What are the ESOS qualification criteria for organisations?

ESOS applies to large undertakings in the UK and their corporate groups. It mainly affects businesses but can also apply to not-for-profit bodies and any other non public sector undertakings that are large enough to meet the qualification criteria if they are engaged in any “trade or business activities”.

A large undertaking is, on the phase qualification date:

  1. any organisation which has 250 or more employees; or
  2. any organisation which has fewer than 250 employees, but has an annual turnover exceeding €50 million and a balance sheet exceeding €43 million.

For the purposes of ESOS, the term employees includes employees and other persons engaged in the business of the organisation such as owner-managers and partners.  For a UK registered undertaking, this includes all employees contracted to the undertaking either in the UK or abroad.  For a non-UK registered undertaking with a UK establishment it includes all those contracted to the undertaking who are subject to income tax in the UK.  Please note, this is also the total number of employees regardless of the number of hours worked or contracted (not the number of full-time equivalent staff).

You must take part in ESOS if your undertaking is part of a corporate group which includes another UK undertaking or UK establishment which meets these criteria.  Where a corporate group participates in ESOS, unless otherwise agreed, the highest UK parent will act as a ‘responsible undertaking’ and be responsible for ensuring the group as a whole complies.  UK registered establishments of an overseas company will also need to take part in ESOS (regardless of their size) if any other part of their global corporate group activities in the UK meet the ESOS qualifying criteria.

Your organisation qualifies for the compliance period (phase) if, on the qualification date, it meets the ESOS definition of a large undertaking. Corporate groups qualify if at least one UK group member meets the ESOS definition of a large undertaking on this date.  All qualifying organisations must submit their completed report to The Environment Agency by the compliance date or they may be subject to substantial penalties.

Phase Compliance Period Qualification Date Compliance Date
1 6th Dec 2011 to 5th Dec 2015 31 Dec 2014 5th Dec 2015
2 6th Dec 2015 to 5th Dec 2019 31 Dec 2018 5th Dec 2019
3 6th Dec 2019 to 5th Dec 2023 31 Dec 2022 5th Dec 2023
4 6th Dec 2023 to 5th Dec 2027 31 Dec 2026 5th Dec 2027

If you are very close to the qualification threshold or have substantially increased or decreased in size in recent years you should read the full guidance to confirm if you qualify.  For more information on organisations that do not need to comply see section 1.2 of the full ESOS guidance.  Alternatively please feel free to contact us for a no obligation discussion with one of our ESOS Lead Assessors.

Public bodies are not included within the scope of ESOS as their energy efficiency is governed by a separate process involving regular Display Energy Certificates.  To find out more – click here.

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