Tom Kelly
Tom Kelly

Member Article

Carbon reporting - Foe or Friend?

It’s environment focus week on Bdaily, and we are looking at what the low-carbon economy really means for UK SMEs, as well as picking apart the nuts and bolts of adapting business to “go-green.“ Here, Tom Kelly of Inteb talks about carbon reporting.

This summer has seen severe punishments imposed on businesses that have not complied with carbon reporting legislation and the shock waves are still reverberating through the business world thanks to the levying of fines on four organisations, which totalled a massive £99,000.

Such figures would not be welcomed by any finance director who prides themselves on precise budgeting and cost control, but given the onerous nature of the carbon reporting procedures, the fact that late submissions are subject to fines and that inaccurate reporting will be treated equally as harshly, the four organisations hit so far are unlikely to be the last.

The soon-to-be-published league tables of carbon reduction performance will no doubt prove equally unpalatable to some organisations, particularly those seeking to impress stakeholders, which find themselves floundering at the bottom. Viewing a competitor flying high at the top of the performance league, signalling a credible concern for the environment and strengthening their CSR image, should prove galling and spur poor performing organisations into positive action, regardless of whether they are financial institutions or real estate companies, manufacturers or NHS authorities.

The way to get better at carbon reporting is most likely going to lie in outsourcing this responsibility to CRC experts like Inteb. Unfortunately, however, many businesses mistakenly associate this with additional costs, without considering the savings that can accrue and more than offset the price paid.

The beauty of CRC reporting is that, when placed in the right hands, it can sit alongside advanced energy efficiency audits and informed consultancy advice, which significantly cut both energy bills and carbon emissions.

Through one internal CRC audit, Inteb identified and implemented savings of £15,000 in a client’s 2011-12 CRC Allowance (6% of overall allowance costs). This required a high level of input from Inteb’s CRC team, which assessed the benefit of making changes in the data reported and ensured the client was still acting within the required regulations. It is doubtful whether a non-CRC expert could have identified these savings.

By analysing trends in energy consumption, using sophisticated energy management software, we can make carbon emissions’ reduction a year-on-year achievement, as well as identifying seasonal trends and anomalies that warrant further investigation. When you look at carbon reporting in this light, it becomes an opportunity, rather than a threat.

Accountants and finance directors should be taking the lead on this issue, ensuring that inadequate carbon reporting does not land the organisation in hot water. They should also be asking themselves just how much money could be saved if an energy audit were conducted.

Solicitors, on the other hand, could create their own opportunity from carbon reporting, by adding a new service to their portfolio, to assist clients wishing to comply with Government legislation. There’s no need for a solicitors’ practice to become an overnight expert, as specialist carbon reporting services can be bought in, working in partnership with a cutting-edge sustainability partner.

….When you start to view CRC as an opportunity, the possibilities, as they say, are endless.

Here are some other environment focus articles that may be of interest to you: carbon reporting in logistics firms; what are the benefits of electric vehicles?; we talk to a print business about why SMEs need to go green; find out how one innovative business is using ozone as a cleaning tool; what does sustainability really mean to your business?; funding support for green businesses; a green adaptation case study; don’t let flooding stop your business and boosting energy performance in your business.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Tom Kelly .

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