Retailers 'want simpler energy efficiency rules'

Retailers 'want simpler energy efficiency rules'

Retailers want the government to introduce simpler, clearer plans for taxes and levies designed to improve energy efficiency, research has suggested.

The government currently uses environmental taxes to encourage businesses to be more eco-friendly and sustainable, with different schemes used for companies of varying sizes and types.


There are exemptions available for certain firms, such as those that use a lot of energy because of the nature of their business, or small enterprises with relatively low power consumption.

The Climate Change Levy (CCL) affects companies in the industrial, commercial, agricultural and public services sectors, while the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme covers large, non-energy intensive organisations such as supermarkets, hotels and banks.

Under recent proposals, the CCL could be increased and the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme could be abolished, making the former a key driver for business sustainability and green initiatives.

In an effort to gauge commercial opinions on these plans, npower Business Solutions conducted a survey of 100 leading retailers, two-thirds (66 per cent) of which agreed that a move to a single tax and reporting system would encourage investment in energy efficiency.

The research also suggested that awareness is lacking with regards to how the government is managing this issue, with 39 per cent of respondents unaware that further consultation is due to take place this summer.

Of those who were aware of the consultation, 39 per cent did not intend to participate.

The CCL is one of many programmes that have been introduced over the past 15 years, npower pointed out, along with other initiatives such as the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme, mandatory greenhouse gas reporting and an electricity demand reduction pilot.

Nine out of ten retailers (90 per cent) said the introduction of a single tax to help control energy consumption would encourage them to keep their business in the UK, while 88 per cent thought it would help them to stay competitive.

However, almost all respondents (97 per cent) felt that the government must do more to reduce red tape for businesses.

David Reed, head of npower Business Solutions, welcomed the energy efficiency taxation review, but stressed that transparent communication with the business community is "vital".

"We wouldn't want to see companies unduly penalised for not receiving the help they need to better manage their energy use," he added.

"Transparent communication is vital here: clear energy reduction targets are important and we are supporting the requirement to make energy efficiency the starting point for regulatory reporting. But changes to the CCL's rates will negatively impact business if firms aren't fully aware that they need to prioritise energy efficiency."

There are many actions companies can take to ensure they are fully in control of their energy efficiency, such as checking that they are only working with eco-friendly service providers.

Encouraging positive practices in the workplace, such as switching off lights and electronic devices when they are not being used, can also be highly beneficial.

Posted by William Rodriguez

Image courtesy of iStock/Solitude72