Firms not put off certification by CRC changes

The CRC has prompted a rush in organisations seeking certification of their emissions cuts. Certification providers are now looking to opportunities beyond the scheme.

The number of organisations certified as making real reductions in their carbon emissions has risen by 42% since the autumn.

An ENDS survey of the six main providers of emissions reduction standards in February found they had certified 570 organisations, up from 400 in September.

The main driver for companies and public bodies to seek certification is the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Energy Efficiency Scheme. An organisation’s position in the first CRC league table, to be published in October, will be decided on its early action to cut emissions and the fitting of automatic meter readers.

The rapid increase suggests few CRC participants have been deterred by the removal of revenue recycling (ENDS Report 429, p 7). The repayments were to have been linked to league table position.

The CRC stimulus will end on 29 July, the deadline for organisations wishing to claim benefits under the scheme. Nevertheless, several certification providers are expecting demand to continue.

The six standards approved by the Environment Agency for use in the CRC all require organisations to show a cut in emissions over one to three years, depending on their size.

The Carbon Trust, the first provider to have a standard approved, recently announced that British Land, Mothercare and Motorola have achieved its standard, taking its total to 500.

Roughly 80% of Carbon Trust Standard bearers are in the CRC. But the trust says it expects the numbers of non-CRC organisations seeking the standard to grow as firms look to gain independent recognition of their carbon reduction programmes.

Jean Waring-Thomas, energy manager at Alliance Boots, said the standard has value as an independent endorsement of the company’s progress. Boots is certified and will retain its certification after the CRC benefits expire, she said.

Carbon Saver has 11 organisations signed up to its CRC-equivalent ‘gold’ standard, including Manchester City Council and Standard Life, and 15 more working towards it. It also offers certification to silver and bronze carbon reduction standards which undergo less intensive audits and cannot be used for the CRC.

Big opportunities

Glen Wilkinson, Carbon Saver’s director, said supply chain management is creating big opportunities for carbon reduction standards. It provides an easy way for suppliers to major retailers or public bodies to show they are managing and reducing their emissions.

Plans for mandatory carbon reporting could also help create more interest in emissions reduction generally, he added.

Sign-up to Achilles’ Certified Emissions Measurement and Reduction Scheme (CEMARS) underlines the potential of supply chain management.

CEMARS has 56 certified organisations and 36 in the pipeline but only 20 are using it for the CRC. This is because CEMARS grew out of Achilles’ broader carbon reduction programme for suppliers and buyers.

The BSI has certified three organisations to its Kitemark for Energy Reduction Validation including electrical drives and controls company Bosch Rexroth and building products firm H+H. It has about 50 more organisations working towards certification.

No organisations have achieved the Centre for Assessment’s CRC-equivalent Carbon Action Standard Plus or Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance’s Carbon and Energy Management Scheme yet. Both were approved late last year.

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