Carbon Trust launches emissions reduction standard

Businesses that commit to achieving year-on-year cuts in greenhouse gas emissions can become certified to the Carbon Trust’s carbon reduction standard, which was launched on Tuesday

The Trust says there is growing public mistrust of corporate 'greenwash' on climate change. Organisations are confused about the most effective and credible way to cut emissions.

The Trust aims to address this by providing a standard that sets minimum criteria for measuring emissions and setting reduction targets. The Trust will verify performance against the requirements.

The standard is open to all companies and public bodies. To qualify, an organisation must have measured its carbon footprint. The methodology is based on the World Resources Institute/World Business Council for Sustainable Development greenhouse gas protocol. The footprint must include, as a minimum, emissions from purchased electricity and gas, on-site fuel consumption and fuel used by company vehicles. The organisation must have already achieved emissions cuts for 1-3 years, depending on the size of the organisation and have management processes in place to achieve further reductions.

Organisations must commit to achieving a reduction in absolute emissions each year or an equivalent annual reduction in carbon intensity. Offsetting – claiming reductions by paying others to cut their emissions – cannot be counted. Nor can electricity from on-site renewables or 'green' tariffs, unless there is evidence that it is from additional renewable capacity.

Thames Water, Supermarket chain Morrisons, the Environment Department (DEFRA) and the London Fire Brigade and are among the first dozen organisations to join. The group has collectively cut greenhouse gas emissions by 8.4% over three years – a saving of 250,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent.