Perseus – FAQ

All project overview documents, terms of reference, pricing, timelines, screenshot mockups, and lists of members are available from the Perseus programme page. If you have any other questions, please get in touch with us


1. Scope

Q: Are we building a database or an app?

A: No.  This is about creating the processes that enable data sharing that are compliant, legal, and can scale for many users and applications. It is additive to existing calculators and database initiatives and will help them work more efficiently and robustly.

Q: Is this just about electricity data?

A: No.  This is about creating the ‘rails’ for data flow at scale:

  1. Making collective decisions around standards, processes and materiality, technical implementations, legal frameworks, communications and policy
  2. Enabling assurable data to flow automatically for environmental reporting

We are starting with electricity data as a way to achieve these goals and build the ‘rails’ for data to flow. In parallel, the project will consider which other data flows will represent the greatest materiality and should be the next for which to automate sharing.

Q: How does Perseus relate to initiatives such as the Net Zero Data Public Utility (NZDPU), EU’s ESAP, XBRL, GHG accounting frameworks, etc?

A: Everything Perseus is doing provides additionality to those initiatives and does not duplicate them in any way. Icebreaker One’s work is already listed in the NZDPU’s White Paper as a potential part of the solution, it is working with XBRL and others in unlocking the data flow. Persues is focused on how to implement existing recommendations and emerging standards by providing automated access to the raw data they need.

Q: What’s the plan for this year, next year and beyond?

A: Our priorities for 2023 are to:

  1. Build a demonstrator of how this will work in practice
  2. Convene stakeholders to demonstrate that we can go far together

Q: What are the lessons from Open Banking and the national data strategy?

1. We are building on what works. Open Banking and Open Energy are existing programmes that enable the secure and trusted sharing of information between organisations, with the consent of the customer.

2. The programme is completely aligned with the UK Government’s Smart Data Council.

3. For more reflections on this approach, please see this article on ‘lessons learned‘ from the CMA’s former Head of Open Banking.

2. Time and money

Q: Do we have to pay?

  1. If you are a commercial organisation, yes. If you are a non-commercial organisation, maybe.  
    Bankers for Net Zero and Icebreaker One are non-profit companies: they need to pay their teams to do the work. The tiered fee structure is based on the size and type of organisation. Trade Associations and related non-commercial organisations are encouraged to make a contribution but it is not a requirement. If you are a small or medium business, you can sign up online today.

Q. What will the money be used for?

  1. Staffing and resources for operation and implementation, supporting fixed costs including communications and taking Perseus to events. Both delivery organisations are not for profit, limited by Guarantee companies.

Q. Can we pay in-kind only?

  1. If you are a commercial organisation, no.
    Icebreaker One is providing the majority of the operational and implementation teams, with commercial partners providing the funds and industry guidance via Advisory Groups. This allows an experienced and cohesive team to lead on implementation.

Q: What’s the time commitment?

  1. Members do need to be able to provide some limited in-kind support to review documents. We have kept this to an absolute minimum (1-2 days per year to review/feedback/approve documents). We strongly encourage members to lean in as much as possible if they can.

Advisory Group members should commit about six (6) hours per month. This includes attending the 2-hour Advisory Group meetings. Domain experts will commit three (3) hours per month, including the Advisory Group meetings.

3. Business case

If organisations are not working towards assurable data flow for Net Zero, they will fall foul of greenwashing accusations. Regulation is also moving rapidly in this direction.

Q: What’s the business case for a bank?

Perseus aims to unlock access to capital through better access to assurable data. This can help banks to reduce their risks in lending to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by providing them with more reliable and trustworthy data on the sustainability performance of these businesses. Access to this data allows banks to better assess the risks associated with lending to these companies, which can potentially lead to lower default rates and higher returns. Being able to offer bespoke incentives for SME customers to decarbonise can also help banks differentiate from competitors and build strong customer relationships. Additionally, Perseus can help banks to demonstrate their own sustainability commitments and meet regulatory requirements related to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues.

Q: What’s the business case for an energy company?

  1. Perseus will help energy companies support their customers to decarbonise, unlock funding, and reduce their administrative costs of sustainability reporting. Energy companies operate in a competitive environment where the ability to offer meaningful additional value and convenience to SME customers can help make a strong value proposition. As the energy sector becomes digital and more renewables come onstream, Perseus will help create material links between the funding of solutions and impact.

Further, there is a strong likelihood that enabling automated energy-based (Scope 2) emissions will be mandated. Energy companies will benefit from being prepared for this and shaping the nature of future regulation.

Q: What’s the business case for an SME?

  1. Perseus will massively reduce the burden associated with SMEs’ sustainability reporting while enabling financial incentives to report and reduce their emissions. Sustainability reporting can be a time-consuming and resource-intensive process. A low-effort, low-friction way to do this allows SMEs to focus on their core business. The assurable data flow can also unlock access to capital by letting lenders or investors link preferential terms to assurable sustainability data. Additionally, by participating in Perseus, SMEs can grow their reputation with potential partners, customers, and employees, and gain access to a network of organisations that are committed to sustainability and responsible investment, which can provide valuable connections and resources for future growth.

Q: What is the business case for 3rd parties?
(e.g. accountants, accountancy software firms, carbon accountants, auditors, consultants and advisors)

  1. Perseus offers a compelling business case for carbon accounting firms, carbon analytics software providers, accountancy firms, auditors, consultants and advisors.

    By automating access to reliable and assurable data, Perseus can help these firms to offer new and bespoke services to their clients, streamline reporting processes, improve the quality of the data they work with and unlock access to assurance processes that don’t currently exist.

    It will also help them build a reputation as a socially responsible company, enhance brand value, and create new business opportunities.

    The continued drive to standardisation of sustainability reporting also makes it easier to compare the performance of different companies and identify areas for improvement. With a high likelihood that regulation around sustainability reporting will come into force, participating in Perseus also gives firms a valuable opportunity to engage with regulators and policymakers at an early stage, providing visibility of, and influence in, the details of these regulations.

Q: What’s the value case for the UK?

The business case of Perseus for the UK is to support the country’s transition to a low-carbon economy and meet its net-zero emissions target by 2050. By unlocking access to capital through better access to assurable data, Perseus can help to unlock finance for the infrastructure and innovation needed to achieve this goal. In addition, the program can help to create new jobs and stimulate economic growth in the UK’s green economy. By developing pragmatic whole-of-market solutions to automate GHG reporting for every SME in the country, Perseus can also help to promote sustainability reporting and increase transparency in the UK’s financial system. Overall, Perseus can position the UK as a leader in green finance and sustainable business practices.

4. Who is involved?

Q: Who is on the Steering Group?

  1. The Steering Group is designed to gather experts that can represent banking, ledger, energy and SME communities.  The Steering Group defines and authorises the creation of Advisory Groups to help deliver the mission and its Goals. It will review the outputs from the AGs and sign-off on material direction and outputs.

Principal: Bankers for Net Zero

Co-chairs: British Business BankIcebreaker One

Steering Group members: British Chamber of CommerceConfederation of British IndustryEnergy UKFederation of Small BusinessICAEWInnovate FinanceInnovate UKInstitute of DirectorsTheCity UKThe Department of Energy Security and Net ZeroThe Lending Standards BoardUK FinanceVolansWe Mean Business Coalition

Observers: ACCA GlobalInternational Chamber of CommerceOECDUNEP FIWorld Energy CouncilDame Teresa Graham (independent)

Q: Who is on the Advisory Groups and why?

  1. The Advisory Groups’ purpose is to provide expert input to the programme, to address commercial, non-commercial and public needs. Participants represent a wide range of subject matter experts to meet the diverse needs of the project, and to ensure it is representative of stakeholders.

Members of Advisory Groups act as a representative of their industry and not of their individual company or body and contribute their expertise as impartially as possible. We are currently recruiting for the Advisory Groups here.

5. What about the data — trust, security and confidentiality?

Q: Is this a technology solution? We have our own application…

A: No. This approach does not replace anything that anyone has built: it is additive. There are two elements:

  1. The process of agreeing how to align on automating data flow;
  2. A Trust Framework (like Open Banking) that enables applications to connect.

Q: Does Icebreaker One, B4NZ or ‘perseus’ store or ‘see’ the data?

A: No. This process creates the ‘rails’ for secure, trusted and secure data flow, not data storage or analysis. The customer has control over their data sharing.

Q: How will this be enforced? Will it be regulated?

A: Enforcement can be implemented by commercial legal contracts. However, there is also scope for regulation to support adoption. The Department of Energy Security & Net Zero is on the Steering Group. One of the project’s Five advisory groups will explore possible policy interventions ranging from mandates for participation across the financial and energy sectors to addressing protections for the usage of data (e.g. limiting use of SME data to the use case of reporting). We are also in conversation with regulators, including through the Smart Data Council, of which Icebreaker One is a Council Member.

Q: Won’t banks use this data to penalise SMEs?

  1. Fears that the emissions data shared by SMEs may have negative consequences can be addressed in various ways, and the project will work with sector representatives to ensure that the carrot, rather than the stick, is the main driver for engagement. At the same time, the ultimate goal is to reward and encourage decarbonisation to help the whole economy reach Net Zero. SMEs with concerns around this would benefit from contributing to the programme to ensure that the developed solutions address their concerns. There are ways to mitigate the risk to underperforming SMEs – e.g. leniency periods between initial reporting and banks including reporting in their incentives/decision making or banks incentivising changes in emissions, irrespective of the initial level.

Regulation may also mean that SMEs ultimately have no choice but to allow some data sharing. In this case, it is in their interest to have early awareness of, and a say in, the details of these regulations so they can be well prepared. This can also inform government and regulation through ‘AG5: Policy’.

Future years will expand in scope and reach (e.g. beyond electricity, beyond the UK, and potentially beyond SMEs)