Nine out of 10 not yet registered for Carbon Reduction Commitment
Fears mount that companies will miss September deadline for registering with flagship carbon management scheme
Fewer than 10 per cent of the companies and public sector bodies covered by the government’s recently launched Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency (CRC) scheme have registered their participation with the Environment Agency, raising fears organisations could miss the legally binding September deadline.
According to figures released last week by the agency, only 447 organisations have registered as participants, despite the fact that an estimated 5,000 businesses and public sector bodies are legally required to take part in the carbon reporting and trading scheme.
Similarly, only 2,833 of an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 organisations have registered as “information declarers”, confirming that they have half-hourly electricity meters but do not use sufficient energy to qualify as a participant in the scheme.
All organisations covered by the CRC legislation have until September 31 to register with the Environment Agency or risk fines.
A spokeswoman for the agency told BusinessGreen.com that organisations which have energy bills of more than £500,000 and are supposed to participate fully in the CRC, could face an initial fine of £5,000 for missing the deadline for registrations and additional fines of £500 for each day they fail to register up to a maximum of £45,000.
She added that the names of organisations that failed to comply with the rules of the CRC would be published and would go to the bottom of the annual league table detailing participants’ energy efficiency performance.
Similarly, those organisations that miss the deadline for registering as ” information declarers” could face a fine of £500 for each half-hourly electricity meter they fail to declare.
The low numbers of organisations that have so far registered with the Environment Agency will further fuel criticism that the CRC has not been well publicised and that some firms are still unsure as to whether they are covered by the legislation.
Dave Lewis, head of business energy services at energy firm Npower, said that some companies were at serious risk of missing the September deadline.
“Compiling all the data needed to register for CRC is no small task and while many are working hard to bring this together, time is running out,” he said. ” The summer months, when internal resources are typically lower due to holidays, could also present another challenge. Any organisation that hasn’t progressed with its CRC evidence pack could be up against it.”
He added that the low number of organisations registered as participants also suggested that some could be struggling with the requirement to begin measuring their energy use from last April.
A spokeswoman for the agency downplayed the likelihood of large numbers of organisations missing the September deadline. “Based on our experience of similar schemes, organisations tend to register towards the end of the period and the registrations so far are in line with where we would expect them to be, ” she said. She added that a communications campaign featuring direct mail reminders to all affected organisations should ensure they are aware of the looming deadline.
Lewis also warned that companies only had until the end of this month to register if they wanted to take advantage of the CRC’s disaggregation option, which allows those businesses with several subsidiaries to register them as separate participants.
“The disaggregation option might seem like a simple administrative task, but it could potentially be a valuable route for many businesses,” he explained. ” CRC participation is typically established at a group level, but being able to register companies separately could make collating data and submitting ongoing evidence packs simpler.”
Firms looking to boost their standing in the government’s Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) league table will have a wider range of options to choose from after the Environment Agency yesterday extended the list of standards that qualify as so-called Early Action Metrics under the scheme.
Early Action Metrics are designed to recognise those organisations that have already taken measures to improve their energy efficiency and, as a result, might find it harder to deliver continued percentage cuts in their energy use. Under the rules of the CRC, the Environment Agency takes compliance with Early Action Metrics into account when compiling the league tables detailing participants’ energy performance, giving a higher rating to organisations that have already taken measures to enhance their efficiency.
To qualify for an Early Action Metric, organisations are required to voluntarily install automated meter-reading equipment and comply with an approved standard certifying that they have implemented carbon management policies and delivered cuts in emissions.
Initially, the only standard that qualified as an Early Action Metric was the Carbon Trust Standard, which requires firms to demonstrate that they have delivered year-on-year emission reductions.
However, the Carbon Trust Standard’s position as the only approved standard prompted protests in some quarters that the government-backed company could dominate what promises to be a lucrative market and, as a result, the Environment Agency has approved a number of rival standards as Early Action Metrics over the past few months.
New carbon management standards from CEMARS and BSI Kitemark have already been approved, while the Environment Agency announced yesterday that the recently launched Carbon Saver Standard has also qualified as an Early Action Metric.
Glenn Wilkinson, managing director of Carbon Saver, welcomed the decision, arguing that it meant organisations now had a “real choice” when looking at the market for approved carbon accreditation schemes.
Andrew Hitchings, CRC project executive at the Environment Agency, urged organisations that have taken steps to improve their energy efficiency in recent years to obtain an approved standard. “The Carbon Trust Standard and equivalent schemes allow organisations who are leading the way in environmental management to be rewarded for their early action,” he said. “CRC is an opportunity for organisations to show what they have already achieved in reducing emissions through early action and provides an incentive to achieve the further reductions which are necessary in the future.”
The news comes as the Carbon Trust yesterday released the results of a survey of 200 finance directors showing that nearly three quarters work for firms that do not currently measure their carbon footprint.
The survey found that 72 per cent of respondents believe businesses will eventually be legally (section 85 Climate change act 2008) required to measure their carbon footprint, while 76 per cent reckon they will be made to pay for the carbon they emit.
However, just under half of respondents have a target for reducing carbon emissions, while a further 16 per cent were unsure if their employer had a carbon target or not.
“The debate about whether or not carbon footprinting and payment will become mandatory for business appears to be over as far as finance heads are concerned, ” said Harry Morrison, general manager of the Carbon Trust Standard. “Yet only a minority have taken action so far and these early movers have a clear advantage. Building carbon management into the DNA of the business now not only ensures preparedness for future compliance requirements, but also brings immediate cost and efficiency benefits and a competitive edge.”
It’s not a question of IF mandatory reporting is introduced, but when, The Claimate Change Act already makes provision on the government to introduce legislation by 6th April 2012, via section 416 (4) of the companies act requiring mandatory emissions reporting, or explain to parliament why it hasn’t done so, it would take a further act of parliament to repeal this as it’s already law.
Moves to cut packaging waste received a boost this week as group of leading firms pledged to curb waste levels across their supply chain and new environment minister Lord Henley called on more High Street names to follow suit.
The government-backed Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) announced today that seven additional firms have signed up to its Courtauld Commitment 2 scheme since it was launched in March, taking to 36 the total number of businesses to have pledged to meet voluntary waste reduction targets under the initiative.
New members include Marks & Spencer, Heineken UK, Burton Foods, and Dale Farm, the first Northern Irish firm to join the scheme.
Under the second round of the Courtauld Commitment scheme, firms signing up to the initiative pledge to reduce the carbon impact of grocery packaging by 10 per cent, cut household food and drink wastes by four per cent, and reduce supply chain product and packaging waste by five per cent by 2012.
The group held its inaugural meeting yesterday to identify the measures and best practices that will be required to try and meet the new targets.
The Courtauld Commitment was set up under the previous government, but has already secured the backing of the coalition with recently appointed environment minister Lord Henley telling the meeting that he wanted to see more retailers join the scheme.
“This government is right behind you – the Prime Minister has pledged this will be the greenest government ever, and waste is one of the biggest environmental challenges facing this country,” he said. “We must all work together, exploring ideas, sharing innovations and successes.”
Ofgem has attempted to clear up the confusion surrounding the number of households and businesses taking advantage of the government’s feed-in tariff renewable energy incentive scheme, releasing detailed figures revealing 6,850 new installations have registered for the scheme since its launch in April.
The update confirms that in total 9,350 installations have registered to receive payments through the feed-in tariff scheme, but of these about 2,500 were pre-existing installations that have simply transferred from the Renewable Obligation subsidy scheme into the feed-in tariff.
Industry insiders have been concerned that Ofgem’s failure to publicly distinguish between pre-existing and new installations has allowed critics of the scheme to overstate its success and accuse the incentives available of being overly generous.
The figures were made available in the first quarterly newsletter from Ofgem E-Serve, the agency set up to administer the feed-in tariff.
They also reveal that under the scheme total payments worth £182,059 were made to renewable energy generators between the start of April and the end of June.
As anticipated, the solar sector has dominated the early months of the scheme, with solar photovoltaic installations accounting for 44 per cent of all installed capacity, compared to 35 per cent wind capacity and 21 per cent hydro.
However, there has been more interest in the incentives from the business sector than was originally anticipated, with 41 per cent of feed-in tariff-registered capacity coming from installations on commercial properties.
The update will also fuel concerns that not enough is being done to notify households and businesses that already operate renewable energy installations that they are able to register for the feed-in tariff.
An estimated 6,000 pre-existing installations accredited under the Renewable Obligation are able to be migrated to the feed-in tariff scheme, but to date only 2,500 have done so.
Ofgem said in the newsletter that “a large majority of the remaining installations are still to provide the required information to allow them to be migrated”, meaning that many early adopters have only a few weeks left to submit the necessary documents and enter into the feed-in tariff scheme before the 1 October deadline.
What Makes a Home a Green House?
One of the hottest topics today is about being environmentally friendly. There are many ways to become environmentally friendly about the home including water preservation and energy reduction. This not only helps with a positive action by reducing your impact on the environment, but will also save you money!
Lets take a look at what makes a home green.
Reduced Energy Use
Energy comes in many forms such as electricity, natural gas, oil, etc. The creation or use of this energy results in greenhouse gas emissions that affect our planet in a negative way.
Methods of Reducing Energy Usage
Insulation, One of the best things that you can do to make a green home is to ensure that the walls, windows, attic, and floors are all well insulated and draft free. The majority of the energy used in a home goes towards heating the house. Good insulation will prevent the air temperature from escaping the home and save you money on your utilities.
Energy Star Appliances When one of your appliances has reached it’s end of life, or when you areconstructing a new home, consider installing an appliance that meets energy star requirements. This will ensure that it will use over 30 percent less electricity or fuel than a typical appliance of that type.
Other options include advanced mechanical Systems On demand tankless water heaters, geothermal HVAC equipment, and even solar power is a great way to reduce the amount of energy that is wasted to run the plumbing, heat and air, and electrical systems in the home. While they can have a higher upfront cost than a typical unit of its kind, tax incentives from the government can offset a good deal of the extra cost and allow you to make the money back within a few years time.
Reduced Water Use
Water is another essential resource that can be preserved in our day to day use around the house.
Low Flow Fixtures Many low flow shower heads and toilets developed a bad reputation in the past because they could not live up to their less efficient counterparts. Fortunately, todays better engineered models and aerators allow you to experience the luxury and ease of use that you prefer, while additionally using a significantly lower amount of water.
Efficient Clothes Washers Many of the newer front loading clothes washers use as little as half of the water of a typical top loading washer. For families who are constantly putting in a new load of dirty clothes, this can lead to a significant savings in cost and water usage over time.
Use Rain Water For Irrigation For those who want to really cut down on water usage, storage tanks that collect rain water during a storm for latter use to water the garden and lawn can save thousands of gallons over the span of a summer.
These are just a few of the many ideas out there that will help ensure that your home is green. Environmentally friendly decisions in the home can lead to wallet friendly results over time and allow for the satisfaction of knowing you are reducing your negative impact on the planet.
At Be Seen Go Green, we offer solutions for a variety of Environmental issues. Please click on the following link to contact us.
“Section 85 Regulations about reporting by companies
(1) The Secretary of State must, not later than 6th April 2012—
(a) make regulations under section 416(4) of the Companies Act 2006 (c. 46) requiring the directors’ report of a company to contain such information as may be specified in the regulations about emissions of greenhouse gases from activities for which the company is responsible, or
(b) lay before Parliament a report explaining why no such regulations have been made.
(2) Subsection (1)(a) is complied with if regulations are made containing provision in relation to companies, and emissions, of a description specified in the regulations.”
Section 416 of the Companies Act 2006 states what company directors must include in their annual reports.
The Act places a requirement on the Government either to make Regulations dealing with reporting requirements by 6th April 2012 or report on why this hasn’t been done. This requirement is mandatory. It can only be repealed by a further Act of Parliament.
In January 2010, the environmental think tank, the Aldersgate Group, published an open letter to the Business Secretary for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, calling on the Government to introduce mandatory GHG reporting for all large UK companies as soon as possible. The signatories include over 50 MPs and a diverse range of companies (such as Aviva and United Utilities) and NGOs (such as Friends of the Earth and WWF).
When the Government does introduce mandatory reporting of GHG emissions, the drafting of the CA 2006 and the CCA 2008 suggests that all companies that prepare directors’ reports would be required to report on GHG emissions. This would go considerably further than current environmental reporting requirements under the CA 2006, which requires only quoted companies to provide enhanced environmental reporting, and exempts small and medium-sized companies from using environmental KPIs.
Opinions are varied, in all probability the legislation will come in to being, what we are not sure of exactly, is to what extent it will affect businesses at the small to medium size. If we look at the facts, industry is actually requesting emissions reporting upon itself, we would need to be naïve to think that the government won’t introduce it, it’s just a matter of time. We’ve seen reports from the Carbon Trust suggesting that business still isn’t doing enough to meet our mandatory reduction targets, Lord Turner recently stated that the recent reduction in emissions is actually down to the recession and not anything that industry has done. Armed with these facts, the only realistic conclusion that can be drawn is that emissions reporting will need to be, and will be introduced.
Look out for supply chain compliance, this I believe is what will force the SME market place, infact I know it will as it is currently happening, to look at their actions and to implement a carbon reduction plan.
When all things are considered, we need to be looking at carbon reduction regardless of your business size, if we wait until we are forced, just around the corner, then we can have no complaint, we’ve known about the need to take action for a good few years now, it’s our fault that the government feels the need to force us to take action and reduce emissions.
Energy and climate change secretary Chris Huhne has revealed plans to “insulate the economy” in an attempt to bolster the economy and save the environment.
In a speech this morning, the minister pledged £90 billion in a new domestic scheme aimed at revamping 14 million of the country’s most energy-inefficient homes.
The scheme is part of a ‘Green Deal’ which aims to reduce carbon emissions and create thousands of new jobs.
Mr Huhne said energy saving is “the cheapest way of closing the gap between demand and supply” but that it is the “Cinderella of the energy ball”.
He criticised current energy policy, saying “we may as well be burning £50 notes outside our front doors”.
“With professional marketing from trusted brands, we ought to make energy efficiency as attractive as broadband or satellite TV,” Mr Huhne added.
The Green Deal will allow each project to claim up to £6,500 towards the cost of better insulation, lowering carbon emissions and reducing energy bills for the householder.
The cost of the work can be claimed back through consequent reductions in energy bills, relieving the householder of any financial burden.
The legislation will be put before the Commons in the autumn and will be the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s first bill under the coalition government.
A landmark legal win could help green campaigners in their fight for environmental justice in UK courts.
Under the UN-ratified Aarhus Convention governments must ensure legal costs for those wanting to fight for environmental rights in the courtroom do not represent an ‘unreasonable risk’.
But the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee ruled this week the UK is not giving people sufficient access to justice.
James Thornton, chief executive of Client Earth, a law firm focusing on environmental cases, said: “Today’s findings are game-changing for anyone fighting for their environmental rights.
“At the moment, the government and industries can ride roughshod over their environmental responsibilities, confident that the legal system’s failings will make challenges impossible.
“If the government’s word is to mean anything on the international stage, it must move effectively and decisively to remedy the gross unfairness of the UK legal system.
“For the first time citizens will be able to scrutinise and challenge environmental decisions from a fair position.”
The conventions do not cover those who have caused criminal damage or trespassed to highlight their cause.
Client Earth has called for a tribunal highlighting how the UK is out of step with the rest of Europe when it comes to giving citizens access to environmental justice.
Current cost rules in the UK mean claimants are often forced to cover their opponents’ legal fees together with their own and court costs.
A single-day hearing in the UK courts can cost more than £100,000 and few individuals or public interest groups have the resources to stand such a hefty bill.
Waste from whisky distilling has been transformed into a bio-fuel by Scottish scientists.
Edinburgh Napier University Biofuel Research Centre has filed a patent for the new biofuel, which it claims can be used in ordinary cars without any special adaptions.
The Edinburgh Napier team focused on the £4 billion whisky industry as a ripe resource for developing biobutanol.
As part of their research, the centre was provided with samples of whisky distilling by-products from Diageo’s Glenkinchie Distillery.
The £260,000 research project was funded by Scottish Enterprise’s ‘Proof of Concept’ programme.
It uses the two main by-products of the whisky production process – ‘pot ale’, the liquid from the copper stills, and ‘draff’, the spent grains, as the basis for producing the butanol that can then be used as fuel.
With 1,600 million litres of pot ale and 187,000 tonnes of draff produced by the malt whisky industry annually, there is real potential for bio-fuel to be available at local garage forecourts alongside traditional fuels.
Professor Martin Tangney, director of the Biofuel Research Centre at the university led the research.
He said: “The European Union has declared biofuels should account for 10% of total fuel sales by 2020. We’re committed to finding new, innovative renewable energy sources.
“While some energy companies are growing crops specifically to generate biofuel, we are investigating excess materials such as whisky by-products to develop them.
“This is a more environmentally sustainable option and potentially offers new revenue on the back of one Scotland’s biggest industries.
“We’ve worked with some of the country’s leading whisky producers to develop the process.”
Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has announced plans a new Green Deal which he says is part of the coalition’s ‘quiet green revolution’ to create jobs and protect the environment.
Mr Clegg, speaking in South Tyneside yesterday (August 19), said the Green Deal will combine growth in the economy with a greener and more efficient way of using energy.
He wants to reduce energy demand and carbon emissions while making homes warmer, saving consumers money and stimulating green recovery in jobs.
He said: “I want to focus on plans for a Green Deal to combine growth in the economy with a greener and more efficient way of using energy.
“Green Deal Finance will allow householders to make their homes more energy efficient, saving on their bills, without the need for them to provide up-front finance.
“Homes account for a quarter of all emissions in the UK, and this is no longer a problem we can ignore. With some of the oldest housing stock in Europe we also face a huge challenge.”
According to Mr Clegg up to 14 million homes could benefit from the Green Deal through insulation.
Payments will be collected through energy bills and the most energy inefficient homes could save, on average, around £550 a year.
The Government will begin legislating for these proposals in the Autumn and they are expected to take effect in 2012.