8. April 2011 14:15
If you expected clarity any time soon regarding the government’s intentions to mandate greenhouse gas reporting expect no more. Another amber signal has been issued. The hold up this time is due to fears of adding more red tape during a major deregulation exercise – but isn’t this missing the point?
Just to recap. In November we were told the government will decide in early 2011 whether to introduce compulsory reporting. Then, DECC minister Greg Barker told us that government would “announce a robust way forward in the new year that will require a clear route map on how companies are required to report their carbon emissions.” However, now Defra minister Jim Paice has announced that consultations aimed around the end of May will explore a number of factors, including whether introducing regulations is indeed the best option.
The rationale, it has been cited, is that government wants “genuine” consultation about this without rushing into introducing more red tape if it’s not needed. In the Financial Time’s piece on the matter, published yesterday, the British Chamber of Commerce was quoted saying that it would be “incredible” to impose this requirement in the middle of a major deregulation effort. It warned that it would ensnare lots of medium and small companies, particularly manufacturers.
But doesn't this miss the point? Greenhouse gas reporting could in fact help with the government’s deregulation effort by scrapping the now cumbersome and expensive Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme and replacing it with mandatory reporting.
Not only would it be lighter-touch and cheaper to regulate, we believe it could be more meaningful and cost-effective for manufacturers with the added benefit of potentially helping them improve their competitiveness. As we have always argued such an approach would be streamlining regulation not adding burden, providing the government wasn’t overly prescriptive in how it was applied.
Given that the whole issue is being subject to further delays we will be calling on government to look at the bigger picture; to consider the role of reporting alongside the crowded suite of complicated climate change policies that are already in place, most of which are within the government’s gift to change. Clear and strategic oversight is really what is genuinely needed.
30. November 2010 13:51
Any proposals to make company reporting of greenhouse gas emissions compulsory must be considered as part of a wider review of climate change
Responding to today’s publication of DEFRA’s review of evidence on Greenhouse Gas Reporting, EEF believes reporting has an important role to play as part of management best practice. We also believe that it sets benchmarks by which companies can measure their own inefficiencies and distinguish themselves from their peers in order to win business.
However, EEF believes that any proposals to make greenhouse gas reporting mandatory risks adding additional burdens on companies with little benefit in terms of meeting climate change goals unless it is done in tandem with simplification of current policy.
Commenting ahead of the review’s publication, EEF Head of Climate & Environment Policy, Gareth Stace, said: “Measuring and reporting emissions is an important part of best practice and is an enabler rather than a driver of improving the environmental performance of manufacturers.
“Many already do this and making such practice mandatory risks adding yet another bureaucratic burden with little or no benefit in reducing emissions if implemented in addition to existing policy mechanisms.
“However, if government goes down the mandatory route it should do so only as part of a wider review of climate change policy which delivers genuine simplification. Otherwise it risks being viewed as yet another layer of bureaucracy.
“It must also ensure that mandatory reporting is not overly prescriptive so that companies of all sizes and structures can set out clearly the steps they are taking to meet climate change goals.”
Do you perceive a role for mandatory reporting? What would be the costs and benefits of such a requirement to your business? Your views on the contribution that reporting can/does have on GHG emissions reductions would be most welcome.
24. September 2010 12:16
So another voice has been added to the many that are calling for the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme to be simplified. However, this is not just any voice, but the influential voice of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC). Its report published today, echoes what various groups, including EEF, have been saying for sometime now, that the scheme is "very complex". The first casualty could be the intended ‘cap and trade’ element, which the CCC recommends should be scrapped. This is music to my ears, as I believe this part of CRC will merely add unnecessary costs and complexity burden onto businesses without significant reductions of carbon emissions. Indeed increased costs to manufacturing companies that are still struggling out of a deep recession.
Government must not under estimate the importance of combining a carbon tax with Greenhouse Gas reporting, in driving change within organisations. There should be a greater focus on the reporting element of the scheme, centred on Defra’s carbon reporting guidelines, published last year. This should not be a wasted opportunity for Defra to promote a uniformed reporting methodology across sectors.
The CCC calls for a splitting the League Table into public and private sectors. Of course this is a step in the right direction, but doesn’t go far enough. The government must enable companies to highlight the positive steps they are taking to reduce emissions. This good news narrative must be positioned at the forefront of the table, rather than a focus on absolute emissions. The current narrow focus of the League Table will lead to false results and will not acted as a driver for organisations to become more carbon efficient throughout their operations.
A simple change that government must make as soon as possible, one that would reduce the administrative burden significantly, would be to remove the requirement for organisations not caught by the scheme, to positively prove that they are exempt.
This is certainly one to keep watching and I am pleased to see that the voice of manufacturing is being heard within this debate in today’s Telegraph.