DECC (Department for Energy and Climate Change) issued a consultation on the term 'Carbon Neutral' in February 2009. The consultation closed on 21st May 2009. IEMA sought the views of its membership, and have co-ordinated a response.

The purpose of the consultation was to seek views on a draft definition for the term 'Carbon Neutral' that can be used by individuals and organisations and in relation to the products (goods and services) they provide, along with guidance for associated processes for measuring, reducing and offsetting.

IEMA responded to this consultation following a consultation workshop in London that included DECC participation. Outputs from this event were collated and along with further member contributions, a draft IEMA response has now been compiled.

A significant issue raised at the workshop and in IEMA's draft response is the potential for carbon offsets to "squeeze out" action on emission reductions. Various ideas were suggested to address this, including organisational voluntary commitments, a stronger (clearer) hierarchy approach and a proposal to re-align the carbon neutral "equation" to more directly promote reductions at source through a cost differential. Other IEMA comments and proposals are focused on the need for transparency and clearer messaging.