  • Helping to protect the environment
  • Improving air quality
  • Supporting Progress towards net zero GHG emissions


  • Improving air quality and quality of life
  • Reducing the spread of airborne diseases
  • Decreasing the number of environmental triggers for conditions such as asthma


  • Supporting transparent environmental reporting
  • Helping inform wider business strategy 
  • Improving investor confidence


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