Public sector ramps up CO2 targets

12th December 2011


Related Topics

Related tags

  • Mitigation ,
  • Reporting ,
  • Management ,
  • Public sector

Author

IEMA

Many hospitals, universities and local authorities have almost doubled the level of their carbon reduction targets since 2006 despite tough spending cuts, according to a new survey by the Carbon Trust.

The poll of 472 public sector organisations working with the trust to cut carbon emissions reveals that in 2011 the average CO2 reduction target was 28%.

When the trust last asked the question, the figure was 16%. One organisation surveyed, the University of Bath, is even planning to cut its emissions by 43% between 2005 and 2020.

According to the trust, the findings imply central government’s aim to reduce the carbon footprint of its estate by 25% by 2015 is not only achievable but could be rolled out more widely.

“The public sector has a vital leadership role to play in helping the UK to meet its carbon targets,” said Tim Pryce, the Carbon Trust’s head of public sector. “It is exciting to see leading organisations in the public sector matching central government’s level of ambition, and saving the taxpayer money at the same time.” Pryce went on to reveal that the trust has identified £2 billion of potential savings in its work with public sector organisations, but warned they can only be achieved with “the right direction, leadership and expert support”.

David Dowson, environment officer at Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, says that the Carbon Trust’s findings reflect his experiences. “Targets in the public sector have gone up over the last few years. At Worcestershire NHS Trust we have a reduction target of 20%, but I know others with 30% targets.”

Dowson agrees that reductions goals of 20%–30% are realistic for most public sector organisations, but calls on the government to consider putting in place rewards to help environmental managers to gain the level of support needed to drive such targets. “If central government offered financial incentives to organisations that achieve tougher targets, of say 25%, this would make it easier to get senior managers’ commitment,” he said.


Transform articles

The reading room

How to Save Our Planet is call to action that aims to equip everyone with the knowledge needed to make change. We need to deal with climate change, environmental destruction and global poverty, and ensure everyone’s security.

23rd September 2021

Read more

Hannah Lesbirel and Beccy Wilson speak to IEMA members about climate anxiety

23rd September 2021

Read more

Seven of the UK's 17 key industry sectors are still increasing their emissions year-on-year, and most will miss their 2050 net-zero targets without significant government action, new research suggests.

23rd September 2021

Read more

The UK government’s former chief scientific adviser Sir David King talks to Chris Seekings about his career, the latest IPCC report, COVID-19 and COP26

23rd September 2021

Read more

The UK’s transition to net-zero emissions will only succeed if the government does more to involve the public in designing climate-related policies, the Institute for Government has warned.

23rd September 2021

Read more

In a joint editorial, more than 200 health journals have called on governments to take emergency action to tackle the “catastrophic harm to health” caused by climate change.

23rd September 2021

Read more

The UK public is the more concerned about the environment than it has been for the last 30 years.

23rd September 2021

Read more

COVID-19 recovery packages have largely focused on protecting, rather than transforming, existing industries, and have been a “lost opportunity” for speeding up the global energy transition.

23rd September 2021

Read more

Hello, and welcome to another edition of Transform, the magazine for IEMA sustainability professionals. I hope you are staying safe, and managing to have a productive October and November.

23rd September 2021

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert