News - 24th June 2008
A green standard for companies that act to reduce their carbon footprint is launched today by the Carbon Trust. Backed by business groups and environmental campaigners, the new standard is intended to end "greenwash" and highlight firms that are genuine about their commitment to the environment.
Tom Delay, chief executive of the Carbon Trust, said the move was designed to end public mistrust of corporate climate change claims. Only businesses that can demonstrate a real reduction in carbon pollution from their operations are eligible. No offsetting of emissions by funding carbon reduction projects elsewhere is allowed.
Delay said: "What businesses and consumers both share is a desire for one, credible way to prove an organisation has ... reduced their carbon emissions year-on-year without the use of offsetting. The Carbon Trust Standard is the only answer to this."
Companies pay up to £12,000 for the accreditation, which does not set a minimum reduction target – an annual decrease of 1 tonne of carbon dioxide will qualify. Firms given the standard must continue to shrink their emissions in future, or face losing their green status. Companies can also qualify by making relative improvements in carbon emissions, such as compared to turnover, of 2.5% a year.
The standard covers only direct emissions from a company's fuel and electricity use, as well as from business travel such as flights. It does not cover the emissions caused by a firm's products, or supply chain. And companies with polluting manufacturing sites abroad would not have to count them if they sought accreditation, say, for a head office in London.
Delay said: "It will also help brands stand out from the crowd as research shows consumers and business decision makers will choose an organisation with an award like [this] over another of similar price and quality."
Twelve companies, including B&Q, King's College London, Morrisons and Thames Water, have so far been awarded the standard, for shaving an average 8% off their carbon emissions over three years. Harry Morrison of the Carbon Trust said other companies had tried and failed to achieve it. Others pulled out of the process when they realised the standard could be taken away if their emissions rise in future.
Source: The Guardian