The latest news from the world of sustainability, the latest views from the brains behind Best Foot Forward
Blog by Craig Simmons, Director and Co-Founder, 30 November 2011
The publication of the UK’s first carbon footprint league table has gone, I think it is fair to say, largely unnoticed. Which is a shame as the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme (CRC EES) is ground-breaking. It is the only national greenhouse gas emissions league table of its kind, anywhere. It provides a degree of transparency, accountability and, hopefully, incentivises action. DECC make great play on their website of the interaction between brand, reputation and energy efficiency but I think in doing so they are overlooking the obvious – energy costs money and saving energy simply makes good sense. And reporting and monitoring an organisation’s emissions underpins environmental risk management efforts and demonstrates good governance (why they single out supermarkets, universities and football clubs, however, remains a mystery):
“By making this information openly available to the public, energy efficiency will become a reputational issue for supermarkets, universities and football clubs to name but a few. This will bring energy efficiency to the attention of any boardroom that cares about the image of their brand. ”
Of course, like that other great greenhouse gas register run by the Carbon Disclosure Project, the CRC EES league table is not perfect. The main issue being that it is too easy to ‘squirrel’ emissions away by outsourcing your activities into areas not covered by the Scheme. The effect of this is to make you seem more efficient than is necessarily the case. Apart from anything else, this undermines any attempt to make meaningful comparisons between organisations. The ranking of organisations is also distorted by a strange weighting scheme which heavily rewards those complying with the Carbon Trust Standard. As a result, there are more than 30 organisations which share top ranking.
More can clearly be done to make reported figure more informative. Adding intensity metrics, such as CO2e per £ turnover or employee, for example, or classifying organisations by sector. Instead, it seems that the scheme is about to be dismantled.
Unless the consultation planned for early next year delivers any surprises, the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme (originally called the Carbon Reduction Commitment) will lose its carbon footprint element entirely, becoming merely a means of simplified energy reporting. Surely a step in the wrong direction?
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