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Businesses get new help to measure, reduce carbon emissions

smokestacksTwo British government agencies have published new guidance to measure and tackle greenhouse gas emissions for businesses and organisations.

The new advice from Defra and DECC is also accompanied by a guide on what it means to be carbon neutral.

Businesses produce a significant proportion of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and have a direct role to play in helping the UK meet its climate change commitments. The guidance helps businesses and organisations to measure and report their current emissions and set reduction targets.

“Businesses have an opportunity to lead the way on the UK’s climate change agenda and this guidance helps them do that,” said Environment Secretary Hilary Benn. “Measuring your GHG emissions is an important first step in addressing the UK’s contribution to the UK’s total emissions. By reducing them, organisations can save money on energy costs and resource efficiencies — as well as maintaining a competitive edge through strengthening their green credentials.”

Under the Climate Change Act of 2008, the UK committed to reduce total greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050. A key requirement of the act was to publish guidance to help organisations report on the emissions that they are responsible for.

The guidance is aimed at all sizes of business as well as public and third sector organisations.

“Measuring emissions is fundamental to our understanding of climate change and a vital first step towards managing carbon impacts,” said Energy Minister Joan Ruddock.  “Businesses will play a vital part in the UK’s move to a low-carbon future and this guidance will enable organisations to identifying their emissions and work toward reducing them saving energy and money.”

Ruddock added, “We are committed to setting UK businesses on a course to combatting climate change that will inspire other nations to take the same action.”

Complementing the GHG guidance, further guidance has been published on how businesses can be carbon neutral by following a three-stage process of calculating, reducing and offsetting emissions. Until now, there has been no formal definition of carbon neutral. This latest guidance will help the Advertising Standards Authority in its rulings ahead of Defra’s revised Green Claims Code, due for publication later this year, which will help advertisers making environmental claims about products and services.

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