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Environment Agency publishes Carbon Reduction Commitment League Table

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The Environment Agency has published the initial league table for the Carbon Reduction Commmitment (CRC) Energy Efficiency scheme.
As the Agency puts it, the Performance League Table (PLT) ranks organisations participating in the CRC on how well they manage their energy efficiency. PLT positions are based on a participant's changes in energy use against a baseline and not their total emissions. As a result the PLT should motivate organisations to improve their energy efficiency.
The 2010/11 PLT recognises those organisations who have already taken action to monitor and reduce their carbon emissions and is based on information supplied by participating organisations.
The Agency's website is already under pressure today from the number of hits on the site, but the table is available as an Excel file here

CRC league table now expected in November

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I hear that the league table associated with the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) energy efficiency scheme is now likely to be published in November.

This blog post on Local Energy suggests that a November date is expected. That could mean the table will be out next week or alternatively, it may still be a month away.

Local Energy quoted Carl Sweeney the Operations Manager of the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme at the Environment Agency, saying:

"At this time, we anticipate that the PLT will be published in November. We have agreed with DECC that we will notify participants of the publication date one week before release. There is much ongoing work in the background to review and produce the PLT as accurate as possible, so at this stage I can't be more specific as something unexpected could delay us."

Third parties familiar with the situation say that the Environment Agency is getting 'a lot of calls' on when the table will be published. 

What does the league table mean? The Carbon Trust puts it like this:

"A publicly available CRC performance league table will show how each participant is performing compared to others in the scheme. If your organisation is a good carbon performer, the league table will help give a significant boost to your organisation's reputation, demonstrating its success in cutting emissions. Please note, however, that because of the changes announced in October 2010, there is likely to be no direct financial benefit under the CRC from an improved position in the league table.Your organisation's league table position each year will be determined by performance in three metrics:

  • Early action metric: 50% of your score is based on what percentage of your organisation's electricity and gas supplies is covered by voluntary automatic meter readings (AMR) in the year to 31 March 2011. The other half is based on the proportion of your CRC emissions certified under the Carbon Trust Standard or an equivalent scheme. Visit www.carbontruststandard.com to find out about achieving the Carbon Trust Standard.
  • Absolute metric: The percentage change in your organisation's emissions, compared to the average of the previous five years (or number of years available until 2014/15).
  • Growth metric: the percentage change in emissions per unit turnover, compared to the average of the previous five years (or number of years available until 2014/15).

The weighting of these three metrics will change over time. In the first year, early action will count for 100% of your organisation's league table score. Over the first few years of the scheme, the early action metric will gradually fade in importance until the absolute and growth metrics receive 75% and 25% weightings respectively in 2014/15 and thereafter.

As the Carbon Trust points out, if an organisation is a good carbon performer, the league table will boost its reputation, though there will be no direct financial benefit under the CRC from an improved position in the league table.

However, when the results come out, you can well imagine a few marketing departments either keen to trumpet their organisation's performance or, conversely, trying to shore up their company's 'green' reputation.

What it means in terms of best practice for CIOs we'll probably have to see what results the league table brings.

 

Corporate sustainability strategy: now part of the CFO's remit

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Sometimes it seems as if corporate responsibility within the organisation for sustainability strategy is being passed around like a relay baton.

So far, those touched with responsibility for sustainability include the corporate social responsibility (CSR) team, marketing (because of the future brand and reputation implications in the UK of the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) league tables), IT and Facilities who are having to manage and measure energy usage, and in theory, the CEO who should surely know the big picture at least.

Now, an Ernst & Young report, 'How Sustainability has Expanded the CFO's Role', recommends it is also the CFO's turn to pick up the baton, because, in the US at least, as Triple Pundit explains, sustainability trends are shifting the role of the CFO into three key areas:

  • Investor relations:  "Shareholders are speaking much louder and much more stridently than they did just a few years ago.  During the 2011 proxy season, 40 percent of shareholder resolutions were related to ESG issues. And over a quarter of ESG-related resolutions gained a 30 percent "Yes" vote, which Ernst & Young describes as a critical threshold (other observers say anywhere from a 10 to 20 percent vote can motivate companies to rethink their policies).  Mutual fund companies are paying more attention to sustainability related issues, and the rating companies are directing more focus towards ESG matters as well.  All this leads to a shift in the duties of companies' investors relations staffs; and CFOs, according to Ernst & Young, will lend more than a few hands with the demands placed on IR departments.
  • External reporting:  More than 3000 multinationals issue sustainability (or CSR or ESG) reports, and many of these companies now provide more than static or trite glossy PDFs. Companies including UPS, Timberland, and Microsoft are raising the bar in offering frankness while encouraging increased stakeholder engagement.  To that end, more companies are having their sustainability reporting audited by third parties (such as the Carbon Disclosure Project for carbon emissions performance).  And that experience with third party performance falls into the CFO's lap because they know how to balance the challenges and opportunities that arise from third-party verification.
  • Operational controllership and financial risk management:  Early last year, the US Securities and Exchange Commission issued guidelines to companies on how to disclose risks possibly related to climate change.  Carbon data, and more frequently, water data, is becoming financial data because of these resources increasing price.  What was once tangential to the costs of running businesses has and will be central to the financial risks that come when running a company.  Whether evaluating the costs of large capital projects or ascertaining the reliability of sustainability data, CFOs and the departments they head will be careful when ensuring that all this data is accurate."

Five suggested actions that CFOs can take to enhance corporate value through sustainability include the following:

• Actively pursue a sustainability and reporting program.
• Ensure that those responsible for sustainability matters do not operate in isolation from the rest of the enterprise -- especially the finance function.
• Enhance dialogue with shareholders and improve disclosure in key areas, particularly those related to social and environmental issues.
• Ensure that directors' skills are relevant to the chief areas of stakeholder concern, including risk management tied to social and environmental matters.
• Consider using nontraditional performance metrics, including those related to environmental/sustainability issues.

 

Knowing which carbon compliance scheme you fall under

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Just a short line about a tool I came across from Carbon Guerilla which has produced a useful graphic for organisations to see where their compliance lies.

As Carbon Guerilla director Mark Clayton says, deadlines are concentrating minds, and in terms of finding ways through the various elements of legislation, this flowchart might be useful in the future for deciding whether you're affected by CRC (the Carbon Reduction Commitement Energy Efficiency Scheme), a CCA (Climate Change Agreement) or the EU ETS (European Union Emission Trading Scheme)

 

Getting to grips with CRC's deadlines and the scheme's next steps

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I recently received an email flyer for the Carbon Show later this year warning me that if my organisation is registered within the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme I will know the deadline for returning my'Footprint Report' and 'Annual Report' is today, Friday 29 July.

The flyer asked: Will you meet the deadline? How easy have you found it to produce your organisation's carbon footprint? How confident are you that your figures are accurate? Do you know the penalties for late submission?

I think for CRC, organisations will get used to be able to answer these questions, meet the requisite deadlines and build them into their working practices as time goes by. Although there has been much discussion about the future of CRC, there is little doubt that it is here to stay. We are at the end of the beginning, if you know what I mean.

If you're still wondering where CRC will end up, some good sources of information are this Next Steps document, which outlines the current CRC state of play and gives extensive details of the recent consultation and future proposals, and the Cambium website which discusses the impact for both CRC's participants and for suppliers of energy efficiency services.

By the way, with energy efficiency in mind, there is an article here on modular data centres

 

Cambium sets out CRC state of play for Participants and Suppliers

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For those wondering what the latest position is with the Government's Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Energy Efficiency scheme, I can recommend a couple of white papers written by the Cambium consultancy.

 

The two papers, one for participants in the scheme and the other for suppliers of energy efficiency innovations and services, review the key elements of Department of Energy and Climate Change's (DECC) proposals and identify those parts of the CRC legislation that DECC is seeking to change as well as those key elements of the Scheme that DECC intends to retain following the consultation process.

 

Finally they consider the likely implications of these changes for both participants and those supplying goods that can improve energy efficiency within the affected organisations.

 

You can accesss the papers here

 

Cambium report targets CRC innovation opportunities for suppliers

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I attended the launch yesterday of a new report targetting the sustainable innovation opportunities offered by the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme.

The report, by sustainable innovation specialist Cambium, provides a  systematic analysis of the financial and reputational exposure of the 2,770 so called 'participants' in the CRC Scheme. This reputational aspect is important with the first performance league tables due out in six months time, in October.

The report, which was launched at Intellect in London with attendance from Intellect, hosting specialist Rackspace and the UK Centre for Economic and Environmental Development (UKCEED) is aimed primarily at suppliers of innovative technologies that can help the organisations affected by this legislation to reduce their likely tax bills, cut energy use and protect their reputations as well as be able to pomote themaselves as responsible businesses.

Cambium believes the report will be of use to trade bodies and CRC Participants, policymakers and public stakeholders, and investors.

The report features an index which examines public and private sector participants for a range of sustainability and energy reduction related indicators and categorises them as leaders, early majority, late majority or laggards within their sector, providing a measure of their likelihood to invest in and adopt energy saving or other innovative technologies, supporting sustainable economic growth. 

The Cambium study identifies and explores the significant differences between the public and privat sector attitudes to a "carbon" and "social awareness" indicator and makes recommendations for better targeting of the market opportunity by suppliers.

There is a release with more details here

You can get the report here 

Summing up what the Budget means for 'Greentech'

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I was talking to a company the other day that has an interest in the Climate Reduction Commitment (CRC) legislation and while we didn't expect any major changes relating to CRC in the Budget, there was a feeling of 'you never know'.

The devil is still in the detail, and more may emerge over the coming days. But it seems there are no changes to CRC announced by George Osborne.

Those 'green' issues that were covered have been well summed up by the Guardian here

 

The end for the Carbon Reduction Commitment?

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It looks as if someone within the government is flying a kite to see what reaction there might be to the ending of the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC).

This article appeared at the weekend, suggesting that CRC could be merged with other taxes following the publication of a number of so-called "discussion papers" for the 5,000 companies due to be affected.

As the piece points out, the news that more changes could be on the way will cast more confusion over the tax, which has been criticised for baffling businesses. It's said, however, that doing away with the CRC would not necessarily mean that companies would have to pay less because its intended effects could be included in another green tax covering a wider number of businesses.

This year's Budget is being held on March 23rd, and I'm told the future of CRC could be up for discussion in government circles around a week before, leading to the possibility that an announcement about the future of CRC - and a new green tax? - could be made in the Budget.

CRC was originally meant to reward companies for reducing their emissions and penalise those who failed to do so. But the Treasury seemed to pull rank on the Department of Energy and Climate Change when it decided to, as the article points out, 'pocket the proceeds meant to go to good performers in order to help reduce the deficit.'

There is a degree of frustration about the government's dithering over CRC, not least from companies who in good faith are trying to develop services around it, but find themselves twisting in the wind as the government goes back and forth over its future. Leaks like the one at the weekend don't help them. And they certainly don't help organisations - and particularly their CIOs and Finance Directors - looking for some policy certainty going forwards. 

What price your reputation? League tables and the CRC

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There's an interesting piece from Guardian Sustainable Business today about how important or not it is to be top of the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) energy efficiency scheme league tables.

Worth a read.

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