Wednesday, 20 September 2006

Why Do Companies Go Carbon Clear?

Here in the European Union, electric utilities and other fuel-hungry businesses are required by law to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. If they can’t make in-house reductions, they have to buy extra credits. These credits come from companies that have reduced their emissions even more than they were required.

The UK companies covered under this programme account for about a third of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. Individuals account for roughly another third when they fly, drive, and heat their homes. The final third comes from businesses that aren’t covered under the European emissions reduction regulations.

Yet, if you read the news, more and more of these businesses are going on a carbon diet and voluntarily reducing their emissions. What’s going on?

We’ve been talking to our business customers, and here's what they say.

First, business owners and executives are also members of communities and families. They know that climate change is a serious issue and they want to be part of the solution. Reducing their emissions and buying offsets on a corporate scale helps them magnify their individual impact.

Many companies are reducing their climate pollution because their investors and customers demand it. The Carbon Disclosure Project works with the giant pension fund investors, and asks major companies to state what steps they are taking to deal with climate change. As a business, when your investors start asking questions, you tend to pay attention.

Third, reducing greenhouse gas emissions can give their company a competitive advantage. Being distinctly, verifiably greener can make companies stand out from the competition. Consumers are smart; they’ll sniff out a marketing gimmick a mile away. That’s why we always ask our business customers to make significant in-house reductions even as they purchase carbon offsets, for example by eliminating free staff and customer parking or switching to green electricity. If they need help, we’ll calculate their carbon footprint for them, and walk them through a range of different carbon-reduction options. In many cases, companies can actually save enough money to completely pay for their remaining offset purchases.

The total number of companies that have voluntarily gone on a carbon diet is still quite small. But we’re helping more and more every day. Both businesses and individuals have a role to play in tackling climate change.

(Carbon Clear Homepage)