UK businesses need to move now on sustainability as pressure mounts from all sides for renewed Corporate Responsibility

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May 1, 2013

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Cut consumption at work

The BBC reports that UK businesses are working to be green and clean even though there have been setbacks to the formal structural processes, mainly recent roadblocks constructed by politicians.

EU plans to make industrial businesses pay for pollution were stalled this month by its parliament, which voted to hold off on the main mechanism for reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

MEPs voted down a proposal to delay an auction of “polluter permits”, which the European Commission said was necessary to increase the costs to businesses, thereby encouraging industry to reduce emissions.

At the same time, the official Climate Change Committee (CCC) reports that the UK’s total contribution towards heating the climate has actually increased because there is a hidden “green effect” – the UK is importing goods that produce CO2 in other countries.

The committee said although production of CO2 is down 20% in the past two decades, the overall trend is up 10% because the cuts in production emissions have been outweighed by CO2 in the form of imported goods. Our actions in importing goods, the committee says, push up CO2 emissions there and, apparently, we are the second highest importer in the world of these “embodied emissions”.

While that is a phrase to conjure with, it is a sobering thought that we really are “all in this together” and that every action we take, almost, has an effect on the climate.

We have been quite successful at cutting emissions at home, but another BBC report suggests that UK industry could save up to £32bn over the next four decades by reducing carbon emissions and energy usage.

The report, by the Beeb’s Business Correspondent Matthew Wall concludes: “Whether you run a corner shop or an industrial complex, energy cost savings are there for the taking. Not only will you be saving money, but you will also be making your business more resilient in the face of future energy and resource shortages.”

This chimes with the vision and strategies at SaveMoneyCutCarbon, which are simply to convince, advise and guide UK businesses on how to significantly reduce their utility costs by investing in a range of solutions that pay for themselves in months rather than years. At the same time, these solutions help to reduce energy demands and so cut carbon emissions.

More good news is that the CCC swatted away claims by some lobbyists that UK’s unilateral climate targets are forcing up energy prices and driving manufacturing jobs abroad. It said the UK exported its manufacturing jobs during the structural changes of the 1980s and pointed out that few industrial jobs are being lost at present. It said the impact of carbon policies on jobs is “negligible”.

The committee also said that energy costs due to low-carbon policies are expected to rise by 20-25% from 2011 to 2020 for industrial users. Remember, as the population continues to grow, the demand for food, water and energy will rise by as much as 50% by 2030, according to the US National Intelligence Council (NIC) in its Global Trends 2030 report.

Energy costs alone are forecast to grow by 25% over the next 10 years. Many companies are now wrestling with these stark statistics and want to make structural changes, together with reforms in their corporate cultures that would aim to make a more substantial difference to carbon emissions while at the same time reducing utility costs.

This sustainability perspective should be a core element of any Corporate Responsibility strategy and should seek to go beyond a “tick in the green box” activity that has characterised so much of Corporate Social Responsibility tactics up to now.

We can help here so please do get in touch to discuss how our “end-to-end solution” can help guide your CR sustainability programmes. Click here to contact us either through the website, or call 0845 123 5464.

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