• International Workplace
  • 4 July 2017

Businesses must do more to reduce emissions

Large companies and the public sector can do more to reduce carbon emissions, according to new research from Philips Lighting, which reveals that:

  • only a third of organisations disclose emission reduction targets or performance against them in their annual reporting;
  • this is despite the average organisation reporting CO2 emissions equivalent to 2,421 homes’ energy use for a year; and
  • less than half of these organisations say they actively encourage employees to reduce carbon emissions at work.

The company’s analysis of the most recent data published by the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme reveals that organisations included in the scheme emitted a total of over 41 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide during the 2015/16 period. This is equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions of 8.7 million passenger vehicles driven for a year, or the CO2 emissions from the electricity usage of six million homes for a year.

Only a third (32%) of these organisations confirmed they disclose carbon emission reduction targets in their annual reporting, with 15% saying they don’t and over half (53%) refusing to disclose whether they do or not.

Similarly, only 29% of organisations disclose their performance against carbon emission reduction targets, with 16% not disclosing their performance and 55% not confirming whether they do or not. 

Less than half of the organisations reporting to the scheme (45%) say they actively engage employees to reduce carbon emissions at work. 

The CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme is a mandatory carbon emissions reporting and pricing scheme that covers large public and private sector organisations in the UK that use more than 6,000MWh of electricity per year and have at least one half-hourly meter settled on the half-hourly electricity market. The sectors targeted by the scheme generate over 10% of UK CO2 emissions.

Philips Lighting’s analysis reveals that private sector companies reporting to the scheme averaged 22,929 metric tonnes of CO2 emissions last year. To absorb this level of CO2 4,586 hectares of forest would be required, which is the equivalent of 6,423 football pitches.

The 496 public bodies reporting to the scheme averaged only 13% less, emitting 19,839 tonnes of CO2 during the year.

Nicola Kimm, Head of Sustainability, Environment, Health and Safety at Philips Lighting, said:

“The CRC scheme was designed to reduce the emissions of those organisations with the largest carbon footprints in the UK, but our analysis suggests that the country’s largest public and private sector bodies still have a long way to go,

“In our sustainability program, Brighter Lives, Better World, we have outlined ambitious targets to be achieved by 2020, including to be carbon neutral, use only electricity from renewable sources, and send zero waste to landfill. Globally, over two-thirds of our electricity now comes from renewable sources,

“Making concerted efforts to improve energy efficiency saves organisations money, improves their reputation and contributes to our climate change mitigation targets.”