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
The Future of Carbon-Absorbing Paint – Q&A With Patrick Folkes | Graphenstone UK

Graphenstone is the most sustainably certified paint brand in the world. We spoke to Patrick Folkes, the hedge fund and smoothie entrepreneur who has brought the...

 Read Full Article
BM Celebrates Planet Mark Accreditation for Third Year

BM has been awarded Planet Mark accreditation for a third successive year after it achieved a 26 per cent absolute carbon reduction, and committed to a further five...

 Read Full Article
Global Recycling Day 2022 in FM

This year's Global Recycling Day took place on 18 March and celebrated the "recycling fraternity", those who put themselves on the frontline to...

 Read Full Article
How Can FMs Tackle Scope 3 Emissions?

The Sustainable Facilities Management Index has released the first part of an FM industry standardised approach to measuring carbon emissions. This includes the full...

 Read Full Article
Sodexo Commits to Carbon Neutrality by 2025

Sodexo has raised its sustainability targets after cutting its carbon footprint by 34 per cent, ahead of schedule. Sodexo has laid out its net-zero roadmap after...

 Read Full Article
Festival of Sustainable Business Returns

After a two-year hiatus, The Festival of Sustainable Business returns to the Bristol Hotel on 21 September 2021. With sustainability high on the corporate agenda and a...

 Read Full Article
Sustainable Deliveries at 22 Bishopsgate to Lower City Emissions

A sustainable delivery system at 22 Bishopsgate is set to reduce the number of weekly vehicle trips to the building from 1,300 to just 50. AXA IM Alts, developer of...

 Read Full Article
Sodexo Launches 2021 Social Impact Pledge

Sodexo UK & Ireland has announced its commitment to a series of pledges forming its ethical manifesto for leading the way to improve quality of life for society and...

 Read Full Article
The UK’s Hydrogen Economy – Industry Reactions

The UK’s first-ever hydrogen strategy launched this week, defining the energy source as critical in the country’s target of net-zero emissions by 2050. The...

 Read Full Article