The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

Carbon Audits – Heavy-Handed or Necessary for Green Recovery?

Carbon Audits – Heavy Handed or Necessary for Green Recovery?
07 April 2021

A draft proposal from The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy that hints at climate policy performance audits has been described as “draconian and intrusive” by lobby group The Global Warming Policy Foundation.

The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) believes that the government intends to put pressure on companies to engage specialist consultants in carbon emissions and energy consumption to audit their climate policy performance.

The new proposal for a separate energy and carbon audit, not only imposes further costs on businesses, but also creates a green profession focused on monitoring the requirements of the Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting Regulations, according to the GWPF.

The body feels that this type of legislation will be “Intrusive and heavy-handed” and will cause a strong disincentive to entrepreneurial behaviour at a time when growth in the British economy is urgently required.

Dr John Constable, the GWPF Energy Editor, said: "Government has already needlessly made it a criminal offence for businesses to misreport their energy consumption and carbon emissions, now it seems they are moving towards creating a separate professional class to police these regulations. This is not how to make responsible businesses feel welcome in the UK.”


Responsible Governance 


According the government website, the objective of these reforms is to ensure that the UK’s most significant corporate entities are governed responsibly and to keep the UK’s legal frameworks for major businesses at the forefront of international best practice.

Current legislation requires large unquoted companies that have consumed (in the UK), more than 40,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy in the reporting period to include energy and carbon information within their directors' report, for any period beginning on or after 1 April 2019.

Large companies are defined as companies that meet two or more of the following criteria:

  • Turnover (or gross income) of £36 million or more.
  • Balance sheet assets of £18 million or more.
  • 250 employees or more.

The proposal document states that directors are ultimately responsible for the company’s accounts and reports and have duties in relation to the auditing of those accounts and reports. However, the regulator currently has no direct powers to act if those duties are breached. The government, therefore, proposes to give the regulator investigation and enforcement powers to hold company directors of public interest entities to account.

It is also clearly stated that: "It is also only ever likely to be appropriate for the Insolvency Service to bring criminal prosecutions and directors’ disqualification proceedings against PIE directors in more serious cases, where it is in the public interest to do so." 


Emissions Data


In 2019, the UK became the first major economy in the world to pass binding legislation committing to net zero Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by 2050, and a central part of this plan is emissions data.

According to TEAM Energy’s Head of Consultancy, Timothy Holman, there are a number of factors holding businesses back from change. 

As highlighted recently in the BSI’s Net Zero Barometer, eight out of ten organisations feel they need more guidance and 44 per cent of the businesses surveyed indicated cost as the most significant barrier to decarbonisation. 

Holman says: “As we see more hope for an end to the pandemic, businesses will emerge differently from when the government’s net-zero target and legislation was first passed, they may find themselves with less resource due to organisational restructure and tighter cash flows because of lack of revenue. However, whilst decarbonisation activities have lost momentum the targets have not gone away.”  

Picture: an aerial photograph of the earth 

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 07 April 2021


Related Articles

What Does Net-Zero by 2050 Mean for Businesses?

TEAM Energy’s Head of Consultancy, Timothy Holman examines what the government’s net-zero ambition really means to UK businesses and how they can be part of...

 Read Full Article
Why is Air Quality Important?

Last month was National Clean Air Month in the US. Why is air quality important? The pandemic has brought consideration of clean air to the public eye, but the quality...

 Read Full Article
Flexible Working Initiative to Reduce CO2 Emissions

The Global Marine Group is implementing a flexible working initiative to reduce CO2 emissions by 233.11 tonnes annually. The programme will allow employees...

 Read Full Article
Amey Pledges Carbon Emissions Target

Amey marked Earth Day by defining its roadmap to achieving carbon net-zero by 2040. The infrastructure services and engineering company has also committed to achieving...

 Read Full Article
Energy Data Must Underpin Decarbonisation Plan, Says BESA

BESA has welcomed the government’s decarbonisation strategy for commercial buildings, but is calling for an improvement in the measuring and monitoring of...

 Read Full Article
Sustainable PropTech Companies To Receive €200m of Funding

A new fund has been launched to invest €200 million in start-up companies developing sustainable tech to target the carbon footprint of cities.  The venture...

 Read Full Article
IWFM CEO Says Budget Hasn’t Done Enough for Green Recovery

IWFM’s CEO, Linda Hausmanis has stated that she was surprised that the Budget made no provision for further funding to support the decarbonisation of...

 Read Full Article
One Year of Plan Zero – Mitie's New Sustainability Pledges

Mitie is marking the first anniversary of Plan Zero by setting a series of new sustainability pledges for 2021. Plan Zero is the facilities management company’s...

 Read Full Article
Legal & General Publish Net Zero Strategy

Avoiding climate catastrophe and its irreversible changes to the earth’s climate systems is the greatest global priority. Legal & General sees the task of...

 Read Full Article
Green Gothenburg Moves on Net-Zero Transport Goal

Currently in development, Gothenburg Green City Zone is a world first as an initiative by a number of major stakeholders including Volvo Cars to build a...

 Read Full Article