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March 2021
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The CRC is an opportunity, not a threat

With the Cop 15 Climate Change event in Copenhagen drawing to a close, now is a time for reflection. A period for the governments and people involved to sit back and reflect on decisions made. Further treaties and agreements will no doubt be made over the course of the next few months as world leaders try to comprehend the scale of the challenges arrayed against them and bring about the changes needed to preserve this world and our natural resources.

But this is not the first such event, it will not be the last and there are already a host of measures in place to stem the tide of ecological damage. In April 2010 the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme (previously known as the Carbon Reduction Commitment) will come into force. This is part of the government’s efforts to improve energy efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions across the UK. In particular it is focused on large organisations, across the public and private sector in an effort to change opinions and mindsets at senior management levels. In simple terms the scheme will place a cost on carbon emissions and provide caps on energy usage, whilst providing opportunities to buy and trade allowances. The key fact though is that the individual organisations will have the right to decide for themselves, the most cost effective way to go about making those reductions.

Overall the scheme is likely to affect around 20,000 organisations across the UK, who are in total responsible for approximately 10 percent of the country’s emissions. There are various means of qualification for the scheme but it is expected to initially affect local authorities and government departments as well as supermarkets, banks etc. There will be a three year roll out of the scheme with various qualification levels and phases, culminating in 2013 with the first capped phase and the beginning of carbon auctions.

Why am I so pleased about the CRC. Well, quite frankly there are two reasons. Firstly, as an environmentalist – anything done by any organisation to improve our climate and decrease damage to the earth is, in my opinion a good thing. Many people deride the government for not doing enough (or anything at all). This is a substantial step and should at the very least raise awareness levels. Secondly, the fact that the organisations involved can make up their own minds about how to improve their energy efficiency – why? Because it provides opportunity for those smaller businesses and service providers already going to great lengths to be energy efficient.

Those organisations, like Magenta Security, who are already measuring, reducing or completing negating their emissions and environmental impact are in the perfect place to help. As the scheme kicks in, the companies affected need to start looking very hard at all areas of their business, identifying potential cuts and opportunities for greater efficiency. What better place to start than the replacement of an inefficient supplier with an efficient one. I appreciate that any purchasing teams reading this are probably having an apoplectic fit at such a blasé comment, I entirely understand that supply change in large organisations involves lengthy tender process, due diligence and extensive negotiation. However; it doesn’t change the fact that the use of carbon neutral suppliers has a direct and immediate effect on your own emissions. Just think of the difference you would make by immediately changing the supply of your catering, cleaning and security services from carbon heavy to carbon neutral.

Unfortunately it is unlikely that you will immediately find carbon neutral, environmentally friendly suppliers for all your services, however small steps in the right direction will make changes you can measure under the CRC. Draw up a list of potential suppliers, look into those where immediate changes can be made, in those cases where there are long term contracts and commitments, start communicating with the suppliers. Make them more aware of the scheme, see what they can do to help you, surprisingly few small businesses are aware of the CRC or how it is likely to affect their larger clients.

Above all don’t fear the CRC, yes it will mean changes, yes it is likely to mean some more red-tape and paper-work. But for once the sacrifice is worth making. It has been years since the Kyoto summit and only now are we seeing real differences in the way our policy makers behave. Just think how long it will be before the Cop 15 talks have any impact – it may well be too late by then.

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