Date: 17.04.2024

The Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism

There are 195 signatories to the Paris Agreement to limit their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, though some including the EU and UK have undertaken to cut carbon emissions faster than others.

The EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) continuously expands to include new sectors to encourage industrial decarbonisation. However, it also drives carbon prices upwards, which risks carbon leakage if consumers switch from buying EU-produced goods to purchasing substitutes from non-EU countries, that have lower emission requirements.

To combat this, the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) came into place on 17th May 2023 and is expected to be fully implemented by 2026. It is designed to counter the risk of carbon leakage by imposing a charge on the embedded carbon content of certain imports that is equal to the charge imposed on domestic goods under the ETS.

The UK CBAM is about a year behind the EU’s version and means that specified goods imported into the UK from countries with a lower or no carbon price will have to pay a levy by 2027.

Like the EU CBAM, unprepared businesses who import or export to the UK could face higher costs and carbon reporting challenges.

The UK CBAM is designed to tackle the most carbon-intensive industrial goods imported to the UK, by putting a price on the carbon footprint of the manufacture of products in the aluminium, cement, ceramics, fertiliser, glass, hydrogen, iron and steel sectors, with a consultation currently determining the precise list of products in the CBAM’s scope.

The consultation launched on 21st March 2024 and seeks views on proposals for the design and administration of CBAM. It is available on this LINK and closes on 13th of June.

The calculation of UK CBAM certificate price will be based on the carbon footprint of imported goods. Companies exporting to the UK will be required to pay a carbon price, reflecting the difference between the carbon price in the country of origin (if applicable) and the UK’s carbon price (which is currently one of the highest of all major trading partners).

The measurement of emissions for UK CBAM reporting is likely to be similar to the EU’s methodology for calculating CBAM emissions and declaring CBAM emissions.

In addition to the upcoming UK CBAM for imported goods, the UK already requires companies to report their carbon information through the Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR) policy.

Our MVT Eco module measures and monitors the emissions of every shipment, by every mode, with offsetting alternatives, so our customers can work towards carbon neutrality in their global supply chain. 

The MVT Eco module incorporates powerful reporting tools, which may be adapted to measure liabilities under the ETS and CBAM regimes.

To request an MVT Eco demo or to discuss any of the issues raised here, please EMAIL our CCO Andrew Smith.