CRC participants fail to take early action

9th November 2011


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  • Mitigation ,
  • Reporting ,
  • Management/saving

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IEMA

The first performance league table for the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Energy Efficiency scheme reveals that almost 40% of organisations haven't taken basic measures to improve efficiency.

Published yesterday, the table ranks 2,100 CRC participants according to actions taken in the first 12 months to initiate emissions reductions. DECC, Ofgem, Manchester United and The Queen Elizabeth Hospital are among the 22 organisations sharing the top spot.

However, more than 800 organisations were ranked at the bottom of the table, with each failing to install devices to automatically collect electricity consumption data or have their emissions independently verified under the Carbon Trust Standard or an equivalent scheme.

David Symons, environment and energy director at WSP, said it was surprising to see so many participants at the bottom of the table.

“These are organisations with an energy bill of more than £500,000 last year and they haven’t put a single voluntary automatic meter on their estate nor received energy performance accreditation,” he commented.

“To all those business at the bottom of the table this is a reminder that these are very simple and low-cost actions that will have a disproportionate impact on energy bills and are definitely worth looking at very closely.”

While future league tables will be based on participant’s efforts to improve their energy efficiency, this first table relies only on early action metrics, meaning there are few ways to distinguish between companies. This has led to some questioning whether it will create the reputational driver for change envisioned.

Jonathan Garratt, group head of sustainability at infrastructure company Balfour Beatty (ranked 1199) said: “Certainly as it stands the performance league table doesn’t really differentiate enough between organisations – with so many companies in last place. Only time will tell whether the table will become a reputational driver or not.”

Vincent Neate, head of KPMG’s UK climate change and sustainability practice, said: “The table is a good indicator of those organisations that have taken steps to manage their carbon... Whether this stimulates the desired action remains to be seen, but we’ve certainly seen some participants already responding to the financial impacts of the scheme and we’d expect the reputational impact, at least in the board room, to also be a motivator for some participants.”

Others argue that the focus on the installation of meters as an action has created a bias in favour of companies operating from single sites.

“It’s easier for organisations with only one or two sites to perform better, because they’ve have fewer sites to install meters and achieve emissions standards,” confirmed Symons. “That’s why you are seeing organisations like Manchester United performing really well.”

The list does, however, also highlight some organisations that are doing well despite operating across multiple sites, acknowledges Symons.

“The organisations that have done really outstandingly well are companies like BT and the Co-operative Group [both ranked 44], which have lots of sites and are still featuring high up,” he said.

The manufacturing organisation EEF, however, rubbished the table saying its rankings did not reflect reality.

“Many organisations that have been part of a Climate Change Agreement [CCA] for the last 10 years, are shown to have taken little “early action” within the table… yet participation in a CCA, by definition, shows that companies have taken on board all cost-effective saving measures since 2001,” argued Gareth Stace, EEF’s head of climate and environment.

“As such, not only will its publication not bring about the behavioural changes that government is hoping for, many companies will be worried that this misrepresentative data will affect their reputation in unwarranted ways.”

Alongside the potential cost to reputations, early calculations from KMPG reveal that next year the government stands to gain £734 million from the CRC’s carbon levy – an average of £349,000 per participating organisation.

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