The UK’s Carbon Trust has launched an online assessment tool to make it easier for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to achieve Carbon Trust Standard certification. SMEs using the tool have, on average, cut their energy costs by £2,000 per year, and their carbon footprints by 13 tonnes CO2e.
The Carbon Trust Standard online application process is available for companies who are not already covered under the government's CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme. They must have an annual energy spend of no more than £50,000 with only, 'simple' UK-based emission sources, i.e. utilities, owned/leased vehicles, on-site fuel consumption.
Companies completing the assessment need to input information about their organisation and its carbon footprint (including details of energy consumption) and answer a series of questions about carbon management policies and procedures, providing evidence to support responses. When done, the application is submitted for initial review and, after the final submission, companies are told whether they have achieved certification.
The Carbon Trust is a not-for-profit company supporting the move to a low carbon economy. The organisation claims that SMEs can save £400m a year and over 2.5 million tonnes of C02e through carbon footprint reduction and certification.
Sounds like a good idea. While the certification is a nice-to-have, just getting SMEs to start looking at the process of carbon management could have a significant impact.
According to the Carbon Trust there are 4.8 million SMEs in the UK accounting for 45% of UK business energy expenditure. Collectively, the smaller organisations that fall outside of existing legislation - the CRC, the EU Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) and Climate Change Agreements (CCA) - account for a quarter of all non-domestic emissions.
The more aware smaller companies are of their energy costs the more they’re likely to take some action to reduce power usage. It’s an opportunity for green IT solutions, such as carbon and energy management software, to help them do it better.