40% of Firms Failing to Tackle Energy Efficiency, UK Says

Thursday, 10 November 2011
More than 40 percent of companies ranked on their energy efficiency actions by the U.K. government failed to score a single point, it emerged yesterday.

The Environment Agency’s Performance League Table ranks participants in the Carbon Reduction Commitment program, under which companies of a certain size have to purchase allowances for every ton of CO2 they emit. Unlike the EU cap and trade scheme, the CRC covers non-carbon-intensive sectors.

Among the 22 organizations in joint first place on the CRC list were Manchester United, Johnson Wax, British American Tobacco, CB Richard Ellis, resort operator Center Parcs and several government agencies, including the Department of Energy and Climate Change. (Snapshot of the 22 organizations, above left.)

Of the 2,103 companies ranked, 803 tied for last place, all with zero points. They included many major companies such as AstraZeneca, ConocoPhillips, Diageo, electronics retailer Dixons, Goldman Sachs, Halliburton, Kodak, Kraft Foods, Orange, Pfizer, Rio Tinto, Sodexo, Virgin Atlantic and Xerox.

Despite this, Environment Agency director of environment and business Ed Mitchell said he was “very encouraged” that 60 per cent of the organizations had taken steps to improve their energy management, BusinessGreen reported.

The table was based on reports submitted by the companies, and judges participants on the basis of early actions taken to improve their energy efficiency. Half of the score is based on what percentage of the organization’s electricity and gas supplies are covered by smart meter readings, and the other half is based on the proportion of emissions certified by the Carbon Trust or equivalent body.

But businesses are castigating the U.K. government for the rankings, saying the table paints a false picture of their performance.

The Engineering Employers Federation told the Press Association that the table is redundant, because the government had eliminated the financial incentive for companies to improve their energy efficiency. The federation’s head of climate and environment, Gareth Stace, said companies are worrying about the table’s effect on their reputations.

The British Retail Consortium said the table will confuse customers and investors because it doesn’t measure companies’ overall environmental performance, Fresh Business Thinking reported.

David Symons, a director at WSP Environment and Energy, told Edie.net that the table “perversely” failed to consider companies’ actual energy efficiency. He said the table’s metrics meant that some companies at the bottom of the table are actually more energy efficient, or have made greater progress to lower their emissions, than those at the top.

But some companies said they thought the table was a fair reflection of businesses progress, and lack thereof. Vincent Neate, head of KPMG UK’s climate change and sustainability practice, told Business Green that he expected many companies would use the table to begin making peer-to-peer comparisons,
source: http://www.environmentalleader.com/2011/11/09/40-of-firms-failing-to-tackle-energy-efficiency-uk-says/


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