Information for Employers
Challenges driving change
The environmental and resource constraint challenge.
- The UK is committed to a low carbon economy and to achieving an 80% reduction in GHG emissions by 2050
- The rising cost of energy, security of supply and concerns around long term availability;
- Increased cost of raw materials such as wheat and cotton, which are driving up the price of food and clothing;
- Water scarcity and how it is affecting local populations, the production of local and global supplies of food such as potatoes and manufactured drinks;
- Extreme weather and geological events and how these impact on the lives of people and business operations. For example flooding in Gloucestershire in 2007 risked the electricity supply for the whole region as the local electricity substation almost became subsumed under flood water
- Rising scarcity of natural resources and their access to them, for example rare earth metals used in the production of mobile phones.
The Cost Savings Challenge
One of the most significant ways that organisations can achieve savings is through investing in energy and resource efficiency measures. Defra has estimated that UK plc would save around £23 billion per annum through implementing no cost / low cost energy resource and waste efficient measures with around £18 billion savings opportunity in waste and around £4 billion savings opportunity in energy.
Savings opportunities with a payback greater than one year have been estimated at around £33 billion. This gives a total opportunity of around £55 billion (note, figures have been rounded). The carbon benefits achievable from implementing these resource efficiency measures are estimated at about 90 MtCO2. This represents around 13% of the UK’s annual greenhouse gas emissions, which stood at 700 MtCO2e in 2008.
Organisations are realising the benefits of more efficient use of resources together with reducing their impact on the environment. For example, IEMA last year reported a 20% growth in the number of companies reporting on their GHG emissions, with over 70% of them investing in methods for reducing their energy consumption and 90% identified cost savings as a benefit of reporting on their greenhouse gas emissions.
However, although there are a number of businesses leading the way and capitalising on the opportunities and managing the potential threats, 78% of FTSE listed businesses are still failing to report data on their greenhouse gas emissions, therefore missing out on vital business and environmental benefits. Defra’s report also shows that UK businesses are lagging behind the rest of the world in providing transparent and consistent GHG reporting to investors and stakeholders.
For example in 2010, 50% of UK FTSE 350 companies made their disclosures public compared to 65% in the rest of the world. And only just over half (54%) reported on their GHG emissions in their annual corporate report compared to 73% (CDP 2010 global survey).
Reputation and Risk Challenge
80% of IEMA members said that improving their reputation amongst stakeholders, customers and investors was also a benefit of reporting on their greenhouse gas emissions.
According to the 2010 UN Global Compact report “A New Era of Sustainability” found that 93% of CEOs it surveyed saw sustainability as important to their company’s future success. And 81% of CEOs stated that sustainability issues are now fully embedded in the strategy and operations of their company.
Employing suitably knowledgeable and skilled environmental practitioners is key to the success of overcoming each of these challenges. Click through to Recruiting Environment Professionals to find out how to find the best amongst these individuals.