The European Investigative Journalism Conference

How to investigate big polluters in Europe

Curious about how one can investigate big polluters in Europe? Save the date May 21, 4:00 pm CET and join us at the Dataharvest conference for a session on how to track industrial emissions.

Register for the conference here

The UK has pledged that by 2050, the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by all the cars, homes and industry in the country will be net-zero. Manufacturing and industry – that are the drivers of the country’s economy and important job providers – often escape public scrutiny. A data-led investigation found out that 15 firms are responsible for around a sixth of all the UK’s annual greenhouse gas emissions.

The investigation was a cross-border collaboration between Sky News (UK), El Pais (Spain), Le Figaro (France), Le Soir (Belgium) and Gazeta Wyborcza (Poland).

“We used publicly available data from the European Trade System (ETS) to find the installations that produced more CO2 emissions in 2019, and we dug into companies’ public statements, news media articles, and companies’ account reports to track the parent companies responsible for each installation and therefore the emissions allocated in the ETS,” explains data journalist Carmen Aguilar García. They also considered the UK carbon budget, “in order to put the ETS figure into context in the wider picture of the CO2 emissions produced in the UK,” she explains.

The story made it to the top 10 Sky News story of the day.  In this session, Carmen Aguilar Garcia will take us through her investigation process, and share with us tips on how to deal with the ETS data, and replicate the methodology in other EU countries.

Read the investigation here