Almost all organisations emit carbon dioxide as the result of using a source of energy derived from the burning of fossil fuels — to travel, operate equipment or heat and light premises. There has been international debate, however, on whether carbon dioxide emissions really are resulting in major changes to global weather, including unusual storms and fluctuating temperature patterns.
The UK Government has taken a firm stance, however, and stated its commitment to addressing the problem of carbon dioxide emissions and tackling the consequences of climate change. In 2008, the Climate Change Bill was introduced in the UK Parliament.
An independent Committee on climate change advises the UK Government and reports to Parliament on progress in achieving the target, taking account of a range of influencing factors.
The Bill provides for the UK Government to carry out regular risk assessments of the impact of climate change and to operate a programme for dealing with the risks identified. It also contains powers for the UK Government to require public bodies and statutory undertakers — such as electricity companies — to draw up plans to deal with the impact of climate change.
It would appear highly likely therefore that public bodies and large organisations will be playing a significant part in leading the community, including business organisations everywhere, to become engaged in responding effectively to the problems caused by carbon dioxide emissions and their consequent impact on the environment.
Whether or not anyone agrees with the view that carbon dioxide is contributing to climate change or harming the environment, most people would probably agree that it can only be of benefit to businesses to manage energy production and consumption more efficiently.
How Can Businesses Respond to the Call to Reduce Carbon Dioxide Emissions?
There are many ways in which organisations can contribute to a programme of energy management and efficiency and carbon dioxide reduction. The more obvious ways include an audit of an organisation’s premises and assets to check for improvements — sometimes at low cost or with identifiable savings – that can reduce energy consumption and make better use of energy consumed. These include improved insulation, an upgrade of vehicles or equipment, encouraging alternative means of travel, avoiding unnecessary journeys and new ways of working, such as allowing more staff to work from home.
What is Carbon Offsetting?
Methods have been established to calculate the amount of ‘greenhouse gas’ produced by an organisation’s carbon emissions each year. The result is commonly referred to as an organisation’s ‘carbon footprint’.
In addition to managing energy consumption more efficiently, organisations can take part in schemes that have been created to enable businesses and individuals to reduce the impact of their carbon footprints by contributing a financial sum to recognised international projects to ‘offset’ the amount of carbon produced.
The schemes include projects aimed at absorbing carbon dioxide or creating energy from renewable sources involving forestry and the planting of new trees; the use of waste carbon dioxide to produce new products; and creating energy through renewable methods that do not include the burning of fossils, such as wind or solar panels.
If you would like to have a discussion about environmental or energy management or the potential benefits to your business of going carbon neutral, please contact us.