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Businesses 'have a key role to play in carbon reduction'

Businesses 'have a key role to play in carbon reduction'

Businesses 'have a key role to play in carbon reduction'

Businesses have a significant part to play in the UK's ongoing drive towards carbon reduction, according to the Carbon Trust.

There are many things companies can do to improve their energy efficiency and reduce their carbon footprint, such as implementing office-wide policies for electrical equipment to be switched off at night, installing recycling bins and encouraging employees to walk or cycle to work, use public transport or set up a car-sharing scheme.

It's also important to look beyond your own business and think about the environmental performance of your external partners. If you use a cleaning company, for example, make sure it's one with excellent green credentials and accreditations.

Another strategy that could deliver green benefits is switching to a renewable energy supplier.

One such company is SmartestEnergy, which allows its business customers to buy natural sustainable electricity derived from solar power, wind and water, as well as renewable energy from a particular source to meet certain requirements.

The firm recently announced that it was issuing 500 organisations - including construction products provider Saint-Gobain UK, building company Willmott Dixon and the University of London - with the UK's first Energy Labels. The accreditations specify the source and carbon content of the clean electricity these customers purchase.

By tracing every megawatt of power they use back to its source, the system will allow these organisations to determine their exact carbon footprint and show how they are contributing to UK climate change and carbon reduction targets.

SmartestEnergy said the Energy Labels scheme was designed to help the renewables industry and increase confidence for commercial energy customers. Robert Groves, chief executive officer of the company, said business users have been calling for increased transparency around renewable energy for some time.

He added: "The momentum for businesses to buy renewable is really growing."

Hugh Jones, managing director, advisory, at the Carbon Trust, said: "We have been working with SmartestEnergy for the past two years and are very supportive of their continued efforts to provide clarity around 100 per cent renewable electricity.

"Businesses have an important role to play in ensuring the UK meets its carbon reduction targets and it is initiatives like this that are helping to empower businesses to choose renewable power. The Energy Labels provide businesses with the rigour and traceability they require to navigate the complexities of renewable energy and carbon reporting."

The system was developed in response to a call from the Aldersgate Group, a sustainable business body that represents organisations with a collective turnover of over £400 billion. The group released a report indicating that clear labelling of the carbon content of electricity could boost the adoption of low-carbon power, meaning it could meet nearly half of all industrial and commercial demand by 2020.

According to the latest government figures, low-carbon electricity's share of UK power generation increased from 37.9 per cent in 2014 to a record high of 45.5 per cent last year.

 

Posted by William Rodriguez

Image courtesy of iStock/Workinc