Crowberry Consulting

Carbon management for business; A beginner`s guide


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Climate change and carbon foot printing are current and real issues for business today. We face many challenges in a world where average temperatures and sea levels continue to rise, affecting food chains, human populations, biodiversity and even insurance premiums. Business can connect on this issue via established environmental management systems such as ISO14001 or BS8555. Whilst carbon dioxide has had most of the recent media coverage, it is only one of a family of green house gases that causes enhanced climate change. Business must also be aware and account for other green house gases including methane, nitrous oxide and various refrigeration gases. The process of carbon foot printing allows business to account for its carbon emissions and to report on these, however, it is wise to include emissions from other gases in this process.

A raft of legislation now exists in the UK to ensure that the business community responds to the changing climate. This includes the climate change levy, the carbon reduction commitment, the building regulations and the Climate Change Act with its associated carbon budgets. The climate change levy was introduced in 2001 and typically increases business energy costs by up to 10–20 percent although payments of employers’ national insurance contributions offset this increase. The more recent Climate Change Act introduces carbon budgets which will be set before June this year. The most commonly known legislative instrument is of course the Kyoto Protocol, adopted under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1997 it came into force in the UK in 2005. The UK target is to reduce its carbon emissions by 12.5 percent below 1990 levels over 2008–2012. Targets are met by reductions on domestic emissions or use of fl exible mechanisms by trading joint implementation and clean development mechanism credits.

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